EK Interview: Ting Cheng

art blog - Ting Cheng  - Empty Kingdom

 Ting Cheng, professional jumper, travels the world taking superb photographs.  We are here to share them with you, and his words as well.  Odd, intriguing, deep and colorful, Ting’s photography is nothing short of awesome.  Check out his interview:

Tell us about yourself.

Hi, my name is Ting.  I’m a photographer and visual artist based in London.  I’m originally from a beautiful island country Taiwan.  My dream is to visit Extraterrestrial Highway once in my life, so I am taking a driving course now. Another dream is to build a tree-house artist residency for poor young talented artists. So I might study gardening and wood working after receiving a driving license.


How long have you been a photographer?

I received my first toy camera when I was 17. It’s been ten years, I’ve always carried my camera around with me wherever I go.

Even though I don’t really know the technical part about cameras, and I ‘m barely taking photos now, but I still really like the idea that this tiny viewfinder sometimes forces me and reminds me to keep traveling and keep finding wildness around the world.

art blog - Ting Cheng - Empty Kingdom

Where do you go for inspiration when you’re feeling creatively drained?

I don’t think the creativity can be drained.  It’s more important for me to know what I want and what I’m looking for. However, there’re too many interesting things happening at the same time, and it’s so easy to be distracted.

I wish I could walk away from myself completely and say goodbye to the Internet.  It might work but I don’t know how.

art blog - Ting Cheng - Empty Kingdom

In your series “Late night shopping” the first photograph has smoke in it, where was the photo taken?  How did you get the smoke in the photo? 

I was a party photographer for an indie magazine while I just arrived in London. I was studying during the days and went to different parties during the nights. I borrowed an old huge DSLR camera from the school, but I didn’t know how to use it at all. I was too shy to talk to strangers, and my English didn’t work for fashion people at that time.

So I spent whole night dealing with my anxiety and shyness, I started to take photos while everyone’s gone. This picture was taken when the party was finished, about 5 in the morning. Only smoke machine and I were still awake.

art blog - Ting Cheng - Empty Kingdom

What’s it like shooting while it’s snowing?

Having Ice-cream with sensitive teeth.


How long did “Fishy Fishy Fishy” take to photograph?  What did you do to the photographs to achieve the effect?

It took about 2 hours at taking photos. I spent more time on editing them as a stop motion afterwards.

A friend and I we found this triangle playground randomly while we were cycling.

Then I got an idea that it would be nice if we could swim through it. So we tried to make it immediately with a shitty digital camera and no tripod.

When I looked back to all my photos, each images were in different positions, it’s hard to see a motion from them. So I spent quit a while using Photoshop to put them together back to the same position. The quality looks a bit Lo-Fi, because I didn’t know any faster way to make it.


How do you find a location to shoot at?  When you find a great location, how do you remember it?

Most of the locations in my photos are nearby my area.

I like to walk through all the little streets and alleys each time I moved to a new place. It’s difficult to forget the location if I have a strong idea in mind, I will keep it with me all the time if I can’t do anything immediately.

art blog - Ting Cheng - Empty Kingdom

In “Keep on Floating” many of your subjects are bent in half, or doubled up, what meaning are you trying to convey with this?

It was a strange period in my life. I wasn’t sure why I did that at the time. But when I look back to myself. I was trying to against my boredom after graduating from the art school.

I had a strong feeling that I wanted to go somewhere far away; I wanted to see the world, feel the space, finding all the wildness and differences between me and others.

I had an idea that, when I have nothing, then I could have more freedom to become whatever I want. I can be a tree, a mountain, a stone, a plastic bag, and I can keep on floating wherever I go. And there’s nothing you need to pay in your imagination.

In “Keep on floating”, I was trying to play and interact with everything I found it interesting from the street. I left some temporary marks on it through my body, just like some tourist photos to demonstrate “I was there”.


What camera are you currently using?  How’d you decide to pick it?

 I like point-and-shoot camera, the simpler the better!

Instead of spending time on adjusting aperture or shutter speed, just “Click” then “Done”. It makes me feel that I am capturing the ideas through my eyes.

I am currently using Fujifilm Klasse W film camera. I just received it few months ago. I’ve been looking for a nice compact film camera for a while.  I want it have wide angle, built-in flash, light and pocket size. I think this camera is just what I want.

 art blog - Ting Cheng - Empty Kingdom

When choosing models for your work, what do you look for?  How do you screen people or find subjects that are willing to work under your confinements?  How do you put together your wardrobe?

Most of the models are my friends, I think it’s important for both of us feeling comfortable and trusting each other.

I know sometimes the processes were a bit awkward or uncomfortable.  But If we consider it as a game or an adventure, and thinking about we probably won’t experience it once again in our life. Then we can all go for it, and be brave to have fun.

There’s nothing to do with my wardrobe, there’s a volcano inside.  It’s dangerous seriously.


Would you rather fly or teleport?

I would like to fly with magic carpet.

art blog - Ting Cheng - Empty Kingdom