10 Minutes with…Derry Ainsworth, Photographer


An interview with Derry Ainsworth, Photographer & Videographer

Name: Derry Ainsworth | Occupation: Photographer | Location: Hong Kong | Known for: Portraits, Food Photography, Interior Photography, Drone


Hong Kong is home to an abundance of creative talent, spanning across different career paths from photographers to writers. This week, we got up and personal with Derry Ainsworth, a photographer and videographer based in Hong Kong.

Image courtesy of Derry Ainsworth


A Little Background…


Derry Ainsworth wasn’t always on the path for photography. The 29-year-old from Bournemouth, U.K. graduated with a degree in Architecture before booking a one-way flight to Asia to discover new cultures and passions. Taken aback by the uniqueness of cities in the incredibly diverse continent, he eventually arrived in Hong Kong, equipped with a camera to capture such exquisiteness. He fell in love with the city, and was destined to stay, applying and obtaining a job in architecture with his vast background, yet couldn’t help but continue his passion in learning photography and putting it to the test. After months of practice and perfecting the rules of thumb in photography, Derry developed his own style and unique density in discovering new perspectives between concrete and jungle, as influenced by his expertise in architecture. One day—like many creatives aspire for, essentially a day when it happens to click—Derry quit his 9 to 5 job to pursue his career in photography. His self-taught practices have lead him to now photograph everything in the city, from cityscapes to portraits, food to interiors, drone work to videography

Image courtesy of Derry Ainsworth


Derry has been a photographer for 5 years now, and continues to be based in Hong Kong. He has worked with a variety of brands in events and projects across the world, shooting over 1000 events in his career so far.


The Questions


1) Could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography?


In 2014 I went travelling to Asia with a camera, I eventually ended up deciding to settle in Hong Kong where I found a job in architecture. During my two years there I practiced taking photos at the weekends and in the evenings until eventually, I quit my job to pursue photography full time. I’ve always been drawn to buildings, skyscrapers and cityscapes in my photos because of my architectural studies and my job.


2) What are your thoughts on Instagram?


Instagram is a great platform to share your art. it’s also been a good way to discover and meet fellow photographers and connect with people.


3) How many cameras have you tried before finding the perfect one?


I started using a Canon 550D—I took that one travelling, then moved on to a Canon 7D mk ii and eventually switched to a Sony a7riii—my current camera. I love the Sony for its versatility with both photos and videos.


4) What’s your proudest piece of work? Why?


This has always been one of my favourite photos that I took in Vietnam – ‘Bright Ideas’ https://www.instagram.com/p/BqwpEClBcG5/?igshid=1l46uid29jwaw I walked past this last a few times and loved the way the lights around her seemed to frame her. The lights are also a good contrast of mood to her fed up expression. I love capturing scenes like this whilst travelling.


5) Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get my inspiration mostly from music rather than anything visual. It helps me come up with ideas and gets me in the mood to shoot.

Image courtesy of Derry Ainsworth


6) What’s your favourite thing to photograph?


I love to photograph cityscapes, but also monkeys. I’ve got a whole monkey portrait portfolio from my travels: https://www.derryography.com/monkeys


7) What brought you to Hong Kong?


How I ended up in Hong Kong is a pretty long story, but to summarise I booked a one-way flight to Asia with an idea that maybe I could land a job in architecture at some point. When eventually I got to Hong Kong after visiting some other places, I fell in love with the place. The mix of city and nature, the mix of different people and cultures, the contrast of the raw streets and modern skyline. I felt like it had a lot to offer—so I stayed, and the past 6 years have flown by!


8) Photographers you look up to?


I absolutely love the work of Fan Ho. There are few people today that can capture images like he could. The compositions, the play of light and dark and the scenes he captured of old Hong Kong are incredible.


9) What is it you want to capture and achieve in your photographs?


With my work, I never want to be boxed in with one particular style. I like to practice a mix of different styles. I take photos for both work and leisure so it’s important for me to try different things to keep the love for shooting going. With some of my work I try to capture a mood, sometimes it’s more about capturing a specific, special moment and sometimes I like to try and capture new and unique perspectives of places that maybe people haven’t seen before.


10) What’s next or what would you like to explore next in photography?


My goal is to keep exploring and travelling new places with my camera, for me I love getting lost and using photography as a tool to discover new places and experiences.