10 minutes with Philip Cheung

Interviews with Photographers September 16, 2011 8:07 am

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer, and did you always want to be a photojournalist?

I wasn’t formally trained in photography, I studied Graphic Design and worked as a print and web designer in Toronto. It wasn’t until after college when I decided to teach myself photography,¬†by experimenting¬† with the different genres and trying to figure out what I wanted to do.¬† Through trial and error, I found that documentary photography just felt right to me.

 

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

 

Your project, Soldiers Angels, is really beautiful and also on a subject that I have seen so little coverage of. What first led you to work on this project and how did you get access to the soldiers that you photographed?

 

I was working on an ongoing personal project about US military support personnel in Southern Afghanistan, when I found out about Mortuary Affairs. I wanted to know more about the unit and the soldiers who volunteer for such a sad but honorable occupation. It took me almost a month to get permission through the various of chains of command, but I was eventually given access, albeit with limitations to this specialized unit that live and work in a secluded area of Kandahar Airfield.

 

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

 

What keeps you motivated?

To work on long-term projects that interest me and the chance to temporarily explore the lives of my subjects.

 

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

Philip Cheung

 

Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?

Well, I think I’m still relatively new at this, but from what I’ve learned so far, I think it’s important to keep working on personal projects, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new approaches with your work, surround yourself with like-minded people who share the same enthusiasm for photography, be persistent and trust your intuition.

 

(Philip is based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. See more of his work, here)

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