If you’ve been a part of the Tweetspeak community for long, you’ve likely seen some of the beautiful photographs of Pai-Shih Lee, an amateur photographer who lives in Taiwan. The Tweetspeak team first discovered Pai-Shih through his breath-taking images on Flickr. Eventually we reached out directly to learn more about the man behind the camera.
Pai-Shih began his photography hobby in high school with a Nikon F3 traditional film SLR, which was a birthday gift from his father. Over the years, he has developed a special interest in nature, landscape, macro, and abstract photography.
“I prefer to keep my photo style simple and minimalist, ” Pai-Shih said in an interview. “I offer my works to NGOs for free, and very often my photos are used by the Tzu Chi Foundation in Taiwan.”
If he could, Pai-Shih would travel the world to take photos, and particularly would like to go to Paris. But since he hasn’t had many opportunities to travel, he also enjoys taking photos right in his home city of Taipei or throughout Taiwan. Some of his favorite locations include WuLing Farm in TaiChung or KengTing National Park in PingTong. He also has a goal for where his photos themselves will go one day: “I would be happy enough if my photos could be on book covers, ” he said. And thanks to a purchase by T.S. Poetry Press, that goal is beginning to come true as his photo of a yellow flower is featured on the cover of our most recent title, The Joy of Poetry.
When he isn’t behind the camera, Pai-Shih spends most of his time working as a program director of a software development team at IBM. He also enjoys the work of Chinese poet Li Bai from the Tang Dynasty.
Below are two poems by Li Bai (also known as Li Po), illustrated with photos by Pai-Shih.
Quiet Night Thought
Moon twilight approaches, coating the ground through the window,
Resembles a touch of frost,
Moon at the window,
Taking me back to where I am from.
— Li Bai
A Farewell to a Friend
With a blue line of mountains north of the wall,
And east of the city a white curve of water,
Here you must leave me and drift away
Like a loosened water-plant hundreds of miles….
I shall think of you in a floating cloud;
So in the sunset think of me.
…We wave our hands to say good-bye,
And my horse is neighing again and again.
— Li Bai
Megan Willome’s The Joy of Poetry—part memoir, part poetry reflections, part anthology—takes readers on a journey to discovering poetry’s purpose, which is, delightfully, nothing. “Why poetry?” Willome asks. “You might as well ask, why chocolate?” Poetry reflects nothing more and nothing less than the pure joy of living, loving, and being, in all of its confusion and wonder. Willome’s book will gently guide you to read, write, and be a little more human through language’s mystery and joy.
—Tania Runyan, author of How to Read a Poem: Based on the Billy Collins Poem “Introduction to Poetry”