Over the last few months, I’ve been spending more time on Instagram than Facebook, which used to be the main social media platform that I hung out on.

My initial curiosity to understand what made some people so popular on this photo/video-sharing media unleashed an insatiable hunger to uncover stories from around the world. From those of ordinary people and communities in war-torn societies to culinary rituals and the impact of urbanisation on different corners of the world – there’s so much to be discovered.

I’ve often read that while Instagram has a huge character limit (2,200 versus 140 on Twitter), it is primarily a visual-led social media channel and succinct captions are preferred. I beg to differ.

Some people prefer to scan through their Instagram feed. I prefer to take my time to absorb the stories behind the frozen moments, the essays that give context to the images and the thoughtful recollections.

One of the reasons why I’ve not been active on my blog in the last months is because of Instagram. On average, I post about once every two or three days and I spend around 20 minutes to compose a photo caption. It’s harder to write something short and succinct than something long and rambling!

Am I overthinking things and giving excessive attention to social media? Perhaps. But if I were to publish anything, I either do it well and up to my standards or I don’t do it at all. And the way I want to do this is to share the hidden stories behind my photos.

With this, I leave you with some of my Instagram stories and I hope you’d enjoy them! Let me know what you think of them 🙂

I was struck by the boldness of this traditional Chinese character that someone had sprayed on a wall. I didn't recognise it though. . Growing up in Singapore, I learned simplified Chinese in school and disliked the way – rote learning – that it was taught. Now, I wish I had learned traditional Chinese instead. While the characters are more complicated, they are richer in meaning (Chinese being a pictorial language). . So, what is "獸" in traditional Chinese? It means "beast". It is written as 兽 in simplified Chinese / 獣 in Japanese kanji. — #hypebeastxvsco #vsco #vscocam #streetart #graffiti #art #chinese #language #calligraphy #wearethestreet #streetphotography #SPiCollective #everybodystreet #everydayeverywhere #everydayasia #guardiancities #香港 #discoverhongkong #capturehongkong #culturetriphk #everydayhongkong #hongkong #zolimahongkong #hongkonglife #thisishongkong #myfeatureshoot #exploretocreate #justgoshoot #leaveboringbehind

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不遺餘力 Pull no punches . Come nightfall, the stationary forklifts, barges and bamboo scaffolding in the Western District Public Cargo Working Area transform into an unusual backdrop for people from the neighbourhood to run, walk their dogs, play badminton, fish or even practice kick boxing and playing the bagpipe. . Also known as #InstagramPier for its sunset and Victoria Harbour views, this is a lovely place to enjoy a spot of tranquility in busy HK. . #wearethestreet #streetphotography #everybodystreet #everydayeverywhere #everydayasia #香港 #discoverhongkong #capturehongkong #culturetriphk #everydayhongkong #hongkong #ighk #hongkonglife #thisishongkong #monoart_ #blackandwhite #bw #monochrome #blackieapp #blackie #hikaricreative #shootermag #myfeatureshoot #exploretocreate #justgoshoot #residensity #leaveboringbehind #boxing #container

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戲子 In memory of . Also known as 'Yu Lan' / 盂蘭節, the Hungry Ghost Festival takes place in the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. One of the highlights is the live Teochew opera performances intended to entertain the roaming ghosts. . In Hong Kong, this tradition has been practised by the Chiu Chow community for more than a century and was inscribed onto the UNESCO national list of intangible cultural heritage in 2011. . #wearethestreet #streetphotography #everybodystreet #everydayeverywhere #everydayasia #citylife #香港 #discoverhongkong #capturehongkong #everydayhongkong #hongkong #ighk #hongkonglife #thisishongkong #hikaricreative #shootermag #outofthephone #myfeatureshoot #exploretocreate #justgoshoot #vsco #vscocam #鬼月 #chinesetradition #chineseculture #leaveboringbehind #opera #chineseopera #teochew

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I was at the dentist. I asked the nurses if I could go behind the reception counter to take a photo. They looked at me with surprise. I explained that the light on the opposite building looked great. "Sure," they said as they peered out the window from behind me. I took a few shots, paid the bill and left. While waiting for the lift, I remembered something and returned to the clinic. "Do you want to take more photos?" one of them asked. My reply: "No. I forgot to make an appointment for my next visit!" 😁 —– #chasinglight #priorities #dentist #concretejungle #archidaily #architexture #archilovers #architecture #cityscape #residensity #skyline #香港 #discoverhongkong #capturehongkong #culturetriphk #everydayhongkong #hongkong #zolimahongkong #hongkonglife #urban #everydayeverywhere #guardiancities #monoart #blackandwhite #bw #bnw #monochrome #blackieapp #blackie #jj_blackwhite

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放不下 It's astounding to see how many people in Hong Kong are constantly glued to their mobile phones – playing Pokemon GO, listening to the opera, checking out Facebook updates, reading a comic, watching a drama or texting with WeChat, etc. . What did everyone used to do, for instance when waiting for or taking a train, before mobile technology became mainstream? 🤔 — #addiction #wearethestreet #hypebeastxvsco #moodygrams #vsco #vscocam #streetphotography #everybodystreet #everydayeverywhere #everydayasia #citylife #hikaricreative #shootermag #outofthephone #myfeatureshoot #exploretocreate #justgoshoot #香港 #discoverhongkong #capturehongkong #everydayhongkong #hongkong #ighk #culturetriphk #symmetry #mtr #subway

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Completed in 1842, the Thian Hock Keng temple in Singapore was assembled without nails. Complementing the remarkable Chinese craftsmanship are cast-iron railings from Glasgow, Scotland and decorative tiles from Delft in the Netherlands. . Also featured in this photo are contemporary European designs: shoes from Trippen in Berlin and a nature-inspired dress from Samsoe e Samsoe in Copenhagen! — #leaveboringbehind #design #archidaily #architexture #archilovers #architecture #temple #chinesetemple #chinatown #history #culture #tradition #Singapore #新加 #lioncity #littlereddot #sg51 #sglife #thisissingapore #yoursingapore #everydaysingapore #everydayasia #guardiancities #passionpassport #trippen #samsoesamsoe #ihavethisthingwithfloors #shoes #fashion

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14 replies on “Longer, slower and better

  1. There are some beautiful photos here, Angelina! (I particularly liked the boxer with the boxes, and the textures of that tall block of flats). I’m not that much into Instagram, or Twitter, so chances are that, unless you’d posted them here, I’d have missed them… So please keep on posting on your WordPress blog, please!

    Fabrizio

  2. I’ve missed you here, Angelina. But thank you for opening my eyes to the possibilities of Instagram, a platform I’d dismissed as being too superficial. (Not that I consider myself deep, mind you. But I do value the written word as much as photography.) Beyond your compelling post, though, CONGRATULATIONS on this gorgeous set of images! You have a marvelous eye, and a wonderful sense for interesting compositions and beautiful light. Nicely done!

    1. Hello Heather, it’s been a while indeed! Like you, I value the written word and photography equally. Sometimes a great image does not really need any accompanying text but I think the words always help to at least provide the context for the viewers to better understand what they’re looking at. Thank you and am happy you enjoyed the pictures!

  3. I guess I go through phases with Instagram – sometimes I read all of the essays (and all of the hashtags!) and sometimes I figure the photo is enough words. But either way, I prefer Insta to Facebook (it feels too much like advertising!). Also, incredible photos! I love the composition and the contrast and… yes, beautiful 🙂

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