Walking past the Art Academy in Honolulu, recently, I realized the magnitude of the journey I’ve been on these past seventeen years. Honolulu, is where my photography business started. It’s where I feel I really had the grit: fueled mostly by ignorance and idealism. I tried to shoot everything but with little clue I needed to create a library of work for every genre I wanted to shoot.
Those first couple of years, I traveled back and forth to Hong Kong where, on one visit, I traded an old Hasselblad for a Nikon F5. Slide film and lead-lined bags for airline travel were my norm; trips back and forth a few times to the processor for one shoot, occupied my non-shooting time, several times a week. My first (acceptable) digital camera was backed up with film for the first year. Always. (One shoot with a well-known chef comes to mind.) Kaimuki camera (still in business!!) was a local source for gear and print processing. Slide film was bought and processed at Hawaii Digital.
I didn’t want to shoot weddings as I was concentrating on advertising and editorial work (the latter leading to advertising work if you’re good; it’s where you get to “shine”). Hawaii probably has a few more wedding photographers than most metro areas, for obvious reasons, so I avoided weddings.
I’ve always loved architecture, landscapes, sports, beautifully-lit portraits, and, of course, nudes (I’m a dude like that so I make no apologies). 🙂
Jonas Karlsson, Annie Liebovitz and Mark Seliger were my favorites. Still, really. Locally, Dana Edmunds, who I spoke with briefly on my last trip to Honolulu, was the first “real” photographer I met when he asked me to build his first website. I stared at his photos for a couple of months. Much of my early work shows his inspiration.
Historically, a photographer would specialize in one thing. I imagine the thinking was: trying to be good at too many things before mastering one thing leads to many bad things. I liken it to that all-in-one: printer, fax, shredder, and whatever else, all in one package. It might seem like a great idea but something, quality-wise, suffers.
With that, I wanted to limit what I presented to the world. People, number one. Beautiful, thoughtful, portraits. Food because I love food and because I like what I produce. And then anything else I was able to shoot was icing. Before the loss of so much data between moves to a new IP recently, I posted something similar to this describing genres I’ve shot extensively and ones I’ve dabbled in. I don’t want to go into all of that, again . . . ultimately, I’ve probably tried it.
Presently, those genres I’m pursuing are on my public portfolio which I revamped over these past couple of weeks. The following, however, for now, will only be linked from here (a good time to bookmark):
Headshots (also on SF Casting website)
kenthwang.com/headshots.htm ($300, 45min session*)
kenthwang.com/weddings/ (Currently $500/hr, no minimum*)
Boudoir (definitely Not Safe For Work)
I would never trade my years as a medic for anything. I walked well-over a hundred miles over the couple of weeks in my recent trip to Honolulu. Nearly every street brought a memory of a call or a patient. When I said that out loud, I made a mental note to think of the photoshoots, instead, and wanting to get out of medical field where, only now, I realize I made a career out rescuing someone I’d never be able to rescue. Tapping into the grit I had back then inspires me to try to shoot more today. I absolutely love photography. Maybe it’s my ego but I love when others love photography.
*READ the info section of my website and then call (leave a message) or email with details.