Brian Ching Talks About The Inspiration Behind His Photoshoot With Hong Kong Athletes

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hong kong photographer brian ching - hong kong athletes

Hong Kong photographer Brian Ching discusses his love for his hometown and inspirations behind his undertaking with Hong Kong athletes (Photo: Gymnast Shek Wai-hung, courtesy of Brian Ching)

By Helen Yu

By Helen Yu

August 03, 2021

In Brian Ching’s newest photoshoot with Olympic athletes from crew Hong Kong, the photographer captured the distinctive moments of them adopting artistic coaching strategies at house to remain in form forward of the Games amidst the pandemic. Here, Ching discusses the inspiration behind the shoot, his love for Hong Kong and the way he has been telling highly effective tales by way of his work.

A veteran expertise within the images world, Hong Kong photographer Brian Ching is understood for his creativity, professionalism and a focus to element. He has a stable portfolio spanning throughout a variety of genres, with over 20 years of expertise of protecting breaking information, main sports activities and political occasions around the globe, together with the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from Britain, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup), in addition to Olympic Games.

On Ching’s personal website and Instagram feed, you’ll discover a assortment of jaw-dropping photographs that includes every thing from structure, individuals to Hong Kong surroundings and the world’s most picturesque locations. Among his many lovely images are some completely timed time sports activities moments that seize probably the most thrilling performs and uncooked feelings and vitality of the athletes.

While the photographer has no scarcity of outstanding works which have made the pages of famend publications, one which caught our consideration is his photoshoot with Olympic athletes from team Hong Kong. Ground-breaking in each composition and subject material, the candid photographs of Hong Kong athletes coaching at house through the pandemic had been shared extensively on social media and had acquired love and optimistic suggestions from the area people.

With the Tokyo Olympics 2020 in full swing, we caught up with Ching to search out out extra about his background, his inspiration behind the photoshoot and the way he has been expressing his love for Hong Kong by way of his artwork.  

See additionally: 20 Hong Kong Photographers On Instagram Who Capture The Soul Of The City

Tells us just a little bit about your self. How was your ardour for images born?

I used to be initially a theatre actor with a background in graphic design earlier than pursuing a profession in images. It did not take lengthy for me to find my ardour for images, as I all the time want utilizing imageries over drawings to inform tales and create an emotional reference to the viewers. After a 12 months of finding out design, I started critically finding out images, and that was how my love for image-making began. Time flies—and I’ve been working as a full-time photographer for 26 years already.  
You are working in virtually all genres equivalent to individuals, journey, panorama and structure. What’s your favorite style and why?

I concentrate on a variety of genres not solely as a result of I’m a photojournalist who’s liable for documenting main occasions around the globe, but additionally my sturdy ardour for images. I’m completely satisfied taking pictures every thing and I actually can’t determine my favorite style. Any place, particular person or factor could be a good topic and there are such a lot of locations to search out inspiration for, so long as you’re enthusiastic about images.

I’m obsessive about images that I seldom take time without work and have all the time been devoted my free time to taking photographs in other places. Between 1999 to 2010, I labored tirelessly as a volunteer photographer for the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong and took footage for the organisation throughout all classes of sports activities. Before the pandemic, I’ve additionally been travelling around the globe taking landscapes and architectures, together with off-the-beaten-path locations equivalent to Patagonia, Bali and Ethiopia.  

hong kong photographer brian ching - hong kong athletes

hong kong photographer brian ching - hong kong athletes


How would you describe your images type? What form of really feel or message do you need to convey in your work?

There’s a narrative to inform behind each image, you simply must be prepared to look and interpret. I’m all the time eager to inform inspirational tales and discover significant messages by way of my very own work—I need to create images which can be each private but relatable to a large viewers.

One of my favorite assignments that I’ve ever labored on, is the photoshoot devoted to the hidden Hong Kong Paralympic heroes. As I began out as a theatre actor and had been surrounded by all design parts of stage manufacturing, together with theatre path and props for fairly a very long time, I are likely to type my shoots with highlight impact to make my topic stand out. It’s probably the most frequent aesthetics you’ll discover in a theatre efficiency.

When it involves sports activities images, I usually do assignments for enjoyable quite than doing them for cash or reward due to my pure ardour for creating and sports activities. A factor that you simply see in my footage is that I used to be by no means afraid to experiment with totally different angles and lighting.  


We cherished your shoot with Hong Kong athletes about their artistic coaching strategies used at house through the pandemic. What tales are you telling by way of this shoot? Can you share your expertise of photographing the athletes?

The concept of organising a photoshoot with Olympic athletes got here to thoughts whereas I used to be watching dwell movies of Lee Ka-man, Hong Kong’s most profitable rower, understanding at a resort whereas in quarantine after collaborating in abroad coaching and matches to qualify for the Games. I believed it could be a extremely cool concept if I can go to the athletes’ houses, and shoot them utilizing progressive coaching strategies to maintain their athletic objectives on observe for the postponed Games.

It was a bit difficult to rearrange the setups and discover the proper angle to seize the athletes—as you already know, Hong Kong is infamous for small dwelling areas. For instance, after I was taking pictures gymnast Stone Shek Wai-hung doing weight coaching with rice baggage, I even needed to arrange the digital camera on the ceiling to border the shot.

Very few persons are prepared to make their houses presentable to strangers, so I’m actually grateful to the athletes who gave me their time and belief for this undertaking. Throughout the entire course of, I requested the athletes for opinions and learnt each element of their coaching technique to get the most effective out of the tight areas. I wished to have my photographs look much less documentary and extra private, real, making the undertaking extra of a love letter to Hong Kong.  

See additionally: Tokyo Olympics 2020: Hong Kong Athletes You Should Know

Your love on your house metropolis Hong Kong shines by way of in your sports activities images as seen in your portfolio. Can you speak us by way of your selections of subject material and what attracts you to the sports activities scene of Hong Kong?

I like Hong Kong. I like my metropolis a lot. Our metropolis is small in measurement however this by some means permits photographers to know every sport higher, observe the motion higher to create nice footage. One of the most typical misconceptions individuals might need about sports activities photographers is that, they’re good at protecting all sorts of sports activities. But that’s not the case, loads of foreigners would possibly solely be good at capturing just a few sports activities their nations concentrate on.

I take pleasure in taking sports activities images rather a lot as a result of it offers me the chance to collaborate and construct relationships with inspiring people. The course of is completely totally different from the way in which how I work together with different topics equivalent to political figures and socialites, since not a lot of them could be prepared to open up as a consequence of their backgrounds. To me, Hong Kong athletes’ willingness to be trustworthy and susceptible is inspiring for all. I’m desperate to proceed engaged on extra initiatives with native athletes sooner or later… they do deserve extra consideration and help from us.  

Of all of the sporting occasions that you’ve got featured, have any stood out for you?

Real Madrid Football Club’s 2003 match in Hong Kong was exceptional because it’s uncommon to see so many excellent soccer gamers on that one pitch. It was arguably probably the most star-studded crew of the membership in historical past, that includes large names together with David Beckham, Raúl, Robert Carlos and Zinedine Zidane. I’m glad I had the chance to attend and {photograph} the occasion.

Formula One is considered one of my latest favorite topics for sports activities images. From its futuristic automobiles to distinctive race areas, there’s rather a lot to study from high photographers from this photogenic sport. Everything must be fastidiously framed when photographing sports activities, and people racing occasions aren’t any exception. Great footage are a matter of luck typically—I could be intentional about creating work, but additionally very organised and spend loads of time taking a look at references and plotting earlier than the shoots.  

What recommendation would you give to aspiring photographers in Hong Kong?

Don’t ever attempt to copy what’s already on the market—you’ll want to work exhausting and be artistic. Use your digital camera as a medium for self-expression and don’t be afraid of breaking the norms or being judged by others. That’s the one solution to create high-quality work, and in case you imitate another person’s type, your viewers won’t ever get to see and know who you’re.  

What’s your subsequent undertaking?

I’m at present engaged on a brand new exhibition for Food Angel at Hysan Place in Causeway Bay. I’m additionally going to begin a photoshoot for the Equal Opportunities Commission to make clear sexual and racial discrimination points in Hong Kong. A brand new photoshoot with Hong Kong can also be on my radar, however I’m nonetheless discovering a narrative angle and deciding on the undertaking timeline, hopefully it will likely be accomplished earlier than the 2022 Asian Games. 

See additionally: Hong Kong Through The Lens Of The City’s Street Photographers

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