Cheng has been shooting a lot of weddings in Melbourne Australia for the last yeart. He is still thrilled with sharing the moments of the
How did you get into professional photography?
My father was a watercolour painter. I could appreciate and often
commented on the aesthetics of his work but I never wanted to know
the creative mind behind it, actually I didn’t much care for his
work, despite it provided me a sound education and sponsored my
studies overseas. Our relationship was occasionally quite strained,
there were a couple of years where we never talked to each other.
My choices in life were heavily influenced by my mother, who was a
mathematics teacher in my high school. I went on to become a geek, a
web programmer, I built a restaurant review website.
Around the time that my father passed away in China, I was snapping
food photos for restaurants in Australia. One day I suddenly
discovered the dynamics within a food photo I had shot, it was
pounding my eyes screaming at me. A few months later, I enrolled
into the Photography Studies College in Melbourne to begin this
wonderful journey of self exploration and finally found the artistic
bone my father left in me.
I’ll forever regret for the rest of my life not truly understand my
father when he was alive. I immersed myself in photography trying to
talk to him, to think how he thinks, to pick up things he’d passed
down to me.
What do you enjoy most photographing?
The revelation of my subconscious mind.
How have the past months been for you?
I had less fear of pushing my boundaries and opened more doors for
creativity. I became more sensitive about my feelings, about things
around me and getting better bringing them out in my photos. In the
International Loupe Awards 2011, the first time I’d entered a
competition, I collected 6 open awards with 1 silver and 5 bronze in
categories across People & Portrait, Abstract / Illustrative,
Wedding also Commercial, Advertising & Fashion. and most importantly I just got married to the woman I love, opening a new chapter of my life. Its all been solid for what’s leading to the future.
Who inspires you?
Opera sopranos at the moment.
Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you
look up to?
Tom Ford. There’s something about his designs that resonate with my personal style.
What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
Being creative and venturous, I admire photographers who work
outside their comfort zone, not repeating theirs and others’ work.
Do you prefer using film cameras or digital?
I strongly believe photography is about ideas not technicalities. I
only shoot digital, I don’t have a history of picking up a camera at
very young age blah blah blah if you know what I mean. Even if I had
picked up a camera as a child and started shooting professionally
then, the work I did would’ve been vastly different from what I am
Photos are the reflection of photographer’s life experiences and
what made him who he is today. When times change, ideas change,
photographer’s perspectives about things change too. Digital does a
fine job in delivering my ideas, I don’t look for some “special
qualities” from film at the moment.
Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
Mostly locations. Finding the right environment for my subject is an
inseparable part of my image planning. The people in my photo are
often objectified to be part of larger story, along with their
interaction with the environment and interactions between each other to create dynamics for the image.
Tell me an interesting story about a particular photo shoot.
During a promo shoot for a musician, I had an idea of shooting over
train tracks. It was late in the night, we got over the fence, setup
the lighting, waited for the trains to come and started shooting.
Then here comes a train, slowly approaching, which almost came to a
halt as it was passing by. I was thinking “Gee, the driver must
think someone is trying to commit suicide”, not long after that a
bunch of officers who had been called to swoop in on the scene
arrived. It was a dark cold night, things got a little scary, they
took down our details and said we’d been reported for trespassing,
each facing a minimum $400 fine.
“What the hell” I was telling myself, “I’ve got the shot anyway!”
and you know what, we never heard from them since, I guess we got
away with it.
What is the specific style of photography that makes you
For me when spotting a scene, framing it and taking the shot, is a
process to create visual dynamics. I am more interested in the
relationship of subjects in the way of creating these dynamics, the
interaction between subjects makes your photo more interesting. The way they interact with each other, the way they interact with
viewers, the going on amongst them is story-telling yet emotionally
evoking, which really appeals to me.
Do you have a favourite photograph?
This is the image being awarded Silver at Loupe 2011. Two weeks
before the shoot, I got into a really bad car accident. Coming out
of my dented car, I was literally shaking and speechless. However,
having experienced such a emotional shock, deep down I knew it had
left a distinctive stamp on me, although I don’t know when it will
emerge in my photos, one day. The experience thus gives me
inspiration, putting together this photo with such raw yet
unsettling feelings. I felt lucky to have photography as both my
creative and emotional outlet, and thrilled to explore some new
photographic language in this image too.
Who is your favourite photographer?
Bruce Davidson. Through his photos, you admire not only how great
his mind is, but more importantly how big a person he is. The amount
of emotion he injects in his photos is soul reaching, often making
my heart quiver.
Is there anybody you would like to work with (either behind
or in front of the camera)?
I am really interested in the creative processes of Peter Lindbergh,
Jeff Ascough and David Bellemere. and I believe I would shoot Milla
Jovovich and Linda Evangelista really well.
What does fashion mean to you?
The forefront of visual innovations. The constant need for people to
re-invent themselves and push boundaries is enormous and yet so
How would you define your personal style?
Intensity with subtle darkness, to evoke complex feelings with a
sense of depth and resonance. A great photo is not about how
accurately the story is being told, how deeply the message being is
passed across, how appealing to the eyes, it should be something
that generates ideas, it should be able to enable the viewer to
deduce their own stories/ideas/questions from the photo.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
My “Catwoman” series has turned out to be a long term project for
me, I hope to create some distinctive shots in Part 2 in the years
to come. Will also be pitching some ideas to a few magazines that I
have in mind.
What do you do to relax?
Get entertained, things that get my mind flowing.
Listening on Emma Shapplin, Agnes Baltsa, Rita Streich and Vangelis
on my iPod. I used to be so into gymnasium and had this delusional
belief about my body, then one day I broke my arm in half during arm
wrestling. A hobby turned out not so interesting after all, so
treadmill for me most of the time.
If you could give a little piece of advice for aspiring
photographers what would it be?
Listen to your instinct, loud and clear.
What motivates you to do what you do?
It took a much longer time for me to find where I belong and what I
am truly passionate about. The fear of failure and the desire to
validate my true belonging often keeps me motivated,
Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know
Ultimately its whats going on in the viewer’s head that makes the
photo, not the photographer, be true to your feelings.
Thanks Cheng for sharing your wedding photography!
To see more of Cheng’s photos please check out the website: