Tiras - San Rafael, California
Entered on August 7, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in saving little moments of the world and making them my own. Some do this by saving postcards from countries they’ve visited, while some even collect sand from beaches around the world. My dad has a collection of refrigerator magnets he has bought from every gift shop we have visited. Me? I like to take pictures.

Our lives are filled with every form of photography imaginable. Photography is a universal language that is spoken by everyone. During breakfast, I flip through the latest edition of TENNIS magazine to look at photographs of Andy Roddick executing an explosive service motion. While studying, I look at hundreds of images of chemistry experiments that would be too dangerous for me to reproduce, and photographs of civilizations that would be impossible to visit. The creators of these photographs have been kind enough to share a part of their lives with me.

Pure photographs tell the truth. A camera simply records what you place in front of its lens; it is a tool I have learned to use to define my life and the world around me. Whether it is memorabilia from a recent family vacation, or an intimate portrait printed out for a Christmas card, there’s no way to deny these things – they really happened. But sometimes, many do not want the truth to be revealed to everyone else. Very frequently while carrying around my camera, I have been kicked out of shopping malls, supermarkets, and have even been questioned and followed by angry locals. The truth is often inclusive of events that aren’t so pleasant.

When I think of tragedies such as 9/11, I don’t remember the exact floors that the hijacked planes hit, or even the number of people that died; I remember the screaming poster-sized images on the cover of my local newspaper. These photographs are what I believe and what are going to stick with me for the rest of my life.

I’ve always loved traveling. Keeping my digital camera with me has allowed me to capture a little bit of each culture that I’ve been lucky enough to interact with in neat folders on my desktop. I find that I get the most satisfaction out of the most alien places that I visit, because I am able to revisit them whenever I want and share these unique experiences with friends. While in Taiwan, I concentrated on documenting the very distinctive night life there. The illegal selling of imitation Lacoste polo shirts, the barbequing of heavily seasoned squid, and the crammed streets of night markets are only snippets of what caught my attention and what I captured on film.

These memories that I have created for myself have become the window through which I look at the world. I could never understand why my dad loves collecting magnets so much until I discovered the art of photography. Everybody has a story to tell and I hope that having such a strong passion for doing something that I love will inspire others to discover their own story.