Renowned photographer spoke of his experiences and inspiration
On Monday, Oct. 30 in Ostrander Auditorium, Wing Young Huie came to talk.
Huie is a Chinese photographer and journalist most known for his contemporary style.
The event started with a brief introduction of Huie, his achievements, photography skills and journals by a senior graduate from MSU.
“Throughout my college career, I got the privilege to learn about Wing Young Huie,” said the graduate. “I was able to connect and relate to his work because of his focus on citizens taking real world challenges.”
He also added, “Huie’s photography reminds me that we all have struggles and those struggles should not stop us from achieving our goal.”
Huie’s photography is different from other photographers work as it is deep to its meanings. His photography somehow talks to you and makes you want to listen and know more. His photos serve as a social mirror by not only showing what is hidden but also providing a portrait of who we really are.
Huie took to the stage by engaging the audience with questions of identity and interests in photography.
“I photographed a lot of strangers, thousands of strangers,” Huie said.
He showed his family photographs and talked about his family. He is the only child from his family who was born in the United States. Huie was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota. He explained his challenges of being the only Asian kid in his class and his entire neighborhood.
Huie got his Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Minnesota while training to be a reporter.
“I bought my first camera when I was in junior high, then decided that I was going to be a photographer,” he said.
Huie combined his self-taught photography skills and bachelor’s degree in journalism to became a freelance journalist. His first subject was his mother. He showed a picture of her sitting in a chair in the living room during the presentation, saying, “Mom always sat in that chair. The television is always on but she never watched TV.”
He explained how much of an influence his mom was in his life to shape his identity and who he really is. However, main-stream culture seemed more fascinating to him, which brought out his main theme of photography: what is normal and what is exotic?
Huie decided to become a street photographer, inspired by an iconic street photographer, Garry Widergrand. He started off with commercial photography but eventually ended up with street photography. His first project as a street photographer was Frogtown in Saint Paul, Minn.
“I chose Frogtown because I wanted to photograph a neighborhood that was diverse,” Huie said. “I believe there is no right or wrong way of interpretation of a photograph because every person has their own way of doing that.”
Huie was keen about translating the bit of reality into a set of two dimensional facts that we call photography. He went back in time and moved through his works of photography with the audience and explained the history behind each of them.
Huie concluded his presentation by expressing the challenges of being an immigrant in a foreign country.
“Who gets to decide who is more American?” he asked. “The most genuine kind of smile you could give is the kind where you have embraced who you really are.”