Saturday, 20 May 2017

Wing Shya | An Influence

Photo © Wing Shya - All Rights Reserved
"Of course Wong Kar Wai yelled at me. Imagine some guy coming to photograph Leslie Cheung and everything comes out blurred. You'd wonder, what's this guy's attitude?"

Whilst thinking and working on one of my side projects (tentatively known as The Red Qi Pao), I sought the influence of Wong Kar-Wai's cinematography, especially in evidence in his seminal In The Mood For Love. Then discovered the photography of Wing Shya, known for his raw, smoky images from the golden era of Hong Kong cinema.

Reading various of Wing's interviews just a few days ago, I learned that he writes film scripts for his editorials, and that every photograph has a complete, fictional backstory. And this is what I started doing almost a year ago in my initial effort of that sort, and which I titled The Old China Cafe, and whose sequel will be The Red Qi Pao, currently a work in progress. 

I write about this very thing in a previous blog post, saying "My "chinoiserie" phase is not really about fashion and/or attractive models (although it's obviously nice to include them), but about a theme. The theme of "Shanghai-1940" is one that I seek to recreate through still photography and audio, and weave a narrative into stories...akin to short movies."

Wing Shya is a prolific contemporary artist best known for his award-winning film and photography. He studied at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Canada, and was appointed by film director Wong Kar-Wai to work exclusively as his photographer on several acclaimed films such as Happy Together, In the Mood for Love, Eros and 2046. 

It is out of these experiences that his photographs are imbued with so much  cinematographic styles. He used fashion photography as his primary style, and blurred the boundaries between still photography and movie making with his images appearing as captured stills from a film.

He is one of Asia's most iconic photographers, well known for his evocative images depicting tan erstwhile era of Hong Kong, and I look forward to further study his work. While my own project will not be restricted to a specific location (other than being a Chinatown and following my Chinoiserie phase), his work in fashion and Hong Kong will be of tremendous help.