Qi Wei Fong Photography: “Exploded Flowers” or Conceptual Imaging in Practice

Exploded Flowers


Qi Wei Fong is in his early thirties, living in Singapore and working there (but not full-time as a photographer or artist). He created a very unique series of photos and called it “Exploded Flowers”. Qi Wei told us that flowers were indeed one of the most beautiful and complex structures found in nature, specifically designed to achieve the purpose of reproduction. Each line of the flowers is smartly accentuated, and there is a feeling of freshness in these works. We were pleased to have an interview with Qi Wei, and we hope you have a pleasant reading.

AP: Qi Wei, tell us your first photos. What did they look like?

FQW: Hmm. I think I did not do so well in art class when I was much younger. My secondary school teacher obviously did not think too much of my technique or art. But that was beside the point. I fell into photography at an interesting time – about 2002-2003. This was when film SLRs were on the verge of being replaced by digital ones. I went into photography as a hobby to balance my life as I was extremely busy with work during that time. My first photographs were… pretty terrible, actually. I was still grappling simultaneously with understanding exposure, composition, etc., at the same time. I eventually jumped into photography because I had no space for a darkroom and didn’t want someone else to process my images for me!

AP: Do you have any formal education in photography, or were you self-taught?

Qi Wei Photography


FQW: I am entirely self-taught as far as photography is concerned. I have never even gone for the introduction courses, which are so popular nowadays. But I read many books on photography – although now I am reading more on art in general, as I do not wish to duplicate famous photographs or techniques of famous photographers.

I think the Internet has been a boon to me – because there is much valuable information to be gleaned (although there is a lot of chaff to sort through). But I believe that the Internet is good as a directive tool – to point me in the direction I want to go, and I still find actual books on art and photography to be much more efficient for learning.

AP: What genre are your works?

FQW: I don’t think I have any genre in particular. However, my philosophy in digital photographic imaging is to create art with qualities made possible by the digital revolution. For example, in my exploded flowers series – this was created just in my living room. I do not have a professional studio with preset lighting (although it would be lovely to do so). The series was made possible because my art was digitized, and I could process it in Adobe Photoshop to achieve the look I wanted. I suppose if you were to force me to name a genre… I can only say conceptual imaging – because I frequently start with an idea I have in mind and try to work towards it. In this sense, I am not usually the photographer who captures the famous “decisive moment.”

Exploded Flowers

Peruvian Lily

AP: How did you come up with the idea about Exploded flowers?

FQW: Exploded Flowers was inspired partially by Todd McLellan’s Disassembly series, where he takes apart retro machines. I thought about how to create an organic version of that – and the ordered world of flowers was just a perfect fit for this concept.  The main idea of this series is to show people that there is always a new, fresh way of viewing things that we are so familiar with and that there is so much more that is hidden from plain view.

AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to create your photos?

FQW: I currently use a Leica M9 and  50/90 mm lenses. Of course, I have to use a tripod for stability. I post-process in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

AP: What is the most grandiose project you had to work on?

FQW: I am working on a project where I am looking to remix traditional art, but we will see where this particular project leads me 🙂

AP: Would you consider yourself as an expert in photography?

Qi Wei Photography

Red Rose

FQW: The term professional photographer applies to people who make a living from photography. I have the utmost respect for such people and thus cannot call myself an “expert” or “professional” now- since I have a day job. However, I do have confidence in my technique and vision, which I have, well, for want of a better term – cultivated over about 9 years or so. And I think that the terms “amateur” and “professional” should only be applied with regard to making a living. Both groups will have great artists and average ones. I merely hope to be a good artist – and if I can make a living purely from art, so much the better.

AP: What is the formula for success in your activity?

FQW: I think the only formula is to keep working at it. To keep creating – good work, bad work, just keep at it. Because I believe that without creating some lousy work, you will never learn what it is well.

AP: Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?

FQW: My family – my wife and my kids. They are great to be around and sometimes inspire my work. My wife and children often give different viewpoints, which I explore and sometimes end up with a series.

AP: Would you like to wish your readers and AstrumPeople something?

FQW: I think the best advice regarding creating I have ever heard is from Ira Glass of This American Life. He says, “All of us who do creative work get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap.” He says how we all can address the gap. You may watch it here. This is highly recommended.

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