17th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
Honorable Mention, Views Beyond the Peninsula


By Chris Lo

Chris Lo, a relative newcomer to the world of photography, has already learned how to make people sit up and take notice with the striking, geometric images and unique perspectives that characterize his photographs.

Click on photo for larger image.

Lo was initially drawn to the image of the Hong Kong skyline in "Windowframe" in a way that any tourist might be.

"It was next to the dock, and we were waiting for a boat," Lo said. "I had some free time to wander around. I saw these window frames with the buildings in the background and took a picture of it."

But what makes this photo different from the average tourist snapshot is its unusual perspective. Rather than try to obscure the window frames in front of the skyline, Lo chose to emphasize them.

"I thought that most people might take a photo looking out the window, so I decided to take the photo from a different perspective. I was trying to do something different."

Lo decided to print the photo in black and white to emphasize the shapes and patterns of the skyscrapers.

"Black and white eliminates all the colors that might be distracting and focuses more on the geometry of the photo," Lo said.

Lo, who is a junior at Palo Alto high school, started taking photographs last year during a trip to the Arctic Circle with his grandfather, who is a professional photographer.

"It was a group of mostly photographers, so I kind of got into it," Lo said.

Lo is mostly self-taught, although he did take a short photography class at the Pacific Art League. He takes most of his photographs on digital cameras for the instant feedback they offer.

"Digital is generally easier to use, but film offers more range of colors and clarity," Lo said. "It's easier to start learning photography with digital because you get instant results."

Although Lo only recently became interested in photography, he's already received lots of encouragement. So he wasn't surprised when he found out that "Windowframe" was a prize-winning photograph.

"A lot of people said that they liked my work before I submitted anything," Lo said. "I think I was pretty confident that I might get something out of the contest."

But Lo, who also runs track and cross-country and plays the clarinet in a youth orchestra, isn't sure whether his interest in photography will take a professional turn.

"I'm still kind of experimenting with different ideas," Lo said. "I'm just taking it as a hobby right now."

In either case, Lo's photographic method is simple but undeniably effective.

"I don't really have anything in mind when I'm out walking on the streets," Lo said. "I just look for anything interesting and try to frame it in an interesting way."

--Jillian Keenan


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