Black and white comes to life with Craig Phang Sang
The fine photographs of Craig Phang Sang can be experienced in sophisticated black-and-white still lifes or grand landscapes with a distinct personal style. In a world where the high definition of colour seems to reign supreme, Phang Sang takes his photography to new-found artistic heights by depicting his images in classic black and white.
Craig Phang Sang's intention is to share not only his art, but to stimulate positive thoughts and emotions. In doing so, he captures images of Jamaica from a unique perspective, seeking out inspiring people and situations as his subjects in his travels across the island.
"I find locations and go back and start a series. Using my eyes to navigate, I find angles that no one else sees or has an interest in other than the obvious. Every one of my pictures tells a story. You can look at it and see the real meaning of the story," Phang Sang said.
With his history of working in the film and television industry, he said it is natural for him to think of everything as a story. "There is a beauty within the Jamaican people that isn't found elsewhere. Everywhere I go, stories automatically come to me. Sometimes I wish I could tell people all the stories that are in my mind," Phang Sang said.
His passion for fine-art photography took a journey through the realm of film before arriving at the exhilarating destination of stills. He returned to Jamaica in 1980 to open a studio, Video Max Production, designed to produce radio and video programmes. After 10 years, he decided to work independently in television and film production.
He then saw that there was a greater demand for equipment within the film industry, and became a dealer for Sony Recording Media and providing Sony professional equipment, selling practically anything that had to do with motion pictures in a company called Advitek Systems Limited.
"Being in sales did not satisfy my creative side. I went out and bought my first camera and did a swimsuit shoot. I uploaded the images to social media and people liked it and asked if I could have pictures of them done," Phang Sang said.
AT ONE WITH PEOPLE
"I started walking around and saw things I could do similar to using video camera. I got to like the experience of capturing images of Jamaican people, places, things, and traditions. I even get into communities that others find a difficulty going into. I am at one with the people," he added.
On any given weekend, Phang Sang would take his camera, get in his car, and head in any direction. He jokingly remembered his wife calling him one day enquiring of his whereabouts and she was shocked to learn he had ended up in Montego Bay.
Photography has become Phang Sang's passion, to capture and preserve in time the natural beauty of our social and geographical landscape, and the indomitable spirit of our people, capturing not only the warmth of our smiles, but the hope in our hearts.
"I see passion in the photographs. When I go on location, the last thing I do is take the camera to my eyes. I find an angle utilising the five senses - I look, smell, taste, listen, and feel. I feel the emotion, and as soon as a story comes to my mind, it is then that I raise the camera to my eye and everything falls into place," Phang Sang said.
He said he appreciates the nuances of black and white photography.
"Colour is when you want to see things just as they are. Black and white is the soul and subject of things you would not normally see," he said.
The response to his work has been phenomenal. He was honoured when Father Ho Lung asked him to accompany him to Uganda and Kenya to follow him on his life's journey.
F&B Downtown (Swiss Store), located in downtown Kingston, also showcases Phang Sang's pictures.