PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT: Felicia Chang
The Photographer Spotlight is a recurring feature on the DFP Education Blog, where we chat with a member of the Documentary Family Photographers Community so we can get to know them better.
We will get into the swing of this new blog feature by kicking things off with the moderators of our group, and from there, we will spotlight members of the DFP Community.
Our first Spotlight is the talented Felicia Chang from Vancouver, Canada. Her willingness to offer insight and guidance in the DFP Community and to the genre as a whole, makes her an invaluable part of the DFP Moderator Team.
Tell us about yourself! Give us an uninhibited, short and snappy bio in 10 sentences or less:
I am Felicia Chang, a Documentary photographer and educator based in Vancouver but find any excuse to travel all over the world for work. I believe that connections are important and normal is relative, and all versions of life deserve visual space in photography. As a result, my photographs often reflect an intersection of complex frames and emotions. I consider myself an imperfectionist and a work in progress, and find fulfillment in learning or being out on the trails in nature. I live in North Vancouver, British Columbia, but home is wherever I am with my husband, two girls, Schnauzer-poodle best friend, and camera.
Do you photograph anything besides documentary work? If so, how do you balance that?
When the requests come my way, I take on commercial work because I enjoy collaborating with local business to help define their brand story. Once a year, I do shorter storytelling sessions and candid portraits with returning families, and once in a while, I will donate my time for the annual family photo fundraiser at my girls’ school.
Are there any projects you are currently working on? Tell us about them.
My mind is constantly simmering with ideas for personal projects. My current focus is on infertility awareness. I am working on a long-term project with a woman who has been trying to conceive a baby for almost 5 years. She has decided that waiting for the right partner is not the answer, so she has taken the helm and is charting this course on her own. I am documenting and interviewing her as she undergoes this chapter of trying to conceive. As with any of my work, the goal is always to help reduce stigma, normalize the perception, and open up the conversation. The reality is, 1 in 6 women (in North America) have a hard time conceiving but no one is talking about it much because it is considered a taboo subject.
No holds barred, I would love to spend a week per season photographing the Indigenous community of Cambridge Bay in Nunavut. I spent a good number of years there as a geologist, traversing the landscape and working alongside the Inuit people. It would mean so much to be able to return and see it all again through my photographic lens.
What do you struggle with and how do you overcome those struggles?
Often, I have questions like “Are my photos saying anything meaningful?”, “Am I working hard enough, advocating for these people’s voices?”. Some days I struggle with finding the motivation to photograph anything and when it comes to my own family’s everyday life, I am heavy with guilt because I haven’t documented much. Admittedly, parenting and photographing my girls don’t co-exist well. And always, I struggle with being a business owner.
How do I overcome all of them? I don’t most times; I just chug along at snail’s pace.
If you could give other photographers one piece of advice, what would it be?
Believe that your voice can be your own.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today, Felicia.
And for our readers, meet us back in the Facebook group and join the discussion where you can ask Felicia more questions.