Interview With Kien Lam

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Taking a bold move quitting his job as a financial strategist to travel around the world, Kien Lam captured over 6000 photographs to make an amazing time lapse video showcasing the essence of life around the world. I am excited to start the year with an exclusive interview with photographer Kien Lam on his time lapse project, photography, creativity and more. Enjoy!


When did your interest in photography start. 

I took a photography course in college and joined the college newspaper's photography department after that.

How did Time is nothing come about. 

I had the idea for this project right before I left while trying to come up with a way to capture this amazing adventure I was soon to embark on. I wanted it to show what I saw when I had traveled before: the people, the traffic, the energy and even just the pace of the place. More importantly, I wanted to put it together in a way I could share with my family and friends in a few minutes rather than having to show them thousands of pictures that would no doubt bore them after the 15th photograph.

How did you pick your locations and countries.

That was hard. I wanted to start in London to see some friends and then follow the sun and warm weather. 2010 was a particularly cold year in San Francisco and I just wanted to go where it was warm. I had places I wanted to visit and made my decisions from country to country as I arrived. 


They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, what messages do your photography deliver.

I strive to have my photography capture moments rather than just people or places. If it's a photograph of a person, I want to capture that person in the middle of doing something, perhaps lost in thought, or deeply focused on a task. I want to the viewers to be able to look at a photograph ask what was going through the mind of the subject and the photographer when the photo was taken. 


How has the experience and exposure to different cultures and people helped you as an individual and a photographer.

It has made me more appreciate of the things we have in America and other large countries, as well as what I have in my life. No matter what you have, someone will always have more, and someone will always have less. It comes down to what you make of what you have and how you can find happiness in that. 
As a photographer, it helps me look beyond the obvious things that would typically interest a photographer shooting in a foreign countries. When you see people dressed in full Bedouin or Berber attire that's put on merely for the tourist or a girl dressed in a traditional Ao Dai in Vietnam in a village just so tourist can take a picture, it helps you try to find something more authentic to capture. 

In your opinion how will you define creativity.

When I think of the word "creativity", I make the distinction between an artist and a craftsman. An artist's creativity comes organically and can take many exciting and new shapes and form. 
A craftsman's creativity comes from looking at something and finding a way to improve on it. 
I believe that true creativity is a lot more rare because it takes a special mind to come up with something completely new to the world.


What else are you passionate about besides photography.

I am a very curious person and learning new skills is something I'm very passionate about. 
Besides photography, I love to cook and and I love playing the piano. 

What do you like most about what you do.

I love that photography allows me to meet people and to explore new places. 
You just know that you'll never run out of new people to meet or new places to see. 


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