YOU SCROLL DOWN indifferently, eyes flickering absently past the endless flood of images on your Facebook or Instagram feed. Welcome to the age of visual saturation. But among them, you notice that one photo. In that moment, your heart catches.
That is precisely what Evelyn Lee's photography does to you. It can't be condensed into a single definite style or coldly rationalized, but it is discovered, felt, experienced.
Looking through these images, one gets an underlying sense of wistful longing. It's an intimate experience, as if we are examining fragments of her heart. Unwittingly, we find ourselves being taken on an emotional journey as we look through her eyes, rediscovering this world for ourselves with a slow wonder.
For as long as Evelyn can remember, photography has been part of her life. Her father, an avid photographer, acted as her mentor when she was younger. But a six-week long trip to China in secondary school sparked her love affair with photography. Unlike her friends, she loved venturing off-the-beaten path, and capturing little moments on the street.
“ At that time, I already knew that the photos I took were different from others, ” she says.
Evelyn has since carved a niche in travel photography, albeit a more emotionally-charged one. In her hands, places become imbued with a soulful, dreamy whimsicality. The 21-year-old dreamer has travelled across Europe, weaving magic with poetic shots of tree branches, the English countryside, sunlit lakes, and cobble-stoned streets, all bathed in a spool of golden light.
She finds fulfillment in capturing these undiscovered, often overlooked facets of a country. Confessing to feeling like a constant traveler, even in her own country, Evelyn explains, “ Traveling is not an action. It's a mindset.”
But it is this universal thread of human connection that she prizes above all. No matter what skin colour or nationality, people are fundamentally the same. Thus, street photography becomes a way for her to capture such connections and become one with the world.
When I hold the camera, it's like I've become part of this moving portrait of the world around me. And when I click, it's like I'm breathing. It's an amazing feeling.
More importantly, photographs first have to be “true”, in the sense that it comes from the photographer's heart. Some may accuse her of romanticizing reality with her heavy editing, but she argues that “emotion is the purest form of truth.”
It's no surprise that Evelyn draws influences from Impressionism and artists like Claude Monet, whose paintings are based on an individual's subjective interpretation of the world.
She says honestly, “ I was simply trying to bring out what I felt in that moment.”
And that purity in vision makes us feel intensely, along with her.
Right now, Evelyn is simply trying to capture everyday connections, while understanding herself in the process. But she hopes to explore deeper connections through documentary photography someday.
But first, she acknowledges that her photography can only mature, when she herself grows. Photography is only meaningful when one can truly empathize with others, she says. In Evelyn's case, she hopes to use her gift to advocate her long-life dream of world peace.
She says: “ It's not a lofty dream. People just need to realize that they share this connection with other people."