Photographs cultivate different kinds of emotion and imagination. One simple photo can bring one back to a forgotten memory, to a distant era, to a future yet to be seen or to the present reality. What is caught in the camera lens may come with a plethora of meanings.
Many people – travelers especially – use their cameras to capture moments in their journeys, keeping records of the happiness they have felt as they navigate through places, meet different people, eat bizarre food, and experience different cultures.
For Thang Sokrith, a junior media management student, the passion for taking significant photographs started when he discovered how powerful still images are in telling stories in social media, especially in the photo-sharing platform, Instagram.
As a millennial, Sokrith or “Fenix”, started using Instagram when he was in ninth grade. It was when he got truly fascinated with the photos of places, people and events that made him feel like he was living in the exact moments the photos were taken. He shared that he got inspired by photographers who just used their smartphones to take great photos and document big happenings.
“My inspiration in taking photos is actually to put value in what my eyes can see. I just cannot neglect a specific moment and let it pass by; so I take a photograph to make sure I can look at it again and reminisce the feeling. Sometimes, the things that happen today do not happen again in another time,” said Fenix.
“When I was in ninth grade, I was so amazed by how people produced such astonishing pictures then I followed along and discovered that my favourite art is photography. I love doing it until this very day.”
Now that he has gained some knowledge and experience in photography, Fenix loves taking photos of the city, interiors and food. He is also fond of capturing moments happening right in front of him and try to convey a relevant message through it.
He now maintains his own photography website, www.thangsokrith.com, where he showcases his works. It is his goal to inspire individualism and traveling among his peers as he believes it is a good way to see the world in a different perspective.
“I was inspired by a famous photographer that’s why I followed this passion. I want to inspire others as well to take photography seriously. Through this, I learned that creativity has no rule. No matter what art you participate in, you will realise that you have the freedom to unleash your true self. It is also through photography that I learned to appreciate everything in my environment. Even the tiny stuff that I just used to ignore, they can be very beautiful if you pay attention to it.”
But contrary to what many of us believe, capturing beautiful still images do not necessarily require the latest equipment. It always boils down to the photographer’s creativity in finding the right angle and in the message he wants the photos to tell. In fact, Fenix uses his phone for his photography for the past five years.
“I used my phone when I started my Instagram account. I still use it until today. I used it to capture landscape and other good images. It’s just a matter of unique perspective – how you look at ordinary things.”
And though one does not need high-end cameras to be a photographer, Fenix emphasised that it needs constant practice and learning if one wants to be good at photography.
“You need to practice every day, push yourself to think out of the box and create different compositions. You also have to consider lighting.” Fenix now hopes to conti-nuously improve his skills and soon make a name in the field of photography in Cambodia and in the world.