Yintong Betser

My favourite photo, by Yintong Betser, Co-founder of GSPA and MD of ACTIVE Anglo Chinese Communications: People are fascinated by photography, sometimes by the story of the image, and other times, an image can serve as a stimulus for our imaginations to fly. My story certainly belongs to the latter category. 

Last year was an important year; my husband turned a big number, and I started to study photography seriously. As a gift, I wanted to give him something memorable and unusual, so I spoke to my friend, also my photography guru, Gemma Barnett, the sales director of the Photographers’ Gallery in London and GSPA judge. From a few recommendations, I set my eyes on images by the Finish photographer Pentti Sammallahti. Not only did I love the clean and simple compositions, I also admired his fastidious and skilful approach with his darkroom technique, which I learnt about through Gemma. I ended up contemplating which of the two images was my favourite - Przevorsk, Puola, Poland, 2005 or Delhi, India, 1999.

I decided on the Przevorsk, Puola, Poland, 2005. Studying the photograph closely, I noticed that there are five telephone lines in the picture, just like the music staves, on which the birds are like the notes perched there. With this discovery and its music connection, I made up my mind: my husband is a big fan of classical music, he can tell many symphonies just after hearing a few initial notes. But, unfortunately, he is also a frustrated singer, always gets silenced for his off-key bursts. Poor man, I thought I would tease him by giving him this photograph on his big birthday: many birds in this picture are perching beautifully on the staves, and yet, others are mysteriously dropping off the lines, just like his off key notes. Happy Birthday Rupert.

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