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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2011-01-05

Lee-Huang Chen's Favorite Image of 2010
“The Academy changed my life not just the photography part.”

By LEE-HUANG CHEN, U.C. Irvine

Editor's Note: For this issue of the Sports Shooter Newsletter I asked students that are members of ss.com or had attended one of the Academy workshops to submit their favorite photo of 2010 and write a short piece about it. This image could be from a favorite assignment, show something they had learned or is something of a personal nature. The one requirement was, the image had to have special significance to them.

Photo by Lee-Huang Chen

Photo by Lee-Huang Chen
The photo shown represents the greatest photography experience of my life—the participation in the Sports Shooter Academy. I clearly remember the first time I had the opportunity to learn from the professionals and have something to aspire to.

Right after being accepted to The Academy, I was on assignment for a basketball game at the Bren Event Center, where the U.C. Irvine Anteaters battled the University of Pacific. Courtside I met photographer Matt Brown, who happened to be one of the workshop faculty members. He told me to get ready for a mind-blowing experience at The Academy. I did not understand what he meant by the mind exploding experience until the first day of the workshop. The opening slideshow presentation by Rod Mar amazed me, as every single photo he presented was incredible!

I finally realized what is wrong with my photographs after a comment made by Matt. I learned a real photographer “makes” photos, and does not “take” photos. Matt’s comment really hit me hard—I had not been a photographer the whole time. I did not “make” my photos, simply “took” pictures. I also learned to not simply focus on the action in the shot but how the surrounding interacts with the sport. I did not think about these concepts before.

On the last day of the workshop, I really tried hard to step up and push myself, to “make” a better picture. I looked beyond the action. And this photo was a result of that effort.

The last night of The Academy, I finally was fast enough to received critiques from the faculty. The most rewarding part from this photo was Matt telling me that I really improved.

Then I told my friend Scott Roeder that I would be ecstatic if my photo made it through to the second round selections on the last day of The Academy. Surprisingly, this photo actually made it through. I chose this photo because it represents my best photography and reminds me my wonderful and inspiring experiences from the Sports Shooter Academy. I finally understood why Matt brown considered the academy to be a mind-blowing experience.

The Sports Shooter Academy opened a whole other world to me. I learned all the concepts to make myself a better photographer, which I am still working on it. The Academy also made me a less shy person, enabling me to push myself and open more doors. I was able to attend two AVP beach volleyball tournaments and the U.S. Open of surfing for assignments and put the things I learned from the academy into practice. At these events, I was able to meet more nice photographers. The Academy changed my life not just the photography part.

This photo reminds me of it all.


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