When a photographer snaps his shutter, the essence of your mind at that moment will be captured into a still. If you were thinking about something beautiful, your pictures will be likewise beautiful. However for Jidong Chen, ‘love’ is the subject he wants to capture at heart; the interaction between people and also the warmth revealed from a glance. Whether it’s a wedding or our lives, ‘love’ is the best picture one could ask for.
Interviewer: Hi, Jidong，It’s a pleasure to interview you today. I heard that you have been taking pictures for long. How you started it? And what made you continue this pursue?
Jidong: The starting was quite a big deal and also not quite. The first time I got all excited to buy a DSLR I was thinking out of the norm; it was all because of the notion that I can take my own wedding pictures. Wedding pictures are important to a couple, therefore, only by doing it your own, it has value. Besides that, taking a set of wedding pictures 8 years ago costs about 70 to 80 thousand (Taiwan dollar) and you only get to have 30 pictures. So, out of nowhere came that one idea; buying a DSLR doesn’t even cost that much. All the pictures belonged to me, even the camera itself is mine. So with a tripod, I took my first set of portraiture photography, that is my wedding photography so to speak.
My journey of portraiture photography has many turning points. Starting from the era where I just took simple pictures of pretty ladies like everyone else to the period where the pretty ladies came with a subject matter, then on to the period where pretty ladies come with an underlying emotion. The beauty of capturing portraits is that even though the scene, person and time frame is the same, a different photographer will capture a different picture, feeling and emotion. This makes me look forward to it more.
Once, by chance, I went for a talk by a senior photographer Yong Zhang, he said:” A photographer tends to capture others, but seldom capture themselves, so flip the camera, and take one for yourself too!”. Because of this advice, I was enlightened on what photography means to me. Hence, aside from taking others, I start to shoot pictures about myself, my mum, my grandma and my kids. Photography is life, it captures the people you meet along the way. Take a glance back, when was the last time you took a picture of your family member?
Interviewer: Your works are always full of creativity, where do you get your inspirations?
Jidong: My state of mind is my source of inspiration. When you love something, you feel joyous, and you will constantly think of improving. I never treat my work as work. That’s why I have limited amount of shots. It keeps the freshness and for every shoot, I get to have new results.
The photography now teaches us a lot of rules. It tells us how to shoot, and according to these rules you will shoot well, but it limits to just well. For me, I love to read mangas and watch animes. That tad of adventures and godly storylines keeps my brain stimulating. I personally think inspiration comes from each one’s life, from their experiences. It could just be a simple dot now, unable to construct into something meaningful. But, if you are willing to expand it in your mind, connect these dots to form an image as a whole, then I think that would be an inspiration belonging to you.
Interviewer: Is there any wedding shoot you’ve taken that’s unforgettable to you? Can you elaborate a little on it?
Jidong: I love dogs. Once, during a bride’s leave from her house; usually, a brides tear up. However, during this session, the bride’s parents and the soon to be newlyweds were laughing till the end of the ceremony. Up till it was time for the bride to get in the car, this big furry dog came up to block the car door and started biting and pulling on the bride’s dress. It somehow knew that his mistress would leave this house from now on and it was reluctant to back down. The bride was crying and I was shedding tears behind the camera too. It was a turning point, that afternoon. It was warm and the golden rays were beautiful like that taken of my garden. And this moment was just by accident. To let the bride relax a little, I took one still of the bridegroom playing with the veil and left him for then. Next, I took pictures of the bride playing with her dog. Maybe the rays were that beautiful. The bridegroom looked at his bride with a satisfied glance as she played with her dog. That glance was so full of love that I captured it down secretly. When I came back to photo retouch, I look at that picture for quite long and continue looking at the other pictures taken that day. I realised what taking pictures of a wedding dress means, I wrote, ” As for wedding dresses, I would love to leave behind this word, love”.
During this interview, something came across well:” Pictures are honest, what you thought of that instant, you leave that behind. Being used to the formal beauty, the overall atmosphere, we tend to overlook that a wedding dress photo should capture a couple’s love; a third person’s view onto a couple’s happy moments in this wedding shoot.”
We thank Jidong again for his sharing. Through this sharing session, we came to realised that Jidong is always passionate about photography. And with his ever firing passion, his inspiration and creativity stretch on without a break. Hope everyone likes it.
Photo credits to Jidong Chen