"WHAT SHOT" PORTRAIT : JONATHAN PUI

LIS : Which camera do you use?

JP: I’m currently using a Leica MP type 240, and a Fujifilm X100F.


LIS : For what reasons?

JP : When I first started getting into street photography and not knowing much about it, I was using a big DSLR Camera. A friend lent me his Leica M4, and it was a completely different eye-opening experience. It changed the way I would shoot, and as cliche as it sounds, it really was a huge difference. It was unrestrictive, less obtrusive and much more about the photographing and less about the tool and settings on the camera. I bought a Leica M6 and loved that. I was interested in getting back into shooting digital again and began to try other smaller cameras and at that time the Ricoh GRD3 came out. I loved that camera, it was light and extremely easy to shoot with. The only limitation was that small sensor size, back then it was still not an APS-C sensor. I also started moving from shooting only a 28mm focal range to a 35mm focal range, so the Fuji x100 series camera was a good fit. In some ways, it is small enough to use as a point and shoot, but with a viewfinder. I've been on the Fuji x100 series for the past 3 years, and still love it. I got my hands on a Leica MP typ240 earlier this year and have been using this more often now. I like both these cameras as they are simple, easy to use and quality of image they produce are really great.


LIS : What brought you to photography?

JP : I am an art director by trade, and so I’ve always been into creating images, whether that is through illustration, graphic design or motion graphics. Photography seemed like another creative outlet to creating images, so I was interested in learning the process, and it somewhat has grown with me ever since I picked up my first camera in 2006.


LIS : Why did you choose Street Photography?

JP : I liked the idea that a good street photograph is truly unique and that if you manage to capture that one split second moment at that specific time and place, that only you could only experience that event and that photograph would represent you. I also thought that I don’t have to go to travel and go to exotic locations to be able to take pictures. I was also amazed to see that there were photographers out there making pictures of all these surreal but beautiful scenes of everyday life and this is what got me hooked. It made me want to start looking. Shortly after I happened to move to Tokyo, and it was a great place to start learning street photography.

Jono Pui portrait what shot 1
Jono Pui portrait what shot 2


LIS : What do you want to express through your work?

JP : My photographs are a reflection of my life, my surroundings, and what I see at a particular point in time. I don’t have any set ideas when I go and shoot, I just look for what peaks my interest. Anything from a stream of light, to some random scene, street landscapes. I think I’ll make sense of It over time when I edit through the work to create some sort of cohesive narrative.


LIS : What is your favorite picture of you?

JP : My favourite photograph of mine would probably be this one. When I started to experiment more with shooting through glass and reflective surfaces this location and time of day made all the elements work. I liked how all the silhouettes lined up as well as in the far background there is one person in the light almost directly in the middle of the frame.

Jono Pui interview favorite image


LIS : What is the most absurd anecdote that happened to you while photographing in the street?

JP : I came across a parked car that was wrapped entirely with cling wrap and attached to a street sign pole.


LIS : Who is your favorite famous photographer? And why?

JP : I think it would be Trent Parke because of his ability to tell an amazing story through each of his different bodies of work, as well as showing us how amazing the Australian light can be.

Jono Pui portrait what shot 3
Jono Pui portrait what shot 4


LIS : Who is the famous photographer that everyone likes, except you? Why?

JP : I was a little shocked when I found out Steve McCurry used photoshop to manipulate elements in the photograph.


LIS : What great photographic project would you like to realize one day?

JP : I’d like to turn what I’ve been shooting for the past few years into a proper body of work. Even if it is not seen by many people at least it is something that reflects this current time, the changing spaces and a reflection of who I am and what I see.


Jonathan Pui's profile

©2019 CS by Life is Street