Five Minutes with Bryce Watanasoponwong
Bryce talks street photography, cultural influencers and the practicalities of his photography process.
Bryce is a Thai/Australian self taught photographer. Although his original inspiration for photography stemmed from wedding, documentary and portrait photography, once he discovered street photography his practice took off.
How did you become inspired to pursue the visual arts?
My photography journey is based on the refraction of my life in the past. In November 2010, two major life crises happened: the first was being made redundant from a corporate role due to the global financial crisis. The second, being dumped by a previous lover.
Lost and unhappy, I accompanied my parents on a trip to Taiwan in April 2011, and that was when I bought my first camera from a duty-free shop at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport. Soon I started taking pictures of strangers and animals on the street, spending hours exploring whatever city I happened to be in. After capturing an image of a group of stray cats, I realised how much fun I had with photography. Ultimately, I fell in love with street photography, with a particular focus on the documentary style. After eighteen years in Australia, I decided to make a move to Thailand and pursue business opportunities in real estate and hospitality. During those early years, I put photography on hold to focus on establishing my presence in professional areas. Though I was happy to be back home and immersed in a thriving career, I missed being behind the camera. At this time, I decided to pursue my true passion.
After experimenting with street photography for several years, I found my niche in abstract art photography, which led to my first exhibition at ILFORD Galerie Bangkok in February 2019. I made my first US sale in May 2019, donating the proceeds to benefit The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE). Since then, I have shown work at the Hotel Art Fair in Bangkok, and in 2020, I will participate in The Other Art Fair Sydney.
You can read more about Bryce’s professional experience here.
‘The only rule is that there are no rules’
– DEL CLOSE
Talk me through your creative process
I never follow any hard and fast rules for my workflow and process. In general, I start with taking the image, selecting the best image in a collection or series, choosing the medium (paper) for printing, and lastly mounting and/or framing
1. Taking the Image
In a normal situation, prior to Covid19, my aim is to visit new cities that I have never visited before, to gain inspiration for my work. I love immersing myself in the people and energy the city, meeting the locals, and observing their daily lives. Each town has its unique culture that inspires the photographer in me. I can spend the entire day walking on the streets, taking images that I find interesting – portraits of strangers, street scenes, animals, or unusual shapes, patterns, and colours. I find beauty in all of it.
2. Image Selection
Having taken images, I select the best images and give them a rating. Great images need to have outstanding elements, such as moments, compositions, shadows, colours, lines, shapes, and patterns.
3. Medium Choice
Choosing a medium for printing is critical. I chose ILFORD Textured Cotton Rag (310gsm) and ILFORD Galerie Canvas Natural (340 gsm) to help bring out the images’ details and colours.
4. Mounting and/or Framing
The correct mounting and framing choice can have a significant impact on how viewers see your artworks. For my debut exhibition, I printed the pictures on ILFORD Cotton Rag, mounted them on Gator foamboard with archival tape, and framed them with ILFORD Galerie Frame Shallow Gab. For a subsequent exhibition of the same series, I chose to use images on ILFORD Galerie Canvas stretched and framed with ILFORD Gloating Frame. I was delighted with the outcome.
Has the Pandemic affected your practice?
Of course, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is unmeasurable. It is affecting the world population as a whole. It is restricting my travel for photography. Particularly during the first few months of lockdown, I questioned myself a lot; I started to doubt myself and lost motivation, and everything stopped for me. But when the situation improved, I decided to start being more active again. That led to me enrolling in an online mentorship workshop with Laura Pannack to help rediscover and fine-tune my journey in art photography. I started to study the history of art and began experimenting with various forms and techniques used by other famous artists and photographers to create my new body of work.
Finally, how would you advise artists beginning their career?
Here are my “7 Do Nots”, which I hope will be useful to those starting out on this journey. (1) Do not be discouraged. (2) Do not fear failure, criticism and rejection. (3) Do not stop learning and practising. (4) Do not be a copycat but learn from others. (5) Do not stop discovering yourself. (6) Do not be afraid of asking for help.