The Kingston undergraduate using photography to understand both herself and others
In the years leading up to the final year of her Filmmaking degree, Naomi Wong’s practice has diverged from moving images towards photography, a new direction that brought with it a creative happiness that her former discipline had failed to provide. The Kingston University undergraduate now predominantly focusses on portraiture, though always imbues her work with a personal touch, working to capture her subjects’ expressions or “something special like their eyes, a mark on their skin or the way they smile”.
The vibrant yet nostalgic feeling that Naomi garners from her use of film is put to great use in her fashion work to ensure a dreamlike quality to each image. Underpinning this sense of atmosphere is Naomi’s ability to break down the barrier between herself and her subjects, working to ensure a comfortable environment in their short time together. Having assisted Francesca Allen and watched her “try all kinds of things” to relax this interaction, Naomi was inspired to apply this to her own practice, and it has provided for consistently refined, mature work.
Despite an emphasis on fashion editorial photography, Naomi is also keen to use her image-making skill-set to tap into themes which are closer to home. One such project, Les Filles, an online platform to promote the work of female, creative practitioners from across the globe, was launched in response to online collectives that feature only the most established internet, female photographers and other, male-dominated projects.
When not promoting others, Naomi is influenced by the likes of Collier Schorr and Alasdair McLellan in her own work. Schorr’s portraits of high school wrestlers and boys in school uniform encapsulate the same personal ambience that Naomi channels in her own work. McLellan on the other hand, who hails from the North of England like Naomi, bottles and distills Northern culture throughout much of his own photographic series.
Drawing on these influences, it’s no surprise that her next project will focus on teenage boys who grew up in the North. It’s a series which will see her continuing to explore her own, personal context, just as Les Filles focussed on emerging, female talents like herself. Repurposing the lessons learned from her filmmaking classes, Naomi will be adopting a documentary-style approach to the project, and will be putting to use everything she’s learned so far. As she heads into her final year, we wish her the best of luck and eagerly await this forthcoming series!