//vol.15-4 Viewpoint: Photography


Capturing Memories:

Photography as a Timeless Legacy

 by Anson Yu


Starting from a hiking trip with my dad a few years ago, photography has created human bounds and brought me immense joy, capturing life’s precious moments that will be cherished forever.


Click! Photography has been a significant facet of my life for as long as my memory serves me. It is not just about taking pretty pictures, but it’s about capturing moments, creating memories, and leaving behind a legacy.

Indeed, my introduction to the realm of photography was an unexpected occurrence – through my old Samsung phone. It happened during one of our hiking trips with my dad at the Wong Nai Chung Gap Trail, where I was mesmerised by his captivating nature photographs. At that very moment, a flame of inspiration ignited within me, and I committed to step into his shoes, capturing precious memories that would be cherished by future generations with my trusty old phone. However, as time passed, my dad’s work commitments grew, and our opportunities to spend quality time together diminished. Photography evolved from being a mere passion to becoming my sanctuary, providing solace and an escape from the negative emotions that seeped into my life, filling the void left by my absent father. Despite all this, my dad did present me with a brand new camera to replace my phone.

Now, let me take you back to a breezy night in Mong Kok, where my path converged with a colossal neon sign. It was as exhilarating as discovering a hidden treasure, a gem that I never knew still existed in this day and age. These neon signs used to be ubiquitous, according to my parents, but now they’re becoming scarce. It made me realize the true power of photography – the ability to capture a moment in time and preserve it forever.

As I stood there, fascinated by the vibrant glow of the neon sign, I couldn’t help but envision what Hong Kong was like in the 1980s. It felt like I had traveled back in time, walking alongside photographers who captured the essence of that era like Greg Girard. I could see the lively discos and nightclubs that used to line the streets, with neon signs illuminating the night sky and drawing attention to us. These signs were like symbols of a bygone era, leading me through the stories of the past. I could vividly imagine meeting my father in his youth and embarking on an exciting adventure through Causeway Bay, with the enticing aroma of siu mai and egg puffs wafting through the air. Hawkers would line the streets, and we would pass by the iconic Lee Theatre, standing tall and proud before its reconstruction.


“The idea is not to live forever; it is to create something that will.”


As Andy Warhol once said, “The idea is not to live forever; it is to create something that will.” That quote resonates with me. Although we’re mortal beings, our creations can transcend time and leave a lasting impact. That is what photography allows us to do. It enables us to capture the beauty of the world, create something that will be remembered long after we’re gone, and connect with people from different eras and cultures.

Surely, photographs can inspire and influence future generations. They can drive change and call for action. This is exactly what Lewis Hine did by shedding light on child labour with his snapshot “Breaker Boys.” Hence, photography is not just about capturing the past, but it is also about shaping the future.

I also admire Ansel Adams, one of the most influential landscape photographers, who is famous for his breathtaking photoshoots. His “The Tetons and The Snake River” series showcased the beauty of nature and inspired countless minds to advocate for the preservation of our environment. Besides, he is also part of the Sierra Club which promotes outdoor recreational activities like rafting and canyoning. 

And for someone like me who struggles with memory, photography is a lifeline. It enables me to document my life, experiences, and daily routines. Every snapshot, whether mundane or life-changing, becomes a part of my personal history. As said, it is not just about the past, but also about the future. These photographs serve as reminders of who I am and who I have become.

Ultimately, what matters most is leaving behind a legacy. We all want to look back on our lives and say, “Ah, I have truly lived.” For me, photography attains that aspiration by allowing me to create a visual story of my life, filled with joy, laughter, and occasional mistakes. I hope each of you can discover a hobby or passion that helps you do the same. Whether it is photography, painting, writing, or something else entirely, find something that brings you joy and helps you create a life worth looking back on. 

Yes, I can get a bit fussy about composition sometimes. It is not about being a perfectionist, but about striving for a sense of accomplishment, and fulfillment washes over me as I capture the moment. It takes me back to when my dad first taught me about photography. Despite my terrible memory, I can still recall his lessons on shutter speed and aperture. It is a connection that goes beyond just taking pictures – it is a bond between me and my dad that I truly cherish. 




Anson Yu, 15, is an “Hong Kong 200” alumnus and Annual Chamber Debate Club member of the HKFYG Leadership Institute. He enjoys badminton, photography, and public speaking.