Beauty is always the result of an accident

Memento Photo Exhibition by Keith Kong


Plans will never catch up with changes; life is full of good and bad surprises. “To live is to enjoy the process and learn to embrace imperfection,” said Keith Kong, the photographer who is still a fan of film photography. There are always a lot of uncertainties arising from film photography, but Kong enjoys seeing the unexpected outcome. “There was one time I had no idea my camera was broken. All the film photos I developed bore a black spot on them. In one of the photos, the black spot rightly covered up the passersby like a spotlight.” These small accidents make every photograph a unique being. The coincidental beauty is a gift from God. “Photography is about capturing a fleeting moment. I remember one day when I was wandering on the street, I suddenly turned my head and saw a lady in qipao walking towards me. The image was as striking as a scene in a movie. It is essential to stay sensitive to one’s surroundings. With this, you can observe art on any normal day.”


Having been working in Mika Ninagawa’s studio for seven years, Kong has naturally gained a great deal of influence from the renowned photographer. “I put myself forward for learning from her Mika Ninagawa as I really admire her style. In the beginning, I tried very hard to imitate her style. For instance, I spent a lot of effort understanding how she attained that shade of red, or from which angle would she shoot the flowers. After that phase, I was scared of being compared to her, therefore I would avoid following her trail and do black and white photography instead. Luckily, I opened up my mind at the end. I realized photography, to me, is a means of self-communication. All I need is to be my true self and shoot anything I feel like to.”


For someone who lives in Japan, nature is the best subject to shoot. “The four seasons in Japan all have distinctive features — the spring cherry blossom, the summer firework, the autumn red foliage, and the winter snow. It is a natural reaction to take out my camera when being attracted to the enchanting nature.” Change is constant, the impulse is as simple as preserving a moment with photography. “In the exhibition, I placed fresh flowers alongside my snapshots to create a ‘prologue’ to welcome the entrance of my audience. Photography is like a specimen that freezes a particular moment. It is a memento of time. If the flowers in the exhibition wither, they will become another form of beauty. This is the cycle of life.”