Abby Gong is a photographer whose photographs document the lives of her subjects and the ever-changing landscapes in which
they find themselves. Her raw, unvarnished work brings to mind Robert Frank and early Nan Goldin.
Though she abandoned early dreams of becoming a painter, her compositions
and choice of subject matter point to an artistic impulse that is at once instinctual and informed.
To hear her tell it Gong’s camera is an ambassador, mediating between her and people in worlds
she would never be able to connect with on her own. She conveys intellectual and emotional depth
without the benefit of words. Her camera does it for her.
Tell us about your childhood. Where did you grow up?
I was born in Taiwan, Taichung City in 1991. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a painter. After I entered high school and
began to study commercial design I came to the realization that painting was much too hard for me. Gradually I became curious
about other people’s lifestyles, and I wanted to tell their stories to somebody; so, I began to use my camera to communicate with
others. In a way photography has helped me overcome my shyness when speaking with other people.
What was your first encounter with photography?
Around 2008, my dad gave me his old camera (a Nikon FM2). At first, I used it to record daily life events.
After entering college, I met many artists and designers and I began collaborating with them on some interesting projects.
What would you describe as your photographic obsession?
Photography offered me a chance to get to know people who would otherwise be complete strangers to me in a close and unique way. It’s like how most relationships work: they’re based on communication and trust… it’s so difficult to describe in words.
I am so very pleased to have people willing to share their daily moments with me.
Right now, my goal is to show an individual person in photos, without it being tied down to a specific narrative.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
My friends. They are my source of creativity.
Where would you like to live?
I would like to live a life of self-imposed seclusion in a wild desert.
What photography/photographers do you most admire?
Nikki S. Lee. She’s awesome.
Your favorite artist?
Your favorite musician?
The quality you most admire in a person (man or woman)?
Simplicity, and having good character.
Your most marked characteristic?
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
I would like to be an optimistic person.
When/Where are you happiest?
Special Thanks to:
On Kit & Nicky