Spotlight: Wesley Thomas Wong, China
In our Spotlight feature, we ask our members some questions to learn more about what inspires their photography, the processes they use to make images, and the stories behind their favorite pictures.
Q: What’s the story behind your favorite photo in your Your Shot gallery?
A: I was visiting my wife’s hometown of Harbin, China, for the first time three years ago. Up to that point I had never heard of Harbin, much less anything about the Ice Festivals they hold there every year. While out on one of my photo strolls I spotted this construction worker setting poles at one of the festival sites, and made this shot. I photograph a lot of things that are just everyday life stuff for most Chinese people. Most of the time they don’t understand why I would want to take a photo of something like this. Such was the case with my wife … until she saw the photo that night on my computer screen.
Q: What do you like to take pictures of and why?
A: Anything that moves me, and that’s a lot of things. Beautiful things, interesting things, funny things. I always try to incorporate people because it always makes for a more interesting photo. It’s also a lot harder to do and is a bigger challenge for me as a photographer. Just because I live in a certain place or go to a certain place doesn’t automatically make it easier for me to make great photos. If you look at my pictures, you will notice that most of the scenes you see could have been taken just about anywhere. I live in the same world as everyone else does. I just happen to notice things differently.
Q: What was the first photo you took? Or the first photo you took that was meaningful to you?
A: It’s a very simple photo I took one morning while on the way to school of a green garden hose on some red steps. During this time I was using slide film so I had to wait for almost a week before I got the photos processed and returned to me from Kodak. I remember showing the image for the first time on a big screen for my instructor William Garnett. The whole class and instructor just let out a huge ahhh, and it was like, Oh my God, I did that? Up until that point, I had never realized the power of my own photography to be able to move people. To this day that’s what I’m always still looking for when I make photos … that ahhh factor.
Q: Have you been inspired by any photographers in the Your Shot community?
A: I know this sounds clichéd, but every photographer who posts a photo on Your Shot inspires me and for a number of reasons. First, regardless of who you are, it takes a lot of guts to post your photos for everyone to see and then be “rated” on the basis of “likes” or “dislikes.” I think it’s important for people to understand that having a lot of likes is not necessarily a reflection of the quality of the image. I see and get new ideas about how to take photos all the time from all kinds of people on the site. Not just the Daily Dozen winners. I like looking at the photos of people who have no likes or comments, and try to find something interesting in their work, because if I can do that on the site, then I will be able to do that when I’m taking photos as well.
See more of Wesley’s images in his Your Shot gallery.