The MISSBISH Photography Workshop | Edward Barnieh
Photographer: Edward Barnieh
Location: I’m based in Hong Kong, which is a great launchpad for visiting the rest of Asia, as well as a fantastic backdrop for photography. I travel a lot for work, and so it’s good to be somewhere that’s no more than a 5 hour flight from almost everywhere in Asia.
Style: My style has developed through emulating my peers, but I am honestly trying not to have a “style". Versatility can sometimes be seen as a bad thing, but I want to be good at all different types of photography. I’m probably best known for shooting sunsets and architecture, but I think that’s because I’m drawn to those two subjects in Hong Kong, as I didn’t grow up around skyscrapers or typhoon weather.
Equipment/Lenses: I use a Sony A7II, and an iPhone 6. My main lens is a Zeiss 35mm f/2.8, and I have an old Konica Hexanon 50mm f/1.4 for portraits.
Filter or nah? If I’m editing on my phone, I will use a combination of VSCOcam, PS Express and the Instagram tools to get my photo just the way I want it. On the desktop I use Lightroom and VSCOfilm, although I am still searching for the perfect settings.
Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
Sometimes you can envision what you want to do, find the perfect spot, set up your camera and when you finally get the shot it’s unsatisfying for whatever reason. There is a beauty to catching something unexpected that keeps me trying new things. I’m not saying “wing it” all the time, but don’t get so caught up in what you plan to do to the point that you miss the unexpected or spontaneous.
"There is a beauty to catching something unexpected that keeps me trying new things... don’t get so caught up in what you plan to do to the point that you miss the unexpected or spontaneous."
How did you get into photography? Tell us about your first experience.
My dad has always been into photography, and I watched him take so much care over family photos from a young age. I actually have a vague recollection of him explaining aperture to me once, but I wasn’t interested!
Years later my girlfriend (now my wife) bought me my first camera, a Sony P7. Since then I’ve been snapping away, still learning every day. For my first mobile photography experience, I bought a cheap camera attachment for my Sonyericsson T68i, and I was so proud of the blurry shots it could take and send over MMS! The photos you can pull out of an iPhone 6 compared to that Sonyericsson camera attachment are insane.
Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable photos you’ve shot…
I shot a long exposure shot at Grand Central station in 2012 when I was on vacation in NYC. There was a woman in a long flowing dress who didn’t move for the length of the exposure, so it looked like she was the focus of the shot, and it came out really well. I didn’t know her, but I thought she would appreciate seeing the shot so I went over to show her, and she loved it and asked me to send it to her.
She was a super chilled school teacher from Oakland, and she added Jess and I on Facebook. A couple of weeks later she put her NYC vacation pics up on Facebook and I realised that I was in one of them! About 30 mins before I had taken the long exposure shot, she had taken a picture of me posing as Jess took a photo of me. I commented that it was me in the pic, and she was blown away at the coincidence. We’ve kept in touch ever since!
What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
Meeting creative, passionate people and learning from them. Not just what makes a great photo, but what their motivations are, and the stories behind the photos. Learning new ways to express myself in a relatable way is what keeps me going.
Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
I’m lucky enough to have met almost all the people who have influenced my photography over the last few years, as well as hang out with some amazing photographers every day. I don’t want to single anyone out, but great advice I’ve had was not to let your audience dictate your level of creativity, and to keep powering through when you’re not feeling especially artistic, because the next big shot is around the corner.
"Do not to let your audience dictate your level of creativity, and to keep powering through when you’re not feeling especially artistic, because the next big shot is around the corner."
1) Look far and wide for influences.
It’s very easy to look at pictures from the same photographers regularly, but it’s important to challenge yourself to gain a fresh perspective.
2) Get up early, and be available for the hour before sunset.
It’s hard to create sunrise and golden hour light with filters, let nature do the hard work.
3) Always get the window seat on a plane, but not over the wing.
Finish the sentence...
If I weren’t afraid I would… ask for constructive criticism more often. Nobody wants to hear what they're bad at, but it's the only way to get better, right?
I wouldn't be where I am today if… it wasn’t for my wife Jess.
Kids these days… will never know how hard it was to find out information about the most random stuff 20 years ago. Everything is at your fingertips now, so use it wisely and never take it for granted.
I look and feel my best when… I thought about this for so long, but I don’t have an answer for this one! I guess if I’m going to an important work function I look my best, but I feel my best when I’m about to sink into the sofa for a prolonged HBO GO session.
When no one is looking I… sing old R&B songs to myself.
Traveling… broadens the mind.
I respect… anyone who can get their ideas across successfully across borders and different cultures.
Tag a friend to feature and ask them a question: I would recommend interviewing… @visualmemories_. If I were to ask her a photography related question, I would want to know what motivates her?
@visualmemories_ Answer: What motivates me when it comes to photography, is the need to always tell a story, whether is mine or not.