Q&A: Sam Wong

06.07.15

Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? Walking helps me think and I aim to get out of the house at some point each day and capture things I notice in public and private spaces. I collect pictures, notes and ideas and have been doing this most days for the past four years. I am not a writer and sometimes I wish I was, so I interpret things visually and pile them together into some kind of daily documentation that helps me understand the world better as each day goes by. What will baffle future generations about our day and age. Social Media. I think all kinds of information have become so easy to access due to the Internet in our generation. It is now harder to distinguish what is true or what is false. We can easily be deceived by a single post or article. It could sometimes trap our emotion and restrain us to find what we truly value, what we see or read might not be what we think it would be in reality. I think it is important to have real conversations, travel and see things for yourself, before laying your perspective on things. However a suitable amount of social media to follow doesn’t hurt and can be inspiring. Are you aware of any conspiracies? Undercover tram inspectors carrying Eftpos machine hanging out of their belts. Is that a conspiracy? It’s fucked up either way. What is it that interests you about photography? It takes me to great places that I would not otherwise have been able to discover. It gives me a purpose to do something different every day, every week and every year. What is the worst thing about city life? Traffic. What part of the planet would you like to explore? Not entirely sure, I would like to live in different cities for three months each year for as long as I can.

What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? Captain America. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? Not sure. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Chemistry. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? When I first moved to Australia and lived in a board school. There would have been some very personal moments that I wish I took pictures of or made a series about but I hadn’t discovered my camera yet. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Drive a van and go on a road trip with Ryan McGinley. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. There are too many and I couldn’t choose a most important one. But I would say some of Martha Cooper’s early work in her books “The Hip Hop Files” and “Street Play”, also Henri Cartier Bresson’s ‘Derrière la gare Saint-Lazare’, Paris, France, 1932. These two photographers heavily influenced me when I first started taking pictures. How often do you take other people’s advice? Not often, but when I do I subconsciously think about what they have said. It’s consuming sometimes because you can’t break out of it and it may have an effect on my own thoughts. Describe a personal hell. No daylight, No Coffee. On what occasion do you lie? When the guy you try to photograph on the street tells you off, you tell him I am photographing the background you are standing in from of it. What was the last crime you witnessed? Girls escaping prison in ‘Orange is the new black.’

What is the best way to educate yourself? Put yourself in other people’s situation. What is the next book you want to read? Chloe Sevigny by Chloe Sevigny. Ultimate camera? Pretty happy with my Leica M6, I don’t mind a Contax T3 on the side. Most used camera? LEICA M6. What object do you want? A good daylight studio next to a giant window on the third floor of a city building.
 What object do you need? Camera of some kind as always. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? It is a drug, before you know it your relying on it. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? Yes, I have been using that chin up bar at home. Describe a cheap thrill. Sitting in a café at the table where there’s a giant window and you can look out to what’s happening on the street. Pick a historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. I don’t have a moment but if I could pick a period would be NEW YORK in the 80s and 90s. Are impulses more important than consequences? Definitely, but depends on what’s the situation, I often just follow my instinct. Which talent would you most like to have? Would love to make music one day and have it along side with my pictures. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? Planning for my next trip to Europe in August.

Sam Wong – Website / Tumblr / Instagram.