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Rediscovering the World and Myself Through Street Photography (Part II)

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If there is one word I would use to describe myself is most probably melancholy. I have always felt like this since I was young. Sometimes, for no reason. It has always been a struggle. It can be difficult for my family, especially when I was growing up. I have always been a sensitive person. As much as I can, I try not to burden others with my emotions too much.

The only difference these days is I am getting better at handling my emotions and behavior (been a husband and father helps a lot with this) and have tried to open up more to those who are closest to me. I tend to keep a lot to myself.

I try my best to live responsibly as an adult. Having a stable day job. No debt aside from my house's mortgage (almost impossible to escape this in Singapore). Always paying my bills. To be a grateful son. To be a good husband. Being a father who is there. Spending below my means. Financially responsible.

And yet the melancholy remains. There's an empty void within.

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Don't get me wrong. My relationships with my loved ones are great. There are no grudges I hold or is there some big divide among us. I love being in the company with my parents and brother, spending time my wife and son as well as her family. Going home everyday to be with my family is the highlight of my day. I wish I was as happy as my boy. I can experience innocence once more thanks to him. The way he laughs, cry and express himself is so genuine. I love my working environment too. I have many great positive colleagues whom I have learnt much from.

That being said, the times I get to spend alone with myself and working on my own photography projects are among my most treasured. If I don't shoot for a long time, I feel almost anxious and suffocating. The experience of getting the shot that connects with you is almost euphoric. I scream inside when that happens. With street photography, I have a false sense of control of reality, despite its chaotic nature. 

Studying the beauty in the everyday makes me feel a little better. Observing people from all walks of life have led me to be very grateful for what I have. Sometimes I feel really silly for being melancholic after understanding the plight of others. It's really easy to dehumanize yourself when you are caught up in a comfortable routine and only mixing people of the same social standing. The camera can be a passport to different worlds. You'll be surprised at the amount of access you are allowed sometime when you present yourself seriously as a photographer.

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Street photography can push you to explore unfamiliar places and encounter unexpected observations. My conversations with people from different backgrounds have broaden my understanding of the people of my homeland. There is so much to learn from strangers when they open up to you. Yet, even after wandering in my country for three years, I can't seem to find any answers. Instead, I come back with more questions. Looking through the viewfinder and clicking the shutter is the only way I know how to deal with my existential crisis. Rediscovering life again and again.
 

Sebastian Chin