Andrés Lin grew up the son of Taiwanese immigrant parents in Costa Rica. 12 years ago, he moved to Hamburg to study and fell in love with the Hansestadt — and the architecture of Wilhelmsburg.
His Instagram channel @anlish reflects Andrés’s love for Hamburg — there is hardly a spot in the city that he hasn’t roamed yet. The 31 year old takes pictures mainly with his smartphone. He has a thing for the architecture of Wilhelmsburg in particular — like the unique buildings that came into being during the International Building Exhibition (IBA).
Andrés, why did you decide to live in Hamburg?
When the University of Hamburg accepted me, I did not know a lot about the city, except that it is in the north of Germany, and that the Beatles became famous around here. By now, Hamburg has turned into my new home. I have learned to love the grey foggy days and to enjoy every sunny minute out by the rivers Alster and Elbe or in the park. I think Hamburg offers all the possibilities of an open-minded metropolis without being too confusing or oppressive. Especially if you live far away from your childhood friends and your relatives, good friends are very important to get a footing in a new city. I was lucky enough to have a cool international entourage in Hamburg. They are like a second family for me and form a strong bond with the city.
You take pictures mainly with your phone. What are the advantages and disadvantages?
You always have your phone with you so you can spontaneously capture the moment — without having to get out your lens and your tripod. Having your pictures ready on the spot is practical, too. And you can edit them, share them or simply upload them. An obvious disadvantage is that people and objects that are further away can’t be photographed so well because there is no optical zoom. It is also hard to take high quality pictures when the lighting is bad.
To me, composition, light, and perspective are essential for a good photo. I try to capture my subjects from different angles and positions in order to be able to pick the best photo. With moving images, for instance if someone jumps or if a seagull flies by, I like to shoot sequences and choose afterwards. The light is especially beautiful when the sun is low and the shadows are long. This creates a new layer in the image.
Are there any international Instagrammers who inspire you?
Obviously, there are a lot of great accounts on Instagram. Many of them take their pictures, like me, mainly with their phones. For example, Dev from India @devdxb and Dmitry @dimikangaroo from Moscow, who take brillant pics with their phones, are very inspiring. Or when pictures impress in spite — or precisely because of — their simplicity, as in the case of George @george__franklin from Rome or Aki @akisato from Japan.
Andrés, thanks for the talk and ahoi!