Hong Kong’s very own LomoKino Amigo Duncan Wong has a day-job, and it’s much like everyone else’s in this city of commerce. Wong, however, has been running a visual online-magazine, “EyesCoffee” which is a platform for the avid old-camera collector to showcase his b&w photos, poems, and other things quintessentially “human”.
Full Name: Duncan CS Wong
Location: Hong Kong
You’re poetry aficionado I take it! Do you compose your movies with the idea you’re writing poetry with images?
“When people look at my pictures, I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.” Robert Frank. The quote from my admired photography master, summarizes my mind. I wish to create similar kind of chemistry inside my work.
You have a shot that you always come back to. In the 1st it’s the image of the plane, in the 3rd it’s a U.S. Mail sign. Does this have to do with how you envision your finished pieces – as completing a cycle?
I use objects as symbols. Different objects combine to construct the whole piece of work, although I do not have a script before shooting the movies. The repeated appearance of objects and scenes is like Déjà vu (a French word). The 1st movie is about people longing for dreams. The 3rd movie is about childhood, message of self-reflection, and search of existence.
Your 2nd movie has a lot of roots, the ground, the alarm clock wire. Can you tell us about your inspiration for this piece?
The 2nd movie is about life, death, time and eternity. A fundamental question in religion. I am a Christian.
There’s something very organic about your 3 videos. Each touches upon some Eartly element such as water for the 3rd, air and the sky for the 1st, and the ground and soil for the 2nd. What moves you, and what are you passionate about?
To sum up what I want to achieve, that is the mystery inside my work, which comes from interaction of our childhood, dreams, memory and death along timeline of mankind.
The 3rd piece appears more personal as it’s not got a quote but your own personal memoirs at the end. What was the inspiration for this piece?
You have good eyes ! Right, the 3rd work is more personal. In creating the 3rd movie, I tried to search for a quote from master that can blend the clips to form the movie. But I cannot find a suitable one. The text at the end tells exactly what is one of my repeated dream in childhood about.
When you complete your videos, what’s the process like, putting the images, text, and music together? Which comes first? Which is the hardest element to match?
After I set my plan, I went to shooting. In editing the movie in my Mac, I see how it can create the chemistry between the clips. Adding the text at the end can further blend the clips together. Finally adding the soundtrack is the hardest part, it can enhance the overall feeling, or totally destroy it.
I hear you collect vintage/movie cameras! What began this passion? How was it shooting with the LomoKino?
I have been collecting vintage cameras since 1998. They are objects full of history of aesthetics, design, and engineering. In the 1st movie, I used two movie cameras as props, which are Zeiss Ikon and Bell & Howell, appearing in the background in the beginning of the movie. Can you see them ? I never shot my vintage movie cameras, because of difficulty in getting and processing the film. LomoKino is an interesting piece, which I quote as the most creative camera Lomography ever produced, and with inheritance from 135 film format as movie shooting in history. In 90’s, I had been into shooting digital videos, and got several awards from open competitions in Hong Kong. But in the past, I never imagine I can shoot movie on film one day.
With your alarm clock on the street I should have guessed you were a Surrealist. What obstacles and what fun do you have with this genre?
You may see inside the movie, the power cable is not connected to AC mains. In fact, I used the clock for some time, then it became not in working order a few years ago. I did the shooting frame by frame, by advancing the clock manually. It is like making the clock reborn again. The clock is running forever until the end of the movie ! It is not logical, like our dreams.
How did you get in to photography, and which came first, photography or poetry? Is one without the other?
In the past, I have been indulged in different subjects in different periods, including philosophy, art history, installation, shooting video, and I will say photography is my current biggest interest. In philosophy, we always ask ourselves, about our existence and truth ? To me, photography, movie, and poetry, they are tools, and they are nothing. My biggest concern is the content and subject inside my work, where the media is only the means to bring you there. However, I am interested in creating my work by using kind of visual poetry, and there is chemistry, and an unknown world.
How is the scene in Hong Kong for what you’re doing?
I was born and grew up in Hong Kong. I am working as IT professional in insurance company now. In leisure time, I collect camera equipments and vintage objects. In photography, I particularly focus in shooting black/white film.