Daily Inspiration #336 by Haoyuan Ren

Hello Steve,

Searching for who I am, that never seemed easy. I’m 24, currently working and finding myself through the photography industry as a PA, assistant, digitech and everything else to eventually become a shooter. Being in the industry is tough, as I’ve stopped completely in doing my own work. For a long time I’ve struggled with who I was and my identity and voice. In desperate attempts to cling back onto who I possibly was, I went through phases in which I blamed my environments, my equipments, my subjects, and me, but I’ve never stopped shooting even when I produced crap. After a bad break up last year, I bought a x100 for myself. I bought it more for a novelty than for what it actually was. Right after I bought it, I blamed the lens, the autofocus, the barrel distortion for not being able to create the vision I want (I didn’t even know what I wanted).

After being through a ton of life changes in my life, though the x100 stood still in time, it never changed. I used to carry it everywhere I went because it was easier, and through it I have learned to translate to the world the intense curiosity and crippling loneliness I had felt, and here’s what I realized. By discarding my expectation for anything and everything, I was able to mentally remove the blocks that hindered me from shooting. The x100 is now a friend, an unobtrusive friend that I accept without prejudice. It has its own set of rules for seeing the world, and I’ve learned to negotiate with it in order to internalize it. For no longer am I scared of not its limitations. I discard everything in order to create a new dream with the rules the x100 has set for me, as so it has become invisible in my shooting process.

My tumblr is http://haoyuanren.tumblr.com. It’s where all of the personal work is, always updated. I have a photography site, http://www.haoyuanren.com.

Thanks for your time,

Haoyuan Ren


  1. I think these photos are excellent. The third made me want to use my sea legs again…! 🙂

    I also like your preamble.

  2. The “O\9” picture, plane and halo, on your Tumblr page is just gorgeous: I could put it on the wall and look at it day after day after day.. Bravissimo!

    And there’s a glorious multi-coloured sky and two birds in “instant mélange” on your main site!

    And “wander | china” appears like frozen frames of “Blade Runner”. And “express” is moments made perpetual – the very antithesis of moments! – through your knowledge and skill.

    There’s a huge amount of knowledge, talent, skill and vision behind and within all these pictures! Don’t stop! ..What’s the Nike slogan? “Just Do It”!

  3. Nice counter-point to the continual “…. X100 is fatally flawed argument ….” going around these here pages.

    It’s all about the images – not the camera. Very few perfect cameras in the world.

    You have learned the secret – stick with one camera, get to know it, understand it …. and take great images. Worked for most of the great photographers throughout history!

  4. You have some very striking images, and in some the emotion behind them does show through. Do keep shooting.

    Also, here is an idea one of my photography instructors tried to get us to do on a regular basis. When you don’t know what to photograph, do self portraits, and try to make the photograph show how you feel.


  5. Haoyuan,

    Like your shift in thinking as much as your pictures. Website is fantastic as well. Nice work. Take care.


  6. with no disrespect, let us know why you are here (in the States) and would you return to your homeland? i read with interest of the topic ‘drifting within’ column in your website about Chinese migrant workers going to city like Shanghai to make a living and push the city to international level, what do you see yourself as a migrant worker here in the States? by the way, i’m currently studying Sociology, hence i’m as curious as a cat. thanks.

  7. Wonderful images, also on your website which I really enjoyed. You do seem a little angst ridden though….it’s clearly not harming your creativity!! Great post. Jason

    • Thank you Jason. I have noticed my work exhibiting some bitterness throughout, seems like a decent outlet though, instead of letting it seep into the world.

  8. very nice pictures. i also visited you sites, enjoy your pictures a lot. I have a X100 also, I really want to shoot pictures to support my living one day…. but the reality is, I’m a Chemist now… I would love to at least shoot pictures on weekends for $. $ is only part of the reason, but mostly I could tell myself that people would pay me for my “ART WORKS”.


    • Photography becomes a different beast when your living starts to depend on it. I wouldn’t have it any other way but the stress of it does alter the photography on a base level. Sometimes the personal photographs are so personal that I don’t want to put a price tag on them, and the commercial work has so much fluff that I don’t care so much for them.

  9. Great work in your website. Love the “drifting within” gallery very very much. Very powerful stuff.

    Thank you for sharing your journey.

    Remain in the light

  10. Very cool photos… I think you are on the right track for sure. Photography is a funny thing. Very subjective — I like what you have done here. They have left me wanting more. Nice job and don’t stop shooting. Even when you feel bad, shoot…it’s therapy if nothing else. Take care!

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