“You have to find your own groove and make your own distinct mark.”
Name: Ming Nomchong
Occupation: Photographer/Visual Artist
Current Location: Byron Bay
What do you do? Why do you do it?
I ask myself that question all the time. What DO I do? Sometimes I shoot, sometimes I make art, sometimes I do nothing and stare at the ocean, asking, “what the hell do I do now?”. I keep doing, I keep making because I don’t know what else to do. And I know if I stop, then that’s it, it’s over. And I don’t want that. So I keep doing. Whatever that is that I do…
Did you study anywhere or self-taught?
I studied a Fine Arts degree many moons ago back in Sydney and then I assisted photographers before heading off into the big wide world by myself. So, I studied, but a lot of what I know now came from making lots and lots of mistakes, so I’m kind of self-taught as well.
What’s your favourite camera and/or equipment to work with?
I love shooting and making with old things. I love old cameras, I love old print making methods, anything that makes you slow down and enjoy the process. The faster this world gets and the quicker the gratification becomes, the more anxiety creeps in for me. The antidote to this is to slow everything down and remember the joy in the making. And to do that, for me, is to use old things that take more time. Make art with film cameras, get into the darkroom, hand print a photo. Enjoy the whole process.
Who are your favourite photographers?
At the moment, Nadine Ijewere, Bastiaan Woudt, Bruno V Roels, Quentin De Briey, Angelo Pennetta, Olivia Malone just to name a few!
Who or what else inspires you?
It’s cliché but being outdoors and in nature inspires me the most. In the elements and open space. The ocean is a big one. But also I love flicking through vintage art books, seeing new exhibitions and spending hours in the book shop.
How did you manage during Covid times? Did you create or reflect?
It actually was the best time as we all stopped and didn’t have to feel guilty about it. I found time to really get into the creative process and had the time to finally get my book together and out into the world.
How have you evolved over the years?
I think, I hope I’m constantly evolving. When I look back to my work even 3 years ago I see a difference in thinking, in perspective between then and now. Most of it is perspective, rather than getting better at the craft.
What are you listening to atm?
Lots of Jazz, Afro beats and old school 70’s psychedelic surf rock.
What websites do you frequent?
The weather websites haha, Artsy, Etsy, and YouTube. I’m always looking for “how to I do/make this or that”
What tools or apps help you get your work done?
My cameras, paper, print outs, photoshop, inks and carving tools
Are you reading or watching anything right now?
I’m reading Sea People. And watching Stranger Things
Where are you travelling to next?
I’ve got a couple of work trips coming up but personal, I’m holding out a bit as we’re have a bit on back home at the moment. And I’m saving the next trip up as it’s going to be a big one and probably a long one… ☺
What is your greatest achievement?
Probably the book - PACIFIC. It was such a huge part of me and I’ve put it out to the world for all to see. I loved every second of that process and I’m now in mourning/in the come down now, before the next creative process starts.
One thing you would like to achieve this year?
Start on the second book. ☺
What advice would you share to others wanting to get into your profession?
I say this in every interview I do, but it’s the one thing that can’t be stressed enough, you have to find your own groove and make your own distinct mark.
Copying others work in the beginning can be a way to increase your skill set but if you don’t set yourself apart and find what makes you tick, how are you going to get picked from the pack?
I’m seeing so much of the same same stuff online, it’s making me want to be online less and less because it becomes pretty boring, right?