My name is Emily Chen. I live and work in Sydney, Australia.
I document Sydney through my commute & here is my story.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a camera of some sort. My first attempt at street photography was the year Instagram was launched… I started to document my journey to work, sharing photos on Instagram, connecting with other street togs; and later, on various other platforms.
When I first started to document my commute, it was all about the commuters on the bus or the train. Close up shots with an aim to capture their emotions. Candid photography is so fascinating to me, even today. I’ve rarely been “seen” shooting during my commute. The commuters are in their own zones. More often than not, completely oblivious of what’s around them.
Later on, I ventured onto the streets to find interesting light & shadows…and explore the streets I walk through everyday during my commute. And noticed the light spots, shapes of office buildings and reflecting of light off the glass windows. I started to learn the minor details by visiting the same grounds, and wait for the subjects to walk across my frame.
Commuting is my favourite part of the day. And to me, the morning and late afternoon light are so glorious. I chase light, as I chase my bus & train: not because my alarm clock didn’t go off, but because I too often stop to capture the everyday sublime & time slips by!
It’s a rich source of inspiration and a precious time. Finding moments in the morning and evening lights that tell stories, images with shadow play, to look for the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Visiting the same places, quite often the same faces, the light at the same time each morning and in the evening – finding that special moment to tell the stories of the Sydney commuters.
A learning journey
Chasing light, stretching the under exposure and leveraging the familiarity of the surrounding. Light is the most important element. I study the light and memorize how and where it falls, just about every morning and evening during my commute. I experiment with both colour as well as black & white and am learning that both are as challenging as each other. I cannot imagine ever getting bored of this and will continue to shoot and look for those details to document my city.