"I had once been living near Lilau Square for nearly twenty years and yet never been to the square before," Antonio Leong shared about his way in the old days. Even though scenery was only one step away, he just let the chance slip. Since he fell in love with photography, however, he slowed down to observe and admire the beauty of life, then raising his camera to capture every touching moment. Throughout his pursuit of light and shadow, he came to see Macau in a new light. "Macau is so beautiful indeed," he commented.
Looking back into the old days, Leong took pictures with his camera mostly and merely on vacation like many others. It was in others' recognition for his works that he found his determination to be an amateur photographer. In 2010, he went to Guilin for photo taking with a group of photographers. Throughout the trip, he seized the opportunity to learn from other photographers and took a few nice photos, which he uploaded online and won his friends' praises. That was the moment when he grew confidence in his own potential and embarked on the journey of photography.
As a civil servant, Leong takes photos as a hobby. Having been an amateur photographer for four years only, he can well capture the beauty of Macau. He shares his photos on his Facebook page "Antonius Photoscript" where his works won many locals' applause. Today his page has over 4,000 fans.
His swift improvement in photographic skills is attributed solely to his painstaking efforts and serious attitude. He almost takes pictures every day except when work is too busy for him. Roaming the streets and lanes, he keeps taking pictures to practice his skills before and after work, during lunchtime and holiday. His persistent efforts and passion helps him become an advanced photographer today. In the past he had to compose a picture through lenses but now he can do it through his eyes. "I am always observing and composing pictures when I am walking," he said. "Pictures have already formed in my mind before I take the shot. It only takes a click of the shutter to capture the moment."
Leong also devotes much thought to the later-phase production and tries on different effects to reach perfection, e.g. turning the background color into surrealistic hues, imitating film-developing effects, etc. Every year he takes more than ten thousand photos and even over a hundred per day. They are more than just a series of quick simple shots but thoughtful, artistic and meaningful works. "Photography is a hobby, habit and a part of life. It's a kind of happiness that won't make you feel tired," he said.
Because of his passion in photography, Leong has also become very familiar with the scenery in Macau. He loves getting lost amid those streets and alleys with his camera under sunshine. "With a renewed mindset and perspective, you will realize that things you have grown accustomed to in daily life can actually be beautiful," he expressed.
Leong's passion in photography not only drives him to produce wonderful works but also leads him to eye-opening opportunities. Last year Macau Government Tourist Office invited Leong to showcase his works in a photo exhibition in Korea to help promote Macau. He is very glad that not only his works are recognized but he can also go out into the world as a promotion ambassador for Macau. Looking into the future, he endeavors to improve his photographic skills, wishing that international magazines will choose to feature his works one day. He aspires to organize his own photography exhibition in Macau as well and promote the destination through his photos.
Leong encourages amateurs of photography to stroll around Macau more often, to observe the world and every small thing in it attentively. "Macau will look more beautiful in your eyes if you take a walk instead of riding a transportation vehicle in the city," he remarked. He also recommends people to take portraits of local livelihood around the old districts of Macau.