Please welcome Ya Kuang! A photographer from China who devoted his photography career to documenting humanity and its spirit.We talked with him about his winning photograph as well as about his photo journey, equipment, favorite photographers and destinations. Enjoy the interview!
Q: Dear Ya Kuang, congrats on winning the Documentary & Street Category at B&W Child 2019 Photo Competition, 1st Half! How does it feel to be a category winner on our contest?
A: It is delightful to win the first place in Documentary & Street Category. I highly appreciate the recognition for my work “Desire” from all judges of CPC. It makes me feel much more responsible to make contribution to the child affair by sharing my photography themed on children.
Q: Could you tell us a bit about yourself? What’s your background? How old are you? Is photography your full-time job?
A: I am a construction engineer from Bazhong City, Sichuan Province, China, a member of the Sichuan Photographers Association and member of GPU. Although photography is not my full-time job, it is the career I am devoted to.
Q: Your winning photograph ”Desire” is really dynamic and interesting. Could you share with us the story behind the photograph? Where was it taken? Who are the subjects? What are they reaching for?
A: It was shot in a fishing village near Lake Edward, Town Gisenyi, Uganda. It was around 5 pm, an international volunteer sent pencils to the children in the fishing village. I was touched by the scene, children reaching for pencils, and felt their desire for education and the hope for their future. So I hold up the camera and framed this moment.
Q: How did you begin your journey into photography? Why is photography your medium of choice? Why Documentary photography?
A: I was led into photography by my father when I was a kid. Photography can directly record my life , work, experience and everything about the universe. The reason I choose Documentary photography is that it is about humanity and the sense of it which we get through photographs..
Q: Who are your favorite photographers or photographers that inspire you?
A: Sebastiao Salgado is my favorite photographer. He is a photographer with strong thoughts and beliefs.
Q: In the last couple of years Chinese photographers are dominating the Documentary & Street Category on our competition. Why is this genre of photography so popular in China?
A: China has unique philosophy which we call people-oriented. It has roots in the mind of Chinese for centuries. Chinese photographers are keen on sharing humanistic spirit and humanitarianism in their photographs..
Q: What are you currently working on? Do you have any photographic plans for future?
A: For now, I mainly take photos themed on humanity and environments.
Q: Do you travel a lot? What is your dream destination to visit?
A :I normally travel six or seven times a year. My dream destination is Bengal. I have been there four times. Every time I travel to Bengal, I have deep understanding of its people and culture.
Q: Do you have a photograph you took which is a special one to you? Can you tell us which photograph is that and why do you like that photo more than others?
A: I cannot particularly name one photo and say that it is particularly special to me. Actually every photo has my own emotions and thoughts. The pursuit of art is endless, and it must be said that the favorite photo is always the next one we’ll take.
Q: In your opinion, what are the elements that make good documentary photograph? What’s more important, visuals or a story?
A: To my thinking, it is important to pay attention to the issues of public concern. There are emotions, temperature, independent thinking and a keen heart.
Q: What can be found in your camera bag? What camera body and lenses do you use?
A: Two Nikon Camera, two lens, a notebook and a first-aid packet.That is all you can found in my bag. I have Nikon D810, D750,D500 and D850, together with four lens which is 12-24,16-35,24-70 and 28-300.
Q: If you could offer one piece of advice to young photographers who are just starting out, what would you say?
A: Photography is a very practical physical activity, it is important to maintain a good physical and mental state. Take time to shoot as much as you can and never stop learning.
Q: Can you share some of your favorite photographs from The First Half of B&W Child 2019 Photo Competition?
A: I would like to say that every awarded and selected work is excellent. The hard work of the photographers is worthy of respect and appreciation of us all.