How Rhetorical Photography became a Mainstream Business for this young startup Entrepreneur

How Ivan Wong, secured projects with Sony, Google Pixel, and even Dua Lipa through staying ahead of the crowd

By
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

The 21st century brought a significant change in the lives of people as a new and virtual world of the Internet was introduced. Even though the Internet came into existence to solve the lesser-known problems of humankind, eventually it bloomed and revolutionized in the past decade. Today it has become a platform of media exchange, business, sharing of information, recreation, service provider, and many more. It has diversified its purpose and has become a wider platform to serve its audience.

Ivan Wong

The Internet brought in itself the power to connect artists, art and its audience with each other so that a fruitful exchange can take place. As technological advancement transpired the artistic world and the Internet blossomed to inculcate more of user-generated content, the rhetorical expression of photography birthed. Photography, which was initially perceived as a source to capture has now become a form of art that allows its artists behind the camera to express their creativity. One such artist, Ivan Wong is a fine example of an artist born through the internet. Wong is a New York-based photographer who came to the limelight by sharing his rooftopping photos on social media. His journey for this art began after he graduated from the University of Southern California. After landing a job as a management consultant in a big company, Wong traversed through his passion: photography and made it big. 

Inspiration, the springboard for creativity

An entrepreneurial journey begins with inspiration. Inspiration opens us to new opportunities and possibilities by helping us to overcome our ordinary experiences and limitations. Wong’s attention was lured by the buildings, skyscrapers, and architectural structures around the city. The falling sun in the midst of a vivid abendrot, the light of the night sky falling on these structures developed an ecstatic feeling in him. Wong has always found his inspiration in the architecture around him. After Roger Felton introduced the concept of architectural photography, which was highly scrutinized over the century, but artists like Wong have taken the art to a new dimension by experimentation and innovations. When he first saw a video of someone climbing a crane on YouTube, his mind implored him to see the possibilities to find a way to explore the same. 

Staying ahead of the crowd

In the digital space, trends play a pivotal role in determining what content is consumed and appreciated by the audience. To stay ahead of the competition , an entrepreneur should focus on developing a niche and delivering quality over quantity content while keeping the algorithms in mind. It suffices to say that Wong’s journey commenced as the roof topping trend gained popularity. Wong was one of the ones leading this trend on Instagram, which drew him a lot of fame and attention from around the globe. This has led him to be able to connect to so many like-minded photographers wherever he traveled, such as Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai and others where rooftopping was also taking off. As he grew more interested in photography, he eventually began to explore abandoned locations, where he was able to be more creative. Eventually, when rooftopping became too mainstream and unsafe, Ivan had already started experimenting with other forms of photography and seeing what his camera could do, especially when it pertains to natural light. This led him to explore more in the realm of portraits, light trails, and compositions, and photoshop that can be used to enhance the light in his work and bring his creativity to life.

His love for photography has let him capture some magnificent wonders of humankind and nature. The serenity of his pictures has led him to some major success. Wong’s photography caught Sony’s attention and he became a founding member of the Sony Alpha Imaging Collective, hand-picked by Sony to represent their brand. Likewise, in mobile, he was picked up by Google as a founding member of Team Pixel to represent the Pixel phone’s camera. Given his substantial accomplishments and participation in the scope of contemporary photography, Wong is well known for many of his remarkable records. He produced artwork for Dua Lipa in “Alita: The Battle Angel”, filmed the music video from the ‘Continuum’ album, ‘Tidal,’ for Shook, created the cover art for “Lace-up” and “Empire” by Wengie, and co-produced the music video for JVNA’s “I’m With You,” among others.

Pursuit of passion

It's the persistent pursuit of passion coupled with strategic learning and innovation that drives people to realize their dream. Growing up Ivan’s family was impoverished so he never knew anything about photography or touched a camera. His creativity was well manifested through his drawing, so he was named “Most Creative” in middle school and high school. But because of the circumstances, he felt like he could never live up to the title and didn’t think any passion or hobby in creative fields would be an option for him as he needed to focus on earning an income and providing for his family. But this did not stop him from pursuing his dream. Alongside consulting, he became an internet sensation with his photography.

"Photography is an outlet to hone my creativity outside of consulting, which is driven more by numbers and facts whereas I can be abstract with photography," Wong said, “It has many categories, and each requires a different set of eyes and skills. While fundamentals are common, it’s also important to grow tailored skills in these areas,” he adds.

Wong rose to popularity with his unique and distinguished photography- inception style photos, light trail photography, and colorful portraits. He has an audience of 130k followers on Instagram.

Wong believes photography is a way to reach out to the people and animate human emotions in a nonconventional way. The art and artists go alongside as they explore a way to manifest live sentiments. Today photography has taken him to great heights, from where his vision is more accurate. Photography for Ivan has opened a door to numerous opportunities that have helped him grow as a person. Ivan says, “It comes as no surprise that photography is a highly competitive industry, therefore establishing an identity is the only way to separate yourself from every other photographer in the business.” His beliefs have led him to a way to create a distinct identity and a never-ending legacy.

Parwinder Singh

Written By

'Parwinder Singh, known as 'ProSingh' is a growth consultant for millennial age startups, specializing in the digital arena.