Hi, my name is Simon. I hold a Bachelors degree in history which I haven’t put to much use and a Masters in education which luckily funds a nondescript lifestyle as an educator on the wrong side of the great fire wall. During my vacation I love to travel. I suppose that makes me a travel photographer except for the fact I’m somewhat of an urbanite. The idea of hunting exotic people in nameless villages only accessible by 15-hour bus rides doesn’t really excite me. I leave that for the would-be McCurry’s of the world.
I’m much more into ordinary people and documenting their self-representations. Sounds boring, right? Hear me out. When you take a photograph of somebody sometimes something magical happens. I’m not talking about the technological process, its what happens in front of the lens that is amazing. People often transform themselves, creating an image of how they want to be represented. The results of holding a camera to someone and engaging them in the photographic process often leads to unexpected outcomes.
While this might be a banal selfie-pose, the dreaded two-finger victory sign, it is usually much more revealing. It may be a guardedness, a lack of self confidence through not making eye-contact, it may be openness manifested by their posture or a look of self-assurance. Being photographed can result in a whole gamut of human emotions being betrayed. Of course candid photos can do the same and sometimes much better. And while the candid street photographer would find the expressions of people unaware they are being photographed more indicative of their ‘true self’, I would suggest that when you have people consent to having their photo taken, when you put them in control of their representation, the results are just as true and unique and indicative of their personalities, all be it more subtle and nuanced. In any case, these are the photos I find the most interesting to make.
Some of the themes I explore include the connection between public and private, how work defines us and the ways in which we redefine it through self-representations in public spaces. Labour in South East Asia is very much a public spectacle and capturing the people behind this public ‘presentation’, documenting a tiny fraction of their lived realities is an ongoing project. Other themes include family, intimacy, individuality, and the private worlds of particular subgroups.
When not travelling and photographing, I am caring for a noisy cat, watching my weight, and working on my bread baking skills for the next zombie apocalypse.
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Thanks for viewing the world through my eyes — I hope you enjoy my site and the work that I’m doing. Got something for me? Get in touch.