Random thoughts of an economist

I like photography

Posted in Economics, Leisure, Life, Photography, teaching by kafuwong on February 4, 2014

Who doesn’t like photography!

Photography was an expensive hobby. I could not imagine buying a camera, films, and printing the pictures out. I still remember that my family owned a camera, but the cost of buying a roll of film and printing the pictures (i.e., the marginal cost of shooting pictures) was prohibitively high — at least in my childhood.

Photography is no longer an expensive hobby. With a digital camera, we can shoot as many as we want to (constrained only by the size of the memory card). There is no need to print to see what we shoot. We can see the image with a computer or on the screen of the camera. A dramatic reduction in the marginal cost of shooting pictures has encouraged more shooting. Suddenly, everyone is shooting. As the cost of sharing pictures on the internet is low, everyone is sharing.

Just like many others, I has begun to shoot more pictures. At the beginning, they were just for records. Nothing exciting, frankly speaking.

What stimulated my interest in photography was really the acquaintance of an expert, who later become my close friend. He taught me what was good, what was not — with a lot of patience. As I started to shoot more pictures, I began to share my experience with other close friends whom I never knew their expertise in photography before. Now, I have not just one “laoshi” (the putonghua pronunciation of “teacher”), but many of them. Some of my photography “laoshi” are my friends in Facebook and Renren (a Chinese counterpart of Facebook). Yes, some of them happened to be my students of Microeconomics.

Aside from enjoyment, photography complements my teaching and research. They are similar in that they all require us to look at things from different angles and find new ways of seeing things. In photography, we need to find new ways of seeing the world. Different angles — left and right, high and low, above and below, etc. Good pictures always teach me the new ways of seeing things. It could be the case that I passed by the same building every day, but I never noticed that ways of looking at the building.

Photography slows me down. Even without a camera, a photographer pays attention to the environment and things happening around him. There is a lot of joy to seeing things from new angles.

Photography requires patience. Often, we need to wait for the right person to pass by before we take photo. May it be the trespassing lady in red, or the reflection off a building from a sunset.

I was told by a friend with much wisdom: Life is like a path full of many beautiful things; unfortunately most of us race through the path and never slow down to appreciate the beauty. Photography helps me slow down to appreciate these beautiful things in the world I am in.

No. I do not do selfies.