5 Questions for Chrystine Pham
If you’re not familiar with her work, here’s what the Flickrverse has to say:
“Chrystine’s stream blows me away each and every time [...]. Not only are her still life shots full of beauty and the perfect light and depth of field and wonderful imagination, but she takes perfect portraits :) lovely sweet beautiful portraits, and not only that but each shot seems so personal her that you feel privileged to be allowed to see it. “ — amysgster
“i’ve been following chrystine’s streams for a long long time. her images are magically captivating, her words even more so. you’ll be enchanted as you browse through chrystine’s world. just like me!” — *sarahdippity
“You are an incredible photographer. Your photographs are filled with such peace and such realness.
Your photostream comes across as a visual diary that is crisp, bright, soft and simply delicious to look at.” — The Spider In Your Bath
1. Chrystine, we know it’s a tough question, but if you had to pick just one camera to shoot with from now until the end of time, what would that be?
I haven’t had the opportunity to try many cameras other than my Canon 5D which I’ve been shooting for the past year and the Canon 20D exclusively for about 4 years before that. However, in retrospect, many of my favorite photos from other Flickr members happen to be the ones shot with a Hasselblad, a Rolleiflex, a Pentacon 6, a Polaroid (e.g., SX-70 or the Land cameras) and more recently, the Fuji Instax. I would happily own any one of these some day but if I had to choose one camera, it’d probably be one of the aforementioned Polaroid cameras. One, instant gratification equals fun. Two, it’s accessible (reads, relatively budget friendly). Three, I’m an old soul—the soft light and colors of a Polaroid mesmerize me.
2. Another (possibly) tough question… Tell us your favourite photos on Flickr, and why you like them. First, a favourite from your photostream?
It was just an instantaneous snapshot of my daughter holding a shamrock leaf she picked while we were out in the garden right before it started raining. And similar to my friend Leslie’s response to this question, the photo somehow perfectly conveyed and echoed the inner peace I felt for my life at that moment. I guess what I’m trying to say is that photography has become more, for me, than just capturing the moment, light, or subject matter, etc. Somewhere along the way, it has also become my personal diary (which is wonderful since I am not very good with words), a mental therapy of sorts, an introspection and a journey into my spiritual life.
And from another Flickr member?
Sensual. Poetic. Romantic. Class. Authentic. Its one of those images that stay with me forever and ever. And best of all, it was taken with a Polaroid.
3. What’s one tip that you would share with someone who’s just picking up a camera?
When approaching a scene you want to take a picture of, if possible (time-wise, since it can be critical if you’re shooting a fast moving subject), ask yourself, how would you (or your favorite painter, or photographer(s)) paint or shoot this? Or would they, if at all? I admire arts of all media but I am no painter. However, I’ve learned that visualizing the final ‘print’ and doing a little thinking/imagining in this way helps curb my tendency to shoot a bazillion of frames of the same scene and none of them turn out the way I want.
4. Which Flickr member should we ask the 5 questions of next?
Ralph. His work is thoughtful, intelligent, and understated. Reflective of who he is as a person. As I grow as a photographer, I never really grow above admiring his work, even the old images he’s taken ages ago. The quality of his work stands the test of time. My favorites are his nature shots, especially the fall-into-winter nature shots. They ooze grace, harmony and poetry. And I think that is an inspiring perspective to have, not just as a photographer, but as a human being, first and foremost.
5. Leslie would like to ask you: “How did photography come to be a part of your life?” Please answer this question and also let me know which question about Ralph’s photography did you always want to ask him?
I’ve always loved looking at photos, all kinds of photos, all my life. But not until my first daughter was born I decided to get a decent camera (i.e., one that was faster than my pocket-sized point and shoot) to capture her childhood. I suppose many a mom-photographer can relate to my story. And now. All I can say is that … when all else fails, I am still grateful for the fact that I can wake up each day and be able to see the beauty of light, first with my own two eyes, reflected in everything around me. Life is beautiful. And photography can help one feel that.
For Ralph, what type of images stirs you the most? And can you recall a special moment when you felt like you had to run to get your camera to capture something?
Kay: Chrystine, thank you very much. We’ll return with our interview of nardell soon.
Previously, 5 Questions for leslie*thomson.