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#66 Taking Pictures

Posted April 25th, 2008 by everydayasian · 33 Comments


How many Asians do you see in American media? On TV, magazines, and newspapers, images of asian people are rare (unless they are advertising cell phones or other electronics). For that reason, Asians have figured out how to be noticed: Do it themselves. This is why Asians absolutely love taking photos, especially of themselves. When Asians go on vacation, they will go to all the usual tourist stops, but will take 4 times longer than the average person to get through their site-seeing. This involves stopping in front of pretty much anything with a description or inscription and taking about a dozen photos every time the scene changes.

The act of self photography is in part a survival mechanism. Asians are, for the most part, quiet and unobtrusive (unless they are shouting into a phone or yelling at their children). Without self-documentation, Asians risk disappearing altogether. They will hover quietly through life, filling up ivy league colleges and grabbing all of the engineering, medical, or entrepreneurial jobs. Thanks to cameras,though, they can tell the world that they do in fact exist. And it works. The photos Asians take of themselves and each other are all over the internet, appearing on television much more than other ethnic pictures. This does not, however, mean that they are always good. For example, Asians appearing on a picture for a “support the children” foundation wouldn’t quite be trying to get personal attention. This won’t stop asians from dressing their children up in tattered clothing so that telemarketted masses can send their money to them because never the type to uni-task, Asians will enjoy promoting world peace and self-image at the same time.

Asians like to purchase cameras because they sound fancy. Try being successful if you don’t have the latest gadgets and gizmos. This is demonstrated when Asians meet their friends. “Did you see the new Nikon Model!?” “Yea.. I did..” “WOW, You can take like 20 pictures rapid burst on it!” “Yea..” Asians like to play along even when they do not in fact own the piece of technology they have. It’s the self-image and first impression that makes all the difference to Asians. Nonetheless, cameras share much more than “place of manufacture” with asians.

A natural connection between Asians and self-photography is the camera itself. Nikon, Canon and Pentax are all camera manufacturing giants that sprung from Japan. Asian people love the chance to embrace something invented by themselves, especially if it means that the item will project a better image than that of a foreign competitor. This allows asians to have the utmost pride when referring to cameras. Without the innovations of asian countries, the digital image industry wouldn’t be as prosperous (if at all) as it is today, which also allows asians to take the pictures in any way that they wish. “There is no such thing as a tripod to asians, because the body is far superior a balancing point.” To achieve balance and symmetry within a photo, asians will do just about anything.

So now you’re probably asking: “How do I take pictures that asian way?” It’s quite elementary, my dear uninformed Watson:

1. Buy an Asian manufactured camera. Asians prefer cameras with fancy names and features like “SLR” or “3CCD.” It’s not how well an asian does something, it’s how well the object reflects their wealth.

2. Make peace signs with your fingers. Asians always throw out peace sign to direct attention to or away from them. As mentioned in the Peace Signs post, asians will use the V-shape to emphasize their smiles, shift the picture’s focus away, or bring the focus to them.

3. Use your body like a tripod. Remember that Asians do not use tripods. If a tripod is around, asians will still opt to use a pile of magazines, newspapers, or other literary material. When you bend your body to fit the exact shape, do not worry about what others think. It’s your dang camera. It’s your dang country’s product. And it’s, most importantly, it’s your story that you’re telling.

4. Take as long as you want. Asians don’t care that they’re probably missing their uncle’s wedding or funeral as long as they are taking pictures. Picture taking is a masterful job that requires the utmost patience.

So there you have it. You can be a great asian picture-taker if you follow the steps mentioned. Most importantly, have fun, because to Asians, picture taking is the equivalent of a heart-stopping roller coaster at Knott’s Berry Farm.

Written by everydayasian and Peter

Last 5 posts by everydayasian

Tags: Activities · Comedy · Culture · Customs · Environment · History · Hobbies · People

33 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Natalie // Apr 27, 2008 at 1:04 am

    something else.. a lot ofasian girls have bangs

  • 2 Crystal // May 10, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Haha that totally cracked me up.

    Your website is AWESOME… being Asian (Chinese) myself, I totally relate to the stereotypes! Keep up the awesome work (your writing = brilliant)

  • 3 Jay-Jay // Jun 21, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Wow, that was great.
    I actually liked reading that, and I found it true too.
    This was really good.

  • 4 Annie // Jul 1, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    The pose cracks me up…bent knees, one eye cringed up haha

  • 5 karen // Jul 27, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    it relly nice to know what it’s like in asia

  • 6 kim // Jul 29, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Yeah it cracks me up to, being filipino myself. =)

  • 7 Anonymous // Aug 20, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    you forgot…take every single picture twice!

  • 8 Mallow // Sep 22, 2008 at 2:08 am

    I wish I was Asian

  • 9 tommy // Nov 15, 2008 at 6:58 am

    This so fkn true!! I’m asian and i somehow feel irritated to see all my friends keep taking picture ridiculously too often

  • 10 Arc // Nov 17, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Don’t forget efficiency. The camera was invented before the artistic rennaissance got to far into Eastern culture. Makes up for the lack of good realist art. Stopped a lot of people from wasting their time too.

  • 11 Twinkie Beyond // Dec 17, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    They apparently love taking pictures of Asians taking pictures too. And posting of said pictures of picture-taking. Oh, and commenting about pictures. God damn it, I love pictures!

  • 12 girlie // Jan 20, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    The pictures are hilarious! they really cracked me up.

  • 13 girlie // Jan 20, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    i like to be a part of asian”


    i mean i want to be
    an asian people

  • 14 Regular Asian // Mar 14, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    That’s true. I don’t even know my mom does exist sometimes. She has to take pictures of herself to remind me. LOL.

  • 15 kvietgrl // Mar 15, 2009 at 10:29 am

    lol that’s really funny, regular asian

  • 16 reth // Apr 15, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    LOL great! I actually own a Canon SLR!! Yatta!!!!

  • 17 Lisa // Jun 23, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    They constantly take pictures of everything; one time i saw japanese man without camera-he was so pissed. take away a camera and you are in big trouble mister.

  • 18 Rachel Sheldon // Jul 1, 2009 at 9:29 am

    this is absolutely hilarious. I would love to use tidbits from this blog post on my blog. I’ll post a link too. Thanks for the belly laughs!

  • 19 Tina // Aug 6, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    My husband is Chinese and his mother can be very irritating with her camera. One time we were at a restaurant and she pushed her back side so close to the next table she might as well have joined them for dinner. She never says “excuse me” or ask someone else to take the photo because she takes photos better than anyone else. She would look at a post card and say she could have taken a better photo. She is also famous in the family for taking “just one more” of the same pose. I know we’ll appreciate the photos one day but until then she is mocked by the whole family for the photo taking.

  • 20 speedskill // Sep 24, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Nice article…didn’t go through completely though.
    Is that so? The stuff that you wrote. I don’t agree in totality, maybe your definition of Asians is personal.
    Yeah, I’m Indian, didn’t feel Asian reading through this 20-minutes-writing effort.

  • 21 sandy // Sep 27, 2009 at 1:01 am

    this post is so hilarious and true. The need to take multiples of shots wherever you are and of whatever you see, regardless of any existing time frames, permeates through all age groups.

    If it’s not the annoying uncle on the family holiday who insists on group shots at every freakin monument/hotspot/landmark,
    then it’s the outing with friends who do cutesy poses, or just even randomly taking shots of all the food before they get eaten…

    @speedskill – it’s funny/bizarre that some Indians I meet deny being “Asian” as they associate it with being Chinese/Jap/Korean (i don’t really know the term sorry), and that other Indians I meet call themselves Asian. hmmm.

    maybe Australian society is different? Here Indians do not call themselves “Asian” so much so.

  • 22 got-rice // Oct 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    LOL…dad owns like 3423432 cameras…and I own just two.

    Anyway, Asian Americans are also addicted to photography much like our FOB parents. Just look at how many of us are “photographers”.

  • 23 grace // Mar 17, 2010 at 10:19 am

    May be true on many points but…

    1) I’m pretty sure most Asians don’t make peace signs. V is for Victory – you know, the way that that hand sign was first used after WWII (think black and white photo of Churchill holding up two fingers). I think the peace sign is a more American convention.

    2) I beg to differ with the tripod observation. Sure, if you don’t happen to have a tripod on you, you’ll do bodily contortions to make sure you get the right shot. But all of my parents’ honeymoon photos were taken with a tripod – and this was 30 years ago.

    3) I don’t see why taking millions of photos has to be attributed in large part to an inferiority complex. Sure, we may collectively have low self esteem – but does that ever entirely explain anything we do? Especially now, we live in a highly digitized, information-sharing age. I don’t think we Asians are alone in being our own paparazzi.

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  • 26 ilovehorseyrides // Jun 9, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Asians like taking group photos and including their family in the foreground of the photos

  • 27 ilovehorseyrides // Aug 13, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    While at Universal Studios Hollywood my cousin, uncles, and aunts were mad at my mom and complained that she always stops me and my sister to take pictures of us LOL

  • 28 ilovehorseyrides // Sep 27, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Asians’ favorite things to take pictures of:

    family and friends
    group pics
    Bellagio Fountains
    their young children’s butts/private parts
    pyrotechnic light shows
    Ferris wheels

  • 29 ilovehorseyrides // Nov 27, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    At every family gathering, my aunt would take lots of pictures, (especially group pics)no matter what the occasion is!!! (including a gathering that I don’t know what it’s called, but it usually celebrates a person’s life, and the gathering is typically held around the anniversary of the day that the person passed away. Does anyone know what Asians refer to that day as?? Thanks!!!)

  • 30 ilovehorseyrides // Nov 27, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    @grace-yes they do

  • 31 ilovehorseyrides // Dec 5, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    Asians also like taking videos. At parties, they like to take videos of people cooking and eating food and relatives doing random stuff. Also on your birthday they like to interview the birthday person and interview them with stupid questions like “how old are you?”, “what’s today’s date”, etc…

  • 32 ilovehorseyrides // Dec 5, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Taking every picture twice or 3 times or even more…SO TRUE!!!!!

  • 33 j // Dec 25, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    haha this is so true… (i’m 100% chinese) we like taking pictures of everything… legit everything that probably won’t seem of much meaning to you, but it’s apparently cool to us.

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