All images by Callie Eh. Used with permission.
“In most cases an honest smile does wonders.” says Callie Eh about photographing strangers. Callie hails from Malaysia but currently lives in Europe. She’s a troubadour at heart: she loves travelling, learning, experimenting with new cultures, and documenting it all along the way. “To me photograph are priceless, because they freeze the moment in time for you to cherish Forever.” she stated in her email to the Phoblographer.
But beyond Callie’s ability to capture photos of people candidly and disarm any sort of hostility, she’s also got a great eye for composition.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.
Callie: Through photography I have changed the way I see things in a new way. Everything around me looks different when I start to look at the world through my lens, learning and experiencing new cultures.
Few years ago, I was lost in my life, photography has picked me up as a person, gave me strength and confidence. As well taught me how to appreciate more of my daily life, the moments with friends and family, it’s actually quite an incredible transformation to experience. And a hobby transformed into a passion. Today I cannot imagine a life without photography.
Phoblographer: What made you want to photograph people?
Callie: I like to take photographs of different people in different situations. For me it is like tiny documentary. During my travels I started notice the various details in different humans and wondered how they live their daily life and how to capture it in a photo. I started to see how much expression was in their faces and wanted to express their happiness in my pictures.
From seeing some particularly awesome people, I love what I do, as well as the people and places I photograph. Each person and every place has its own story. Photography is a fantastic story-telling medium. I am fascinated that by how photography has changed my everyday experience.
Phoblographer: Your work is a very interesting blend of documentary style and portraiture. So how did you come to make this your creative vision and who/what influenced you to create images like this?
Callie: I was experimenting a bit with different styles, however always capturing the lifestyle and the expressions of different people and different cultures.However, I think the way I take photos is also influenced by Ami Vitale. I was amazed by when I saw her work and her style to translate the daily life of people into pictures. You feel like being part of the story. She is really an extraordinary documentary photographer.
Phoblographer: As you’re creating scenes, editing them, etc, what’s usually going through your mind to determine if a photo makes it to the web or not?
Callie: I normally want to capture the moment when taking in the moment. When looking at the result afterwards I think what stories and emotions I want to share with the world. It is mostly intuitive.
Phoblographer: You travel a lot, so you interact with lots of new people for the first time. So how do you go about gaining their trust to have them allow you to take their pictures?
Callie: I usually try to not to interrupt them, try to catch the very moment of their daily life, so that there is no posing or fake behavior. However, some people are quite sensitive in front of camera, in this case I will try to have a small talk with them first, telling them about me and why I like to take their photos to gain their trust. In most cases an honest smile does wonders.
Phoblographer: Your work is very much about either the use of colors to make a subject stand out from the rest of the scene, or according contrast. Where did you pick this up from and how has it developed over your time shooting?
Callie: I’ve picked up my photographer skills through some workshops I’ve attended, I mostly learn it myself through various online tutorials or books. In addition I try to exchange my knowledge with other photographers.
Phoblographer: What’s the ultimate goal for your work? Where do you want to be in a year as a photographer?
Callie: Personally I want other people to enjoy the pictures the way I do. I want to share the stories and emotions I experienced. If I succeed in this I have achieved what I wanted. I do not have concrete targets for the next year, but want to continuously improve my work. For this I also strive for vivid exchange with different photographers from all over the world to share ideas & experiences.
Also published on Medium.