Captured In The Moment | Teen Ink

Captured In The Moment MAG

July 12, 2022
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The subway rolls in, and the busy crowd flows in and out of the station. As I survey my surroundings, the scene I’m witnessing is quite typical of a bustling metropolis. A man leaning slightly behind the train door grabs my attention. I can’t precisely pinpoint the allure, but the man seems to gleam, almost majestically, through the overwhelming crowd. Compelled by the moment, I rush to reach for my camera, and right before the door shuts, I quickly adjust the exposure, point, and shoot. The train slowly departs. I review the photo and can’t believe what I am seeing. 

Sometimes, I look back at the photo and relive the moment — the sound of those climbing the steps and the humming of the train still ring loud and clear. This is the power of photography, engraining the moment as I hold it in my hand. Maybe, my inclination toward photography comes from my childhood, filled with different cultures and environments. From Dubai, Germany, the U.S., and South Korea, each country gave me countless memorable moments dear to my heart. A photo of my brother and me, arms around one another, in front of our old home. A group photo with my friends on my last day in Germany. A goofy photo of my water polo team elated after a league victory. Yet, while moving around, I’ve also learned the cruelty of time with many farewells I had to say. Photos were one thing that provided me with a sense of comfort and realization that special moments are indeed unforgotten and live with me within these frames. At some point, the train always seems to leave. 

Beyond the experience, the symbolic nature a moment can withhold adds tremendous sentimental value. The subway picture was much more endearing because it finally solidified my progression as a photographer. In truth, the sudden burst in photographic skills only happened recently. Now that I look back, my first few photos were quite comical: blurry, disoriented, and devoid of life. Yet I continued to shoot and capture, experimenting with various camera features. The number of photos quickly accumulated, and my skills and experiences, too, grew. One by one, my photos started to fill with color, story, and life. Although I hold one amazing picture, behind them lies hundreds of atrocious failures, unseen to others yet visible to the photographer. In a sense, there is no bad picture in the grand scheme. I came to treasure the countless moments in the journey. Pictures I take as a method of self-accountability to exercise daily pile up with photos in the gym, pool, and out at the Han River. They all speak to me that I want to become something more. 

It’s still surreal the timing of it all. The lighting, the shadows, and the split second that made all the difference make it difficult to distinguish whether I captured the moment or the moment called me. Life seems to have its moments of serendipity. Everything clicked with the internship that sparked a passion for technology and the environment as I researched the effective solution of blockchain technology and its ramifications in carbon trading. Wanting to make an environmental difference in my community but not knowing where to start, one post on Instagram for a potential project amassed 17 students with stellar leadership and passion, joining to form an outstanding team. I still struggle to fathom the science behind these moments, but I understand the significance and make sure I make the most of them. 

I wonder what he was looking at, holding his phone, leaning so casually. He was heading somewhere I don’t know, yet he unknowingly left a precious gift to me. As the picture resembles so many aspects of my life, I am gently reminded of my aspirations to cherish and grow from every possible opportunity and give precious moments along the way. 

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