Nature and outdoors

The first time I saw … the Amazon

Photographer WING SHYA on getting closer to nature in the Peruvian Amazon

I’ve ALWAYS lived in cities – Hong Kong is my home – always busily balancing work and life.

I’ve never lived in the wild, which is exactly why I wanted to visit Peru and the epic Amazon rainforest with some friends.

I was looking for an experience that would bring me closer to nature and one of the great natural wonders of the world. We would be staying in simple, basic accommodation; eating local produce and home-cooked Peruvian food. All I wanted to do was relax, but that trip changed me in ways I didn’t expect.

Sure, the Peruvian Amazon is beautiful: but that wasn’t what was so unusual to me coming from Hong Kong. The unusual thing is the Amazon environment itself: you can feel the magic of nature. There were flowers, plants, trees, butterflies, fish and birds everywhere. Seeing these animals truly in the wild, I felt the power and energy of life.

Wing Shya Amazon forest

I always thought the meaning of life was to work hard and make money. But after this Amazon trip, I think differently. Without sounding too cheesy, I have seen the power of the universe.

I’m a photographer by trade. This Amazon trip taught me to enjoy the process of photography, to enjoy working with my colleagues rather than just worrying about the end result. I didn’t expect to feel any differently after travelling there. I changed unexpectedly, which was a nice surprise.

Wing Shya’s 25-year retrospective exhibition, Acting Out, is at the Shanghai Center of Photography until 10 January.


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