Renowned S'pore photographer's favourite subject is Jackie Chan

Renowned S'pore photographer's favourite subject is Jackie Chan
MEMORABLE: A photo of action superstar Jackie Chan taken by celebrity photographer Russel Wong.

To win their hearts, you must first fill their stomachs.

No, this is no adage for finding a spouse.

For celebrity photographer Russel Wong, feeding his famous sitters their favourite food is the secret behind his star-studded portfolio of portrait photography.

He has photographed big names such as US singer Michael Jackson, actor Tom Cruise, cellist Yo Yo Ma and Hong Kong actor Chow Yun Fat, among others.

The Singaporean's pictures have appeared on the covers of Time, GQ and Elle, among others.

Before each shoot, Mr Wong, 53, spends hours researching his subject and finding out what puts him or her at ease, including the person's diet.

"Everyone has their idiosyncrasies. I do my research and talk to their manager. It's a form of respect and they appreciate it," he says.

These were some techniques that Mr Wong, touted to be the first Singaporean to break into the Hollywood movie industry, shared at a smartphone photography workshop organised by Oppo yesterday afternoon for 30 lucky readers of The New Paper. (See other report.)

He became a "celebrity photographer who photographs celebrities" after joining a renowned modelling agency and carving out a name for himself in international fashion photography.

"Working with celebrities, you need a game plan and a visual that you have to explain to them. I can't do what I want to do if they don't want to help me out," he says.

"The photo-taking process is just two per cent of the whole thing."

RAPPORT

The result is he gets the rapport he needs to carry out his ideas for a fashion spread.

Even if a star is not feeling well, he is able to charm him to "perform" in front of the camera.

Says Mr Wong: "It's not that I want to shoot famous people only. But these are people who have achieved much in their craft, whether as an author or a rock star, and they enter the pop culture consciousness. I want to document that."

His most memorable subject? It has to be Jackie Chan, he quickly answers.

"I've photographed a lot of people... But my favourite will have to be Jackie because he's always fun and crazy. He always wants to create an amazing image and nothing scares him," he says.

I've photographed a lot of people... But my favourite will have to be Jackie because he's always fun and crazy. He always wants to create an amazing image and nothing scares him. - Russel Wong on his most memorable celeb photo subject, action superstar Jackie Chan

ngjunsen@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 17, 2015.
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