STRANGERS IN SHANGHAI
IN CONVERSATION WITH CINDY WANG
Cindy Wang loves her city very much. She uses photography to record her obsession with strangers and their behaviour in and around Shanghai where she deliberately does not want to pursue perfection. Growing up in Shanghai, she has fond memories of her grandfather taking photos of her with a film camera. Her interest turned into a passion for street photography following the light and shadows.
When and how did you start getting interested in photography?
I am from Shanghai and I live and work here. I started drawing when in elementary school and continued to do so. I graduated from art school, majoring in interior design. I am currently designing clothes and accessories for dogs. My grandfather introduced me to photography but it was at University where I took a course in photography and bought my first camera which was a digital Olympus.
Where do you find your inspiration?
From movies and visiting art galleries worldwide, where I study the artistic geniuses from the past; also from my travels, where I have witnessed not only the most amazing scenery, but humble people going about their daily business.
Who are your favourite artists or photographers? Who has mostly influenced your style?
What do you want to express through your photography? What are some of the elements you always try to include in your photographs?
I want to capture the meaningful 'moment in time' of my subject, with particular attention to using light and shade to its greatest effect.
Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?
My favourite lens to use are 23mm F1.4 and 50mm F2
Do you prefer to shoot alone or with friends?
I prefer to shoot alone so that I can concentrate on what I am trying to achieve without distractions.
Where is your favourite place to shoot?
The station, art centres, in the streets, the market, just about anywhere I find an interesting subject.
Has your style of shooting changed since you first started?
Yes, my style has changed dramatically...I originally shot buildings and landscapes. But now I look for something out of the ordinary, in the same way that Leonardo da Vinci used to go to the market in Florence to sketch old and interesting people. Just like is crowd scenes in his masterpieces, I look for interesting people in everyday life, perhaps in the streets, at the market, in the harbour, just anywhere, going about their daily business.
Do you have a favourite quote/lyric/saying that resonates with you the best?
“You will feel so homesick that you want to die, and there is nothing that you can do about it except endure it”.
This is from a movie called “Brooklyn” and it reminds me of the time when I was lonely, studying in the USA.
Are there any books that you have read that have inspired your creativity and that you would like to recommend to us?
'Understanding Exposure' by Brian Peterson and 'How to Create Stunning Digital Photography' by Tony Northrup.
Have you ever been involved in the artistic world before photography?
As previously mentioned, I have been drawing and painting since in elementary school, and I have done a degree in interior design.
Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?
I regularly go down to the harbour in Shanghai and I am building a portfolio of life in Shanghai harbour.
What are some of your goals as an artist? Where do you see yourself or hope to see yourself in five years?
I am determined to become a professional photographer – I want to be renowned as someone that a client can rely on to produce the best product possible.
“When I am not out photographing, I (like to)...
I am fascinated with art and have been all over the world visiting art galleries. I travel a lot, and I’m interested in all other cultures. In my spare time, I read, draw, paint and do calligraphy. I go to the movies and take yoga classes. Other than that, I spend time walking the streets, going to markets etc., wherever I may find interesting people or places to shoot."