A Wong trio shares their unique views of Chinatown.

Photo and essay by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights  Second Addition

Three photographers sharing the surname of Wong, took the ideal opportunity to  feature their remarkable Chinatown photos in a Seattle gallery.

Wong is one of the oldest and most common names originating from China. Unlike the artiste’s traditional last name, their photographic views of Chinese American culture, are distinct and unique as the individual artists themselves.

The Wong photo triumvirate. From left to right: Rick Wong, Barry Wong, & Dean Wong – opening night. “Three Wongs: Chinatown Photographs” – M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery in Seattle.

There’s no blood relation shared between the photographers; but a rich cultural heritage and a creative life-long passion, flows through their art to unite the exhibit.

If you lived near Seattle within the last twenty years, you’ve probably seen the talented trio’s photography in print, on the web, or in a gallery.  Barry Wong, an award-winning Seattle Times photojournalist, still shoots on occasion for the paper.  Barry and I have covered some of the same Seattle events in the past.  I’ve always appreciated his style and resourcefulness used for completing his assignments.

Barrry’s compositions of stylized raw vegetables and select ingredients  shot within Chinatown kitchens, made for a delicious contribution to the show.  Technically and creatively, food is one the most challenging subjects to photograph.  Barry easily proved he’s a maestro at the art of food photography with his delectable images!

Dean Wong’s black & white photographs, featured fascinating angles and uncommon compositional perspectives. Many of his images reflect an intimate glimpse of suspended moments in time.  This splendid series, shot in San Francisco’s Chinatown, which is, the oldest in North America and the largest Chinese community outside of Asia.  Dean has great technique of seamlessly photographing people and events, which is ideal for his form of street photojournalism.  Dean is another photographer I’ve had the pleasure of encountering while covering  events  within Seattle’s urban neighborhoods.

Rick Wong and I first met over 20  years ago, when we were both Boeing scientific photographers.  Rick stands out from most pro photographers I’ve ever worked with, he harnesses boundless energy, dedication and effort to capture an image.  He’ll literally, drive a thousand-miles in one-day, just to photograph the moon rising above a certain mountain peak.  After shooting the moonrise, Rick will grab a short catnap, before driving right-back home to cover another event.

Over the past 15-years, Rick and I have collaborated on some memorable video and photographic assignments for clients and our own personal artwork.  It’s this type of mutual passion towards photography, filmmaking and storytelling, which helps support the bonds of a lasting friendship.

Rick Wong’s featured images have a painterly feel to them, with rich textures and dynamic lighting.  A few years ago, CBS’s Charles Kuralt, discovered Rick’s photos at an exhibition in a New York gallery.  Kuralt liked Rick’s Chop Suey Restaurant images so much, he had them featured in a segment on CBS News Sunday Morning.

The Wong photographers have known each other for years.  Last fall, a call to artist, united the three for an exhibit: ” From Fields to Family,” at Seattle’s Wing Luke Asian Museum.  Rick mentioned to a group of us attending the Wing Luke opening , the idea for an exhibit, which would combine the art of all three Wong photographers.  Everyone listening thought the plan was ideal,  but it would be hard to predict if and when it could all be pulled together.

It’s quite surprising, within a couple of short seasons, the three Wongs photo exhibit, materialized for its opening; but it goes to illustrate, a great idea is the first step which opens the door for opportunity. ~

Three Wongs: Chinatown Photography Exhibit
M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery, Seattle

May 2 thorugh May 24, 2012
Reception May 2, 5-7 PM

M. Roseetta Hunter Gallery

http://seattlecentral.edu/artgallery/currentshow.php

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