Photo Credits: Yakosu Umana
Weiqi Tang grabbed her camera and headed to Victoria park oblivious to the wholesome encounter she’ll have with a stranger.
She stopped an old woman walking by, and asked her permission to take a portrait photo for a project.
The woman agreed.
After taking the photo, Tang followed up with a question.
“What is one thing you’ll likely remember from the pandemic?”
Tang pulled out her phone to record the woman’s response, and before she hit the record button, she saw tears roll out of the woman’s eyes.
“My son is in Tennessee and he wasn’t able to come home,” the old woman answered, in a sobbing voice.
Such an emotional encounter is one of the reasons Tang loves photography.
“[It’s] the genuine connection you can have with people you meet for the first time and the trust you can have,” she said.
Tang is a fourth-year UPEI student from China, enrolled in the Applied Communication, Leadership and Culture (ACLC) program.
Her passion for photography began three years ago when she borrowed a roommate’s camera she saw lying around.
She didn’t know how to take good photos nor edit, however, her friends loved her first few photos.
Their happiness motivated her to continue taking more, Tang said.
“I just felt this pure joy that I can do something that makes people really happy.”
Since then, she has taken over 3000 photos.
Tang has used a digital camera to take photos, but she prefers using an SLR film camera.
Such a camera requires you to be patient and meticulous, she said.
“It really slows you down to think about composition, ISO and shutter speed before you click the shutter.”
The process makes her a better photographer, she said.
“It forces you to learn how to capture the moment. It makes you follow your gut feeling.”
Her favourite forms of photography are street and documentary photography.
“I like the human connection you can feel from the photos,” she told the Cadre.
Photography is her form of storytelling, she said.
“That’s what I feel like I’m doing [when taking photos], I’m documenting my interactions with the people around me. Friends and strangers.”
Tang plans to create a photobook and online portfolio of her photos, in future.
Her most recent photography project was telling the stories of how Islanders would remember the pandemic. It can be found here: https://www.weiqitang.net/photography/6-feet-apart