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 take an interview with Qi Wei and we wish you 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 the period when film SLRs were at the verge of being replaced by digital SLRs. 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 made the jump into photography because I had no space for a darkroom, and I 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?
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 a lot of books on photography – although now I am reading more on art in general, as I do not wish to just 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. But my philosophy in digital photographic imaging is to create art that has in it qualities which are 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 will be lovely to do so). The series was made possible because my art was digitised and I was able to 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”.
AP: How did you come up with idea about Exploded flowers?
FQW: Exploded Flowers was inspired partially by Todd McLellan’s Disassembly series where he takes apart retro machines. I got thinking about how I can create an organic version of that – and the ordered world of flowers was just a perfect fit for this concept. The main idea in this series is to show people that there is always a new, fresh way of viewing things which 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. Post processing is done 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 🙂 More details here.
AP: Would you consider yourself as an expert in photography?
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” at the moment – since I do 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 regards 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 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 are sometimes the inspiration for 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 something to your readers and AstrumPeople?
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, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap.”- and he goes on to say how we all can address the gap. You may watch it here. This is highly recommended.
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