These photographs in this e-gallery were taken in Baltimore, New York, Taipei, Mongolia, Xinjiang, Cuba, Mexico and elsewhere from 2001 to 2018. I used digital cameras and the Adobe Photoshop CC (together with Silver Eflex [b1] Pro 2) for simple editing including black-and-white conversion, cropping, and adjustment for contrast and tonal quality. The intention of digital modification is not to construct a new perception but to enhance the original image.

To me, photographs bring the viewers to a new space-time where they never saw, experienced or even imagined, but the 'decisive moment' actually happened. Photography is not only what you see but also what you make others see. Probably, the role of a photographer is not to show what we can all see, but what we are unable to see. That's the poetic element of photography.

Unlike a conventional fine artist, a photographer never invents or constructs the art content- it is a journey to discover the moment, followed by the reinterpretation of a visual experience by both the photographer and viewers.

The practice of photography is similar to fishing. One needs to know where and when to anticipate the moment, making the practice of waiting an art. One will find fishing less exciting when a net replaces the hook. Likewise, a string of automatic shots or directed, staged photography sacrifices the very essence that is so dear to photography.

Black-and-white does not pretend to resemble the world. When the color spectrum is transformed into a gray scale, there is an immediate departure from the conventional appearance of things, asking us to focus on the meaning, and bringing us closer to a world of surrealism.

A good photograph should be implicit and enigmatic. The content may reveal something unrecognizable, yet within the realm of what is familiar. The best photographs are ones that cleanse the eyes and the mind, invoking a new interpretation time and time again.

The cliché images that appear on most of the postcards, desktop screens and calendars usually allow a narrow and expected interpretation- it is beautiful! But what you see is what you get. Those pictures are a 'high-definition” version of the world through our own eyes.

The true beauty of a photograph comes from the viewer's imagination and deep deliberation of the photographic content.

Photographers should transgress the limits of our ignorance within the mundanities of daily life. By intentionally framing the world to record a piece of space-time, they reconstruct a reality that is often overlooked. The job of a camera is to transform reality into a picture. The job of a photographer is to give that picture multiple interpretations, and provide viewers such visual opportunities.

Ie-Ming Shih