Ieong Pan Man is a conceptual photographer from Macau. His interest in photography arose out of his work in an advertising company, where he used a camera as a regular part of his job. His style of photography came out of using different elements and combining them with his own photographs to create his art pieces.
Can you explain a bit what conceptual photography is?
Compared to traditional photography, the camera plays an important part of the capturing of the moment like a documentary, but conceptual photography is not the same as the captured or documented moment. So it’s a different type of art form. In terms of conceptual photography, the camera is just a tool to record something, but compared with the traditional photography, what you capture is what the art is and it’s something real and the camera acts just as an eye. I have a metaphor—traditional photography is just like hunting, you just shoot and you get it, but conceptual photography is like a farmer, you have to plan and harvest it.
How would you describe your style?
In short, this is my belief as a human. In this scenario, it’s to build up something with the thought of life as a game. This game gives us a lot of emotion, like love, happiness, sadness, and many other feelings. It also builds up a lot of troubles, like troubles from the city, people, so this is what is happening in Macau and the people are all involved and playing the game. So these are the elements, the chips, are involved that I investigated and used these as materials to create my art. The chips gave the origins of this exhibition because it gave me a lot of thoughts such as desires for a lot of things. I think this is a strong symbol of the game and the origin of the issues in Macau.
What about your artwork? Is it all based on Macau’s lifestyle? What is the inspiration?
Part of it is the lifestyle, what I tell and make people feel is the current status of Macau. This is really like the origin of Macau.
What type of equipment/programs do you use?
So the process of creating my art is, first I go to a casino and grab some chips and use my camera to capture the chips into photos and use Photoshop to manipulate the piece.
Which one of the works here would be your favorite or you are proudest of making?
This is a difficult question, as you can see the number of works here is not so many, because for each, the construction and the layout is unique and I used a lot of different angles and perspective to showcase the mountain scenario and everything else. I can’t simply pick one.
What about favorite spots to take pictures in Macau?
I think the Cotai Strip is the best spot in terms of this exhibition. Imagine if you put a camera there for ten years, then you will capture the transition of the changes in those years.
What about some unforgettable experience? A special moment in taking photographs in your career?
The most unforgettable moment that I remember is the year 2011, I was in Sichuan, and I was in a car and passed by a little girl on the road carrying bottles of beer which were left on the road. This moment was unforgettable because after I took a photo of the girl, I followed her to her family and all of her siblings were all gathering the bottles from everywhere, and I saw her licking the bottles to make them cleaner before selling them. The little girl was afraid that I was going to steal her bottles away from her, so that’s why I think this is unforgettable.
What about these photos that you put in your solo Conceptual Photography exhibition? Can you talk about them?
These three are the different angles of how Macau is, this first one was from the plane and I took pictures of the cloud, the next one is from the boat to Hong Kong, and the last one is the picture of how the casinos stand in Macau. This picture relates to paradise or heaven but in Macau, because a lot of people come to Macau to gamble or make money, this is the dreamland, that’s the reason why a lot of people stay. In fact, the position of the mountains is the same as the government planned the Cotai Strip, so that’s why I placed them liked that.
Is there anyone specific you would like to collaborate with in an exhibition or collaborate with in making art?
In fact, yes, I’m collaborating with someone right now, but the person isn’t confirmed yet so I cannot say anything about it now, and this exhibition took a lot of time so I think I will take a rest first before releasing another one.