Photographer’s Q&A – Philip Cheung
This week’s Q&A is with photojournalist Philip Cheung who works in Abu Dhabi for The National newspaper. His web site is philipcheungphoto.com.
What were your first steps in the industry?
I was working as a photographer for the Canadian Forces during the last few years of my time in the army. I joined the Eastern Canadian News Photographers Association (ECNPA) and, with a little luck and help from its members, I started to freelance in Toronto in 2006.
When you were a student, what did you want to do after graduation and are you where you thought you would be now?
After serving in Bosnia, I decided to further my education. So I studied graphic design in college and then, I went back into the army. A few years later, I’m now living in the Middle East, working as a photojournalist in the region. I really had no intentions of being a photographer.
What or who are your biggest inspirations?
I find a lot of inspiration from studying other photographers’ work, not only from photojournalists but also from fine art, fashion, commercial and portrait photographers.
Did you have a mentor? How important are mentors?
The biggest influences in my photography career would have to be photo editors Brian Kerrigan (The National) and Tim Lourie. They helped guide me in the right direction over the years. I can’t thank them enough for their support.
What was a pivotal point in your career?
I guess it was deciding to leave my full-time job to freelance; having the opportunity to work with everyone at The Globe and Mail; and now, my recent move to the Middle East.
How important is multimedia to you?
Right now, it’s not something I do on a regular basis. But I’m definitely looking forward to producing more of it.
How do you ensure that you are progressing as a visual journalist?
To photograph what is important and what interests me.
What are some of the must-see websites you visit? Please include why you visit these sites (e.g. inspiration, guidance, information, education).
I visit these sites almost daily for information and inspiration:
What is your favourite way to unwind?
I enjoy keeping physically fit and always find myself in the gym, pool and on the track.
What’s the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you about being a photographer?
“Develop something that is uniquely yours and shows who you are as a photographer. Find something you like and go for it.” – Donald Weber