Taking in the world around us is important for us as perfumers. It helps us to discover what people need from a scent, whether its a form of escapism, a dose of positivity or a sense of comfort, and often we witness small moments that spark the beginning of a special idea. When we can't travel or see the world for ourselves, we often look to photography for this insight and inspiration. We sit down with photographer Charles Hü to explore his process of capturing the world and discover how he finds beauty in the everyday.
When and how did you become interested in photography?
I never thought I would be interested in photography. It all started about 10 years ago when I accidentally broke my friend’s Canon 550D at a birthday party. I had to buy him a brand new camera, and he gave me his broken one. That’s how I started my photography journey.
How do you find beauty in the everyday?
Observation and Anticipation. Just be observant and follow where the action takes you. I think there's something interesting to be discovered in the ordinary moments of our days. You find things more interesting when you start looking at what is around you and noticing the small things.
I love the quote “Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find the joy in the journey." I think there's something in slowing down and focusing on your surroundings to find beauty in the everyday lives of our own and of others.
Do you have a favourite time of day?
Before sunrise. I love how the dark turns into the morning. It's my favourite time of the day whether I’m at home, at work, or when I travel.
What is your favourite city to photograph?
Every city has its own stories to tell. I’m fascinated by the lives of others. I love collecting images of people and scenes on the street. I find that often these images can be provoking and interesting at the same time.
As someone who captures people and places on a daily basis, is there anything you’ve observed over the past year that has brought a smile to your face?
The COVID 19 pandemic has a huge impact on how we live right now. I can see how people have changed during this time and the world has definitely quietened down. For me, I love to spending time with my family, especially seeing my second daughter born last year. It made me cherish every moment of it.
It’s said a photo is worth a thousand words, what do you try to express through your images?
It’s very important for me to be able to tell stories from my photos. I want people to look at my photos and be able to feel how I felt at the moment. No words needed. Every shot expresses how I feel at that moment and what I want to create for people to see.
Is there a smell that holds significance to you or reminds you of a particular point in your life?
I love how a smell can bring back some memories. I remember a scent of earl grey that brought back the time when I was studying in Vancouver. The homestay I was staying at the time had this scent wafting from the kitchen every morning. It soothes me, and it also brings up feelings of nostalgia every time when I smell it.