The MISSBISH Photography Workshop | Tracy Wong

Photographer: Tracy Wong

Instagram: @tracywongphoto

Location: I'm based in Hong Kong, though I made my start in photography in the San Francisco Bay Area. Hong Kong is such an easy place to get around, which makes it perfect for me to explore and get inspired.

Style: I'm drawn to geometry and symmetry, and it really drives the way I compose my photos. Maybe it's attributed to my obsessive personality, wanting things to be straight and balanced in some sense. I love shooting people; it's a great process to turn a stranger into a friend.

Equipment: My main camera is Canon 5D Mark III, and my favorite lens is the 50mm f/1.2L – the results are so sharp and so soft at the same time. When I don't feel like lugging 2kg of gear around, I use my OnePlus 2 phone or the 'toy' film camera Holga. For post-editing, I use Lightroom and Photoshop, or Snapseed and VSCOcam for mobile snaps.

How did you get into photography? Tell us about your first experience.
I got my first manual film camera (also a Canon) back in high school, when I signed up for the darkroom photography class. As a transfer, I couldn't enroll in the class officially, but I kept on dropping into class and submitting my work. I loved the mystery from each roll of film and the smells of the darkroom.

Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable photos you’ve shot.
It was a photograph I took soon after I moved back to Hong Kong a couple years ago. A man was crossing a busy street, but only he was lit in the strong sunlight. I love how his silhouette stood out so much in the light, and the photo seemed to suit how I was feeling at the time: a lone person in a packed city.

Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
Don't be afraid of missing the right moment. Once you've shot enough, you'll learn when to bring up your camera, rather than just shooting nonstop. Having 1 great shot is better than having 100 mediocre ones.

What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
Through Instagram I've met a lot of talented photographers. I find inspiration there every day, from seeing amazing work all over the world, and from going out on walks/meets with people I've met through the platform.

Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
When I wanted to become a professional photographer, I was the assistant to fine art photographer Nancy Rothstein. Through working with her, I learned not only the technical aspects of creating great images but also how to conduct myself on a shoot. One big thing I learned is don't panic, even when things break on a major moment.

“Don't be afraid of missing the right moment. Once you've shot enough, you'll learn when to bring up your camera, rather than just shooting nonstop. Having one great shot is better than having 100 mediocre ones."

Tell us three photography tips.
1. Seek for light. Light (and lack thereof) defines each photo. Find the right light before you compose your photograph.

2. Forget about gear. You can have the most expensive camera but still take the crappiest photos. Define your own style, and don't let your gear list define you.

3. Stop and look. In this digital age when the cost of a frame is close to nothing, people tend to shoot before they think.

Finish the sentence...
If I weren’t afraid I would... live in a new country every year.

I wouldn't be where I am today if... it weren't for all the people I've met along the way.

I've been listening to... my new vinyls purchased on a recent trip.

Kids these days... surprise me with their resourcefulness.

I look and feel my best when... I'm out of a shower.

When no one is looking I... sit with my feet up on the chair.

Traveling... is therapy.

I respect... your personal bubble.

Tag a friend to feature and ask them a question.
Justin Lim, @hurtingbombz. How the heck do you get to photograph so many cool people?

Justin answered: I like to get to know people and their quirks before I shoot them. Sometimes that means starting with a coffee or wine at the studio. I tend not to insist on shooting someone when I've just met or corresponded with them - I like to let a collaboration simmer and stew for a while! If that means I get to meet more cool people, and stay friends with them - well that's ideal.


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