Peter Choi, Chinatown

If not with one of the multitude of half-used and forsaken Moleskine notebooks that I own, I should at least really make it a custom of taking digital notes on how and when I came across a person’s online profile. The bulk of my social interactions this year have originated from the web and when the question comes up as to how I stumbled upon them, I’m invariably at a lost of words because I hardly ever recall and the same scenario transpired with Peter Choi.

Originally from Portland, Oregon and now residing in New York, Peter is attending college, working in the food industry and running a very unique website entitled Sewn Through Aperture which operates as his creative outlet to share all the things he personally enjoys while crafting photo essays of people he’s met along the way. We chose to meet and explore around Chinatown - a place area which I’ve wandered around extensively before.

Normally I tend to steer clear of revisiting locations I’ve photographed in the past in order to avoid the possibility of feeling uninspired at any point but what I’ve found to be the solution to this creative hitch has been to direct my attention to capturing portraits while everything else becomes secondary. I could photograph 3 different people in one given street and they would all be dissimilar because each one of them as a person would contribute something different in each frame assuming I varied the composition and lighting.

For me one of the all-important ingredients for a good photograph has to be interest. What I mean by that is that I can’t imagine photographing a place or person if you have no interest in them. You have to be interested in order to originate an opinion, feeling or emotion about the place or subject so hopefully one of the three is conveyed to the viewer.

You have to be interested in something other than just the technical aspect of photography and the process of creating images. Don’t just love photography for the sake of it. I say take pleasure in the things outside of it. As Peter and I meandered around heavily walked touristy streets, we casually went up for fresh air to rooftops to gain a different perspective of the neighborhood. He was uneasy at first and it’s not something I typically do but when it comes to striving to compose an image different from what you’ve done in the past, you’ll pretty much do anything.

Hopefully I was able to provide Peter with a good impression of a city that has so much more to offer. The more people I meet the more I feel I’m growing as a photographer and I can tell you that it has more to do with that than sitting at a desk reading books on the subject. Get out there and meet people!