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How I Became a Photographer

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

This is my first time ever writing a blog, I'm not really sure what I want to do with this blog and I don't really know how to start, so why not just introduce myself. Hi, I'm Sean, or better known as stfeyes. I'm a street photographer living in Hong Kong for the past 7 years. I've been practicing photography since 2017, so just over 4 years now.

I first moved to Hong Kong in 2013, when I was 24 years old. Before I came here, I was working in the security industry in Australia. I was a security monitor, which basically means I was watching a screen and taking actions on alarms going off in peoples homes and businesses. While the pay was good, I simply couldn't take being stuck in a room staring at a screen for 12 hours at a time and in general I was not happy with the direction my life was taking. In early 2013, I decided I needed to make a change and had a "call to adventure".

One of my first photos, taken with a Samsung Galaxy S4 in 2017

I had a friend who was living in Hong Kong at the time, so I contacted him and asked him what things were like in Hong Kong. Next thing I knew I had booked a flight. I instantly fell in love with the place and as soon as I got back to Australia, I started the process of applying for a working holiday visa.

In late 2013, I arrived in Hong Kong and had accepted a position as an English teacher. Being an English teacher was fine, as far as jobs go, it's far from the worst I've had, but it still wasn't something that I could see myself building a career around. I had a creative itch, and if there's one thing that the Hong Kong education system seems to hamper, it's creativity. It wasn't until 2017, when a good friend of mine asked me to come along on a hike with him while he took photos, that I found photography as an outlet for my creativity. Back then, I was just taking pictures on my phone. It was fun, and I really liked playing around with editing on my phone.

Shot from one of my first street shoots with a Canon 40D

Slowly I started seeing progress within myself. I was getting better at composing pictures and I was enjoying my time out shooting on the streets more and more. I decided it was time to take the plunge and buy a camera. When I brought this up to my wife, she surprised me by saying that she had a 10 year old DSLR under the bed, which I had no idea about! It was a Canon EOS 40D, a nice little crop sensor and perfect for a beginner. From my first "proper" street shoot, I knew I had found what I wanted to do. I wasn't any good yet, but I found myself really loving the whole process. Walking around, exploring the city, finding those states of hyper-focus - it was all very therapeutic and meditative.

Another with the old Canon 40D - Starting to get better

Since that moment, I have been totally infatuated with the art of photography. I have met so many amazing people and connected with a bunch of incredible artists. I'll be writing more about my photographic journey, how I developed my style, share some backstories for some of my best images, some street shooting tips and more in the future.

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Alexander Batty
Alexander Batty

Great first blog Sean, Ill be back for the next instalment!

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