Graduated from high school at the top of my class, I entered one China’s premiere universities for Media and Journalism, Zhejiang University of Media and Communications.
After a year of study and an internship, I still craved more of a challenge, so journeyed far from my comfort zone to attend SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology – a school that pushes the boundaries of art and new media technologies.
Within one short year, I’m already thriving both in and out of class - already being selected to show my work at juried conference at SFU (FCAT Undergraduate Conference) and leading a video series on students’ college life which are distributed on a 2000+ followers Facebook page.
I never imagined that I would have access to a photography course in my entire life. Photography in China represents a long-term fine art commitment and excludes any curious hobbyist from taking it up. Thankfully, my first semester at SFU introduced me to the world of light and shadow that I’ve wondered about for so long.
This sparked my love for photograph and as I tend to do, I dedicated myself completely to perfecting this craft. Before every class, I would secure a seat in the front row and with recorder fully charged, would tape the entire class while furiously taking notes. By consistently going back to my recordings, I was able to improve the quality of my work despite English being my second language. Even while juggling community service and extracurricular involvement, I managed to get that ‘A’ in my photography class – in spite of the fact I had never worked a DSLR camera before!
Great work has great quality, but it is the smart eye that turns constraints, obstacles, and unexpected factors into opportunities that make a great piece unique and ever-lasting.
Most of my works are purely independent. Throughout the production process, I was able to reach a deeper understanding on craftsmanship by experiencing almost every aspect of this media completely on my own. And I realized that if I want to grow fast, I need to learn from the best.
All content by Alfred Yi Zhang
Text edit and proofread by Scott Douglas Jacobsen