Source : The Star
TO EVAN YH-Hwong, photography is a form of expression, a form of art and enables him to indulge in his passion for showing the world what he sees through the lens.
“I’m combining my passion for photography with what I learnt in university and translating what I observe into art,” said the 29-year-old who is better known as Evan Hwong.
He picked up photography to deal with the stress of studying for his Business Psychology degree at Leeds Metropolitan University, and has been shooting professionally since 1997.
Hwong is a documentary photojournalist for several stock photo agencies around South-East Asia and is presently DeviantART.com’s Photojournalism Gallery director.
He favours film (over digital), as he prefers the texture and tonality that films create.
He switches between black-and-white and colour mode, depending on the impact he wants to create, though he has an affinity for the black-and-white mode in vertical format as “the focus is on the details and tells the message directly”.
Hwong’s “weapons” would primarily be the Canon EOS 300 and Canon EOS 500N for colour and black-and-white films respectively.
He also owns a couple of digital SLR cameras that he uses when the occasion calls for it.
The Sarawak-born lad has been travelling on his own to various places in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia since he was 15.
“I enjoy seeing and experiencing different cultures. It gives me a fresh perspective of things,” said Hwong.
“I love to walk because that’s when I get to see so much more. It offers an opportunity to see what goes on in the back lanes or hidden areas that people don’t normally see.”
His recent collection of work is themed Hidden Valley, which he said represented the nitty-gritty sides of the Klang Valley that people tend not to notice or chose not to.
Most of the photos were taken within the KL vicinity in areas like Petaling Street and Masjid India.
These photos, like most of his work, require more than just a mere glance as one ponders on the messages that each conveys.
It helps that Hwong gives them interesting titles that create additional food for thought.
“The titles could be a parody or reflective of the photo. But I don’t give away too much because I want the viewers to create the story based on what they see.”
According to him, a documentary photojournalist needs to be able to blend in with his surroundings; interact well with people; have a quick, judgmental mind to anticipate what happens next and artistic skill.
“Your photographs must always tell a story. It’s important, and it takes years to develop this ability.
“You must immediately know which type of shot you want. It takes a lot of practice to photograph in a sniper sharp-shooter style.
“All it takes is three seconds to get the right composition; you aim, focus and shoot to capture the shot.
“For your own safety, you need to know your own surroundings including escape routes, and locations of the nearest taxi stand, police station and hospital,” stressed Hwong.
He cited an example when he had to dash for the nearest taxi after capturing the shot entitled Buffet Lines, as his action had been noticed by the syndicate members operating the pirated disc business.
To view his work, visit estudio.deviantart.com/gallery.