“Always spare the time to shoot what you really love because passion is the only thing that will make you feel alive in the long run.”
Htet T San (born 1986) is a contemporary photographer currently based in New York City, USA.
He studied photography at University of Alabama Huntsville & widely self-taught.
One day, I set out to find myself.
I have stripped out all the layers and walls I have built my existence up. There I found this – “the complete nothingness”.
So huge and overwhelming that I suddenly felt like I am going to collapse in any moment and never I will find myself again.
In the memory of that split moment, I created this project The Frail Second.
Thoughts on “The Frail Second“
The Frail Second is my most recent personal project, initiated from a certain period of my state of mind. I was sitting on the beach while looking at the people playing around with the water, there was a man standing, gazing towards the ocean effortlessly, whose vague reflection in the wet sand was repeatedly being washed out with the tides coming up and down.
I grabbed my camera and took the first picture of “The Frail Second” that inspired me to continue the whole series. I focused on shooting interesting figures reflecting in the wet sand and the rest is done in post-production, also by combining multiple images and layers.
This is an ongoing project started in June 2013
Htet T San, what does photography mean to you?
I do photography by means of Liberation from all the suffocation I feel as a human being rather than getting to a certain place or a position in society. It’s more of a personal sentimental journey, a tool to be aware of my experiences or as the back door of my subconscious.
I discovered photography in 2007 and through my ups and downs, it has been the soul mate and the intangible force of love to make me feel alive, to make sense of my own existence in this vastness of space and time. So, to keep working on personal projects for me is the most important.
Which photographer has inspired you most? Did you have a point of reference when realizing your series?
Duane Michals – he is the first person who has inspired me the most in the history of photography. My first personal project in college “Escape” was a tribute to him.
I would like to quote some of his words that are relevant to my work.
“The only thing we know for sure is what we experience. If you look at a photograph of somebody crying, you register grief. But in fact, you don’t know what people are experiencing at all. You’re always protecting your version of what that emotion is. What is known is only what I know. The only truth I know is my own experience. I don’t know what it means to be black. I don’t know what it means to be a woman. I don’t know what it means to be Cartier-Bresson. So I have to define my work in terms of my own truth. That’s what the journey is all about, if you are to use your own instincts. The great wonder is that we each have our own validity, our own mysteries. It’s the sharing of those gifts that makes artists artists.” Duane Michals
Also, other photographers such as Saul Leiter, Jerry Uelsmann, Henri Cartier Bresson and Prake Harrison brothers contribute to my interest and passion in photography.
Which photographer has caught your attention lately?
“…capturing ordinary moments in our daily lives then turning them into ethereal.”
Rinko Kawakuchi. I came across her photo book “AILA” (2004) and it has been the book I have been going back and looking at it again and again I like her approach in photography by capturing ordinary moments in our daily lives then turning them into ethereal, beautiful and thoughtful imagery in combination. Her photo books are very interesting.
What’s in your photography bag? What kind of equipment do you use?
For commercial works, I use a wide range of cameras and lenses – but mostly Canon EOS 5D, Canon EOS 40D with Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 lens and Canon EF lenses.
I also still use my very first camera Fuji S7000 for personal street photography projects.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
Conscientious, “A Photo Editor”, Lens Culture.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to get started with photography?
Always spare the time to shoot what you really love because passion is the only thing that will make you feel alive in the long run.