Alex Wong aka Emotive Image, for me and for many others, is the best emerging Motorsport Photographer out there. His style is very sharp, precise, yet tender. I had the opportunity to speak with him. We discussed motorsport photography, Formula 1 and digital publishing.
– Where are you from?
– I am from San Francisco, California in the United States.
– What are you working on at the moment?
– At the moment I’m compiling my 2015 year in review photo set, I believe I’ve taken nearly 210,000 photographs this year so it will take a while!
– I’ve enjoyed your 2014 edition very much. So, tell me why did you chose this digital publishing format? I guess Issuu is the first place where it is possible to see your new work.
– I’ve always wanted to have my photos published in magazines. I feel print is still the pinnacle for photography, no matter how big or small. I noticed quite a few print magazines used a digital format for their online magazines and from there I found Issuu. It is as close as I can get to publishing my own magazine, and Issuu essentially is a massive international newspaper and magazine stand, just in a digital format. They have been unbelievably supportive of my Emotive Magazine project and it is amazing to see a smaller project like mine next to internationally renowned magazines. I always go to Issuu to publish my latest and newest adventures.
– It’s interesting to know, how do you feel about your photographs, you said that you pushed the shutter around 210 000 times this year, would you put your name under every snap you did or do you consider it as the work process, material for making, let’s say 1000 photographs that you can actually say: these are my photographs from 2015?
– I know photographers who have hit 500,000 to a million shutters in a single year and that blows my mind. I’d definitely put my name on every photo I’ve taken this year. Would I select them and post each and everyone? Probably not. There would be a ton of repeat photos! Last year I hit 200,000 photos with the previous year at 180,000. My year in review sets have roughly 100 photos. The keeper late is so low but it definitely gives you a sense of scale and difficulty in trying to capture that one (perfect) photo.
– How would you describe yourself?
– That is a tough question. I guess I could say I always strive to push what I am capable of, whether physically, creatively, etc. My best photo is one I haven’t taken yet and that’s a goal I love chasing after.
– Is photography your main job or a hobby? What do you do at work/in your free time?
– Photography is my main source of income. In recent years, it’s changed from being a hobby to a 24 hour, 7 day a week work flow. There is rarely a day I don’t take a photo or edit a photo. My free time consists mainly of eating. It is a great way to have an hour or two away from the computer and enjoy time with friends.
– What inspires you?
– There is a huge amount of anxiety and nervousness I feel when I attend a new event. I am exciting to see what I can come away with and the challenge is such a huge inspiration. This is also true with events I’ve photographed many times; there are always new angles and new ways to shoot. Every now and then you may get a beautiful sunset or intense rain. From that, you find inspiration.
– What for you is the most enjoyable part of motorsport photography?
– This question has a million answers. I just remember the first time I photographed a motorsport event, I stood in pitlane during an IndyCar race when the cars were released on to the track. I will never forget the sound and feeling of thousands of horsepower just pouring in to the streets, the smell of race fuel and just the intensity of it all. I think that’s the best part of motorsports photography, just the absolute insanity of it all and trying to capture all of that in to one image.
– Which is the most enjoyable event you’ve been to?
– I would break it down into two different events. The first being the Rally America series event in the 100 Acre Wood. I had traveled to shoot this with a friend and it was a weekend we continue to talk about to this day. The competition was absolutely fierce between 6 world class drivers from the beginning to the end. The event itself had an incredible vibe with a much larger audience in attendance than expected. It was simply the greatest stage rally event I have had the pleasure of attending. The second event, and possibly my personal favorite would be my first Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin Texas. It had been a long time goal of mine to photograph Formula 1, I had no real idea what to expect or how the event would pan out. Everything seemed to fall in to place that weekend and I hope to be fortunate to attend as many Formula 1 events as possible.
– Photographing F1 is still one of my dreams. Closest I came to it so far is 24H of Le Mans. How did you got accredited for such a big event for the first time?
– Interesting story. A month before the F1 event in Austin, the Circuit of the Americas hosted the World Endurance Championship. It was an insane event, with torrential rain and stormy conditions. The staff at the circuit took great care of us and were very accommodating. As a small token of gratitude I compiled a magazine from the event and forwarded it to their media liaison. A few weeks later I received a phone call from the circuit. A German press agency needed a photographer for the upcoming F1 race and asked the circuit for a recommendation. My information was forwarded, a last minute FIA credential change requested and the rest is history. It truly was a whirlwind couple weeks but a definite eye opener and so much fun.
– Why do you wake up in the morning?
– This is a good question. Lately I’ve woken up early because my sleep cycle is completely off. I think my main reason now is to finish photo sets and magazine projects. I love receiving the feedback, whether positive or negative, and use that to prepare myself for the next event.