Capturing moments one shot at a time

There are no rules or limits to junior Vincent Xie’s imagination when he travels to Los Angeles’ tunnels and railroads to stage and take pictures with street performers with other photographers.

Xie picked up photography in the eighth grade, when other photographers in a Youtube video inspired him to take pictures of downtown LA. He asked his mother to take him to LA, and spent a day roaming the city by himself, taking pictures of architecture with a digital camera.

Photography is how people use their cameras to capture scenes and things they love to show people,” Xie said. “If you’re really interested in this, the spirit of street photography is not caring about the rules. You do whatever you like with your camera. Don’t be afraid of what you love to do when the rules are limiting your abilities, don’t be afraid to break rules.”

Xie started off by taking pictures of downtown Los Angeles’ buildings, but moved on to the street performers in the city. He collaborates with photographer organizations that travel to various places to shoot pictures, like kill3rtones, to take pictures of the performers when he goes to LA. Xie goes to abandoned factories, tunnels and other similar environments to stage and take his photos.

“I felt like the pictures I took at first were just buildings, just cold and a concrete jungle, and I didn’t really like that. So I switched to street performers where it’s more vivid. They do crazy stuff and you just use your camera to capture the moment,” Xie said. “They’re people who do crazy things; they do smoke grenades and dress up as clowns for photographers to take photos of.”

Xie is currently working on a Christmas-themed fundraiser in which others buy his print photos of LA landscapes and street performers or attain a digital link to one. All the profits will be sent to American Red Cross during the holiday season under his name.

“It’s another thing I love to do with my ability and skills. I actually get to help people who need help,” Xie said.“The reason why I do photography is because, as a high school student, there’s a lot of academic pressure and pressure from friends or family. When I go to meetings [with photography organizations], I feel free in a way because photography is what I love to do. Doing what I like is like forgetting all the pressure and it’s just me and my camera, taking photos.”

Junior Ashdon Lutran’s love for photography motivates him to wake up at the crack of dawn to hike on a trail leading to a perfect shot of a sunrise.

Lutran’s father first inspired him to take up photography when he was 14 years old and he was given a camera to take pictures of nature with. His interest in photography continued to grow when he saw other people’s work online.

“Photography is an art. It’s not a coincidence when someone likes your pictures. Taking pictures is one thing, but making it your own is different. It’s not the fact that I can take a really good picture I’m satisfied with, it’s that I find something new every single time,” Lutran said.

Though he enjoys taking photos of natural scenery, such as landscapes and sunsets, during his free time, most of Lutran’s work nowadays consists of photos of his friends during hangouts. Lutran’s photos with scenery include pictures of sunsets, landscapes and other natural settings. He prefers earthy and natural settings in photos over cityscapes and urban areas.

I just want to take something different. I feel like when you take pictures of streets and skyscrapers, they’re usually all the same and that’s what everyone’s standing in line to take a picture of. But usually in nature, you’re not set on what you want to take a picture of, but you go there and find what you what to, like making your own scene,” Lutran said.

While their photography styles differ, Lutran and Xie find chances during breaks or long weekends to collaborate on photography, where they travel to a certain place and trade advice on taking photos in their own unique styles.

“The way we collaborate is by learning from each other. [Ashdon]’s really good at landscapes and knows all about the equipment and numbers and data for the camera and stuff,” Xie said. “I’m better at portraits and meetings [with photography organizations]. If we don’t understand something about our styles, we just talk with each other.”

By Joy Wang, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Vincent Xie

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