Over the next few months of Pacific Rim Magazine production, we’ll be working closely with the students from the Photo-Imaging Program who are taking the images for this year’s edition. Keep an eye out for upcoming profiles of these hard-working and talented individuals.
Diana Wong was hired by PRM’s art department to photograph the food for the magazine’s restaurant reviews. We caught up with Diana for a quick interview between shoots.
Where were you born and raised?
Born and raised in Vancouver.
What is your earliest memory of being interested in photography?
Photography actually started really late for me. I’m 29. In 2007, I started to take courses on how to use a DSLR. Throughout the years I’d just be picking up all of these photo magazines and just really liking the photos in them, but not really doing anything about it. In my early 20s I remember having this camera and taking pictures of gravestones and thinking “this is kinda fun trying to make gravestones look artistic.” [laughing]
What is your favourite subject to photograph and why?
I think I’m the type of person that likes almost everything. I do enjoy food photography because you can get really artistic—food can almost be like a painter’s palate. You have all of these colours and textures to work with and you have to put them all together into a really beautiful picture. It hit me in yesterday’s photo shoot [for PRM]—the hummus, the way the chef smeared it—looked almost like a glob of paint. Then there were sprinkles of peppers on it and it looked so pretty. I was looking over some of the work of food photographers that I really admire and it looked like that too. Just being able to photograph something like that is pretty cool. I also like people because you can turn people into really creative works of art as well.
Whose work do you admire?
Rob Fiocca—specifically for food photography. I was at his studio [in Toronto] for a practicum over the winter break. It was really cool to see him work and just see how personable he was. He always describes everything as “beautiful.”
What are your plans after you finish the program?
I have a brother in Toronto and he’s married to a wedding photographer. They just happened to be neighbours with a woman who is a prop stylist and they became friends. I started working for her so that’s how I got into the photography industry in Toronto. I’m going to go back to Toronto to assist there for a few months after I finish and then I’m going to come back here and start working on my own portfolio and business.
How would you describe your photography style?
More illustrative. There has to be some sort of story telling in it. It can also be kind of conceptual as well. I can’t just take a picture—there has to be something behind it. Food photography generally is more editorial or commercial, but you can style it in a way that it’s illustrative—like the photos of the watermelon. I also have a portrait series coming up where there is a backstory to it.
For more of Diana’s work, check out her website, Kai Photos.