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My surreal life in Hong Kong | Tommy Fung

This week I got in touch with Tommy Fung - the man behind the popular Instagram account - SurrealHK. If you are in Hong Kong, be sure to visit his Exhibition at PMQ, 1-10 December 2017, 11:00AM - 20:00PM


Q: How did you get into what you do creatively?

A: I was born in Hong Kong but I used to live and work in Venezuela, since moving back to Hong Kong early this year, I had to start fresh. So the first thing I wanted to do is get to know Hong Kong again and find out what the photographers here are taking photos of, so that I can do something different.

As a photographer, I have tested and tried various types of editing and I have noticed that not many photographers in Hong Kong use this technique to express their feelings in a photo. So that is why I began to take this in mind but was concerned if people will like it? Thus I decided to create - SurrelHK

Q: You say that you started SurrealHK because you have noticed that Hong Kongers were unhappy, why do you think that?

A: Yes, since moving back to Hong Kong and trying to get used to the lifestyle myself, I have noticed that people are so busy, with pressure from work and their mindset is all about work. The news also, there's a lot of negativity and so I just wanted to create something encouraging for people, make them see my photos and laugh, be happy again. My works are focused on this direction.

Q: Where does your inspiration come from?

A: From daily life, my surroundings and films. You can see some of my work has a been highly inspired by Doctor Strange. I remember watching that film in the cinema and giving it a standing ovation it was that good! Other films like Harry potter, Inception, Game of Thrones and even Fast and Furious.

Q: On average, how long does it take you to make one of your photos?

A: It depends how complicated the idea is because there are two parts to it. Editing and Photo taking. My easiest ones can take up to 5 to 6 hours of editing, whereas some can take up to 16 hours. It's all about trial and error.

Going out to take photos is also time consuming, sometimes I go to a certain place more than once to get the right shot, for example my flying taxi photo took me 3 days to shoot. As I had to wait for a taxi with no adverts, but sometimes people would walk in the shot and so I had to wait again. It's all about patience and experimenting.

Q: Are there any obstacles you have faced whilst creating some of your photos?

A: Well I taught myself editing using both Lightroom and Photoshop, so I know that I probably take a lot longer than other people do. I think trying to come up with an idea and making sure people will understand it can be quite difficult.

Q: What do you do to get into your creative zone?

A: Several ways, when I have an idea, I go out to the locations and snap what I need. Or I could take random shots and see what I can create with them. My ideas are wherever and whenever, as long as I am aware of my surroundings and notice what the latest topics are.

Q: Do you have a favourite artist and why?

A: Not really, but I do look through a lot of artwork. I try not to have a favourite as I don't want to end up copying their style of work, I want to have my own style. As for photographer, I like Von Wong, he's such an amazing photographer, he doesn't edit his photos, he actually creates the scene there and then, he even blogs about how he creates his photos too, I just like how both our styles are very different.

Q: Where do you think you will go next with your surrealism?

A: All of my work are based in Hong Kong, but I really want to go to other countries, places with things that Hong Kong doesn't have, like sand, snow, wild animals. So that I can put them into Hong Kong, I think that will be fun. But my main focus will always be in Hong Kong.

Q: Professionally, what is your goal?

A: At first this was just an interest of mine, I wanted to try it out to see if people would like the idea of Surreal Hong Kong and it turned out better than I had expected. I really want to continue this as a full time job, but obviously it's still unknown of how far I will go with this as I only created this account 10 months ago.

If people and brands approach me fo work together, I would be happy to collaborate with them. Even if people ask for prints of my work that will be good enough for me too.

Even now, I am really honoured that PMQ reached out to me to hold an exhibition. I am grateful for all my followers o Instagram and so to be able to see my work in a gallery is a blessing for me. In the future I would like to showcase my work in other places too and I wouldn't mind if Instagram features my work one day.

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