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Library of Inspiration

Morphism

Li Shen explores morphism, the seamless mapping of one object into another whilst preserving its structure.

Li Shen unconventionally stumbled into the world of photography through his work in Biophysics. It was last October when he bought his first DSLR to liven up a report on bubbles, and that was the moment when his appetite for photography really flourished. Living amidst the concrete jungle that is London, his eyes wandered away from the chaos to abstract angles in surrounding architecture, and a passion was born.

Working with the fundamental physics of bubbles, his subject matter changed quickly, “Boy... did I get sidetracked headfirst into photography! Not only did I find out I really enjoy taking the abstract angle in architecture, I’m also starting to find unexpectedly extraordinary insights for my research into foams using nothing but a D3300, a kit-lens and a metric ton of zoom.“

Since then, he has acquired the AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED for ultra-wide shots of architecture, and the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18 - 55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II to continue his adventures on the surface of a soap bubble. He has since learned that each lens comes with a kaleidoscope of attitude and surprises, but most of all, he is overcome by the overwhelming joy when it allows him to capture precisely what he wanted.

The challenge he sets himself is one that many photographers face. When taking a picture of well-known architecture, he finds himself in a constant chase for originality simply because the building itself does not change and there is probably a high saturation of images that already exists of it.  “Unlike other genres of photography, the magic of architecture relies on the supreme control of the random events and the elements around us. An ordinary subway tunnel can seem extraordinary in the presence of a random passer-by, similarly an odd looking building can be turned incredible if coupled with a fortunate placement of lightning.”

Li compares his process of photography much like his process of reading. He compares it to the moment he sees a potentially interesting article - he zooms in immediately on any obscure facts before returning to the very top to begin reading chronologically. Similarly, when he walks up a staircase, his eyes are not immediately drawn to its spiral shape, but instead how its particular shape can be manipulated into something else entirely. He demonstrates this with his image of the Andaz Hotel on Liverpool Street where he uncovered a cleverly hidden smiley face.

His favorite image is “Eye of the Storm”, the staircase itself is one of the most photographed objects in London and so it makes for a real challenge to get a truly original take from it. In his version, he takes an intricately delicate subject and is able to transform it into something with a heavy mood and human-like characteristics.

“Consequently, I like to make connections between two completely unconnected ideas through the lens. Hence, for me, there is no greater joy than bending a piece of architecture, perhaps not literally, into something which looks a lot more like a scene from a science fiction movie. More abstractly, this idea of morphism, the seamless mapping of one object into another whilst preserving its structure, is one that I really hope to recreate in my images.”

ABOUT LI SHEN

Li is a 23-year-old bio-physicist doing a PhD at Imperial College London on the fundamental physics of bubbles. When he tears himself away from chasing bubbles, he illustrates science fiction related graphics and composes the odd improvised tune on the violin, all inspired by things he hears around him.

Most recently, he is tuned into photography, exploring the concrete urban jungles by picking out abstract angles of architecture.

About the gear

The D3300 makes it fun and easy to preserve those moments in the lifelike beauty they deserve: stunning 24.2-megapixel photos and 1080p Full HD videos with tack-sharp details, vibrant colors and softly blurred backgrounds. Whether you're creating high-resolution panoramas, adding artistic special effects or recording HD video with sound, the D3300 will bring you endless joy, excitement and memories - just like the special moments of your life.

Explore the extremes of photography and video with the ultra-wide-angle coverage of this practical DX-format zoom lens. With the widest end of 10mm covering a 109° angle of view, the AF-S DX NIKKOR 10–24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED delivers dramatic perspectives for a creative edge. Close-up shooting capability, minimal distortion and compact design make it a versatile photo and video partner, no matter where you choose to take it.