5 Frames with a Wondering Mind and a Leica M3 - By Ong Sien Hong

5 Frames with a Wondering Mind and a Leica M3 – By Ong Sien Hong


My interest in photography has always been people. So naturally, when I take a camera out into the street, I look out for faces around me. I imagine most of us street photographers, are a bit of a lone wolf. I don’t participle in group photography, I don’t discuss gear, as a result, I don’t actually know a lot of real-life photographers. Maybe one or two but not a lot. So I sometimes wonder what is in your (photographer) mind when you take pictures of people. Do we think alike, when we put a camera in front of a stranger?

Recently I sold all my camera gear. At the time of my writing this 5 frames, I don’t actually own a camera or a lens. The reason why I sold all my gear? I am not exactly sure. Have you been through this phase in your photography journey? That you feel stagnant. Like every photo that you took look alike.

I started asking myself why do I take pictures of people, strangers on the streets. I don’t use a zoom lens, I use a rangefinder, a Leica M3 and usually equipped with a 35mm or 50mm lens, i.e I do get very close to the person(s) that I am taking photos of. My subject(s) would have known my presence either before or after I have taken the photo, usually after. Am I invading their privacy? Getting so close to their personal space. Why do I take photos of people?

The reason is perhaps less complicated that I initially thought. I don’t know if other photographers asked themselves the same question, why do they take the photos they took? For me, I realised it is about human interactions. Capturing moments of their interaction with me. For a few seconds of our lives, we were together for a moment (captured). I am never in the photos but their expressions would have shown that I participated the moment together with them. Most times, I would look up of my viewfinder, say hi (after taking the photo), but sometimes, I would just quietly slip away because some moments are best not to be interrupted.

Thank you for reading.
Sien Hong

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Sien Hong

a teacher, a photographer, an illustrator, the line is never quite that clear.





Sien Hong

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