29 April 2021

Photos & Text:
Annie Yan

Annie has been fascinated by documenting her surroundings on camera from an early age. Her father used to take a camera with him wherever he went, and he taught his daughter how to shoot pictures – using a Leica M6. After graduating from film school in Boston, USA, Annie now works as a filmmaker and photographer.   

Whilst most people my age would’ve learnt on digital, my first introduction to photography was analogue. I don’t remember a time in my life when my dad didn’t have a camera on him. When we went on family trips, my mother always joked that he could spend hours just taking photos of a rock. Overall though, even around our home, he’d be taking photos of us whenever he got the chance – his camera never left his side.

When I was around 8 or 9, I took an interest in taking photos just because there was always a camera around. It was obviously nothing serious, but my dad was still shooting film back then. I learnt how to expose and focus manually, which helped me a lot later on when I went to film school. Much later, I would realise just how crazy my dad was because the camera he taught me on was in fact a Leica M6.

Fast forward to last year in 2020, I was just about to graduate from film school in the US, but when the pandemic hit, I came back to Hong Kong. For a few months, I felt really stuck and uninspired. I feel bad saying that because everyone always tells me how lucky I am to live in a city like Hong Kong, but I guess I just don’t see it the way everyone else does. I turned to photography to help find inspiration for writing. This is a method I found incredibly helpful throughout my years of film school – if I felt stuck, I would go out and take photos.

It sounds cheesy but I think the idea is to find beauty in the place I am in. I’d always shot portraits prior to this, but I figured since it was my environment that was affecting my creativity, I’d explore the idea of shooting more documentary style photos and I absolutely love it.

I’ve never been so in love with photography up until now. I still love filmmaking and want to pursue directing as a career, but right now, photos are my go-to form of creativity and therapy. I hope to start shooting portraits again and I’m actually working on a few concepts right now, so I’m excited to share those soon!

Thank you, Annie, for being part of THE WASTED HOUR.

See more pictures by Annie here: