Objects in the public domain and their geometric impact are the focus of Barry Tse’s photography. He uses the large angular field of the ZEISS Touit 2.8/12 to present each motif and its surroundings with equal impact.
Not far from the Art League Houston building, a colorful ‘snake’, made from a metal frame and covered with painted strips of wood, winds its way along the road. Called “Funnel Tunnel”, this 160-feet-long temporary structure was created by local artist Patrick Renner. Barry Tse was immediately taken by it — as a photo motif. He liked it so much so that he shot an entire series of this unusual structure in the alternative neighborhood of Montrose with his Touit 2.8/12. The colorful snake reflects this vibrant part of town and has a direct connection to its surroundings. An aspect which is particularly important for Barry Tse. Being the ‘local photographer’, as he calls himself, Mr. Tse observes the world with his eyes wide open. And he focuses not only on individual motifs, but also on how each motif is embedded into the local context.
Barry Tse finds the motifs literally on the street – of his hometown Houston or during his travels. But he doesn’t do classic street photography. Rather, he focuses on objects in public spaces, having people appear in his pictures as a side statement. The snapshot above demonstrates this well: the lonely figure emphasizes the geometric forms of the totally glass-contained escalator at the Perot Museum in Dallas, Texas. And in the night shot of New York’s Times Square, the interplay of skyscrapers with the bright billboards is the central element. Pedestrians vanish in this ensemble. And you get the feeling that even photographer fades into the background.
“Photography has opened up a new world for me and taught me to see things in a new way. I started to photograph seriously in 2006 during a visit to Las Vegas. Since then I have owned several camera systems: a single-lens reflex camera for beginners, a high-end compact camera, a full-format SLR. Finally, I ended up with the compact camera system and, together with other lenses, the ZEISS Touit 2.8/12. During this process it became clear to me what I really want from a camera system: it should deliver high imaging quality while being reliable and compact. The ability to travel with light-weight equipment is extremely important to me. For this reason, when in doubt I prefer taking pictures by hand with high ISO values, instead of a tripod.“
Mr. Tse earns his living as a structural engineer. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why architecture and geometric forms – as well as light – play such a important role in his photography; whether it’s architect Renzo Piano’s Times Square Building in New York, with its transparent façade, or the colorful Chinese Lantern Festival in Texas. For part of this event, which takes place in the winter months, the park belonging to the State Fair of Texas is illuminated with a 36-meter-long dragon’s boot. “I put a lot of emphasis on architecture and landscape photography – especially at night. That is why I was looking for a powerful wide-angle lens. And since I was already using the Makro-Planar T* 2/50 with my previous SLR camera system, I wanted to have another ZEISS lens. When I switched from an SLR camera to a compact camera system, the Touit 2.8/12 turned out to be the ideal solution. The results are always fantastic from an optical standpoint. They are just as I want them to be as a photographer and as an architectural expert.”
About Barry Tse
Barry Tse lives and works in Houston, Texas. In addition to being a structural engineer, he is passionate about photography. Landscapes, architecture and local art and cultural events are some of his favorite motifs, which he likes to depict as an overall composition consisting of geometric forms.