Showcase 05 Oct 2017

Photostories: Explore the geometry of a city through Victor Cheng’s minimal frames

The Toronto-based creative has a great affinity towards cities. He makes use of various architectural elements in a city to compose clear and sharp images. His photographs are composed with great attention to detail, like shapes, sizes, colours and patterns.

Victor Cheng makes use of natural light, an architectural background and a human element to compose clean, symmetrical photographs. Inspired by cities and their cultures, Victor has a keen eye for detail and works with lines and patterns to compose his photographs. Victor makes use of a wide range of elements including real life shapes, colours and arrangements to create pointed imagery. In this article on CQ, we explore what makes his work unique in capturing cityscapes. {{image-1}}{{image-2}}

Cities and context; how they influence his work 

As a traveller, Victor Cheng takes a step back from the fast-paced city life to capture the various elements of a city that are unique to that particular city. He has an affinity for urban settings or urbanity and a majority of his photographs involve skylines, cityscapes, buildings and streets. On many occasions, the perspectives he chooses, show the structures, the shapes and lines of a city that one generally overlooks, as mundane or usual. {{image-3}}

It is easy to get lost in the vastness of a city, and this is exactly what Victor’s photographs highlight. He explores the smaller, less intimidating elements of a city and adds a whimsical take, to show the flipside of these cities. “To be honest, it is actually quite hard to capture ‘clean and minimal’ features of a city that is all about hustle and bustle. But, I guess that's just the beauty of exploring and discovering places that can show the different side,” he explains.{{image-4}}  

“To be honest, it is actually quite hard to capture ‘clean and minimal’ features of a city that is all about hustle and bustle. But, I guess that's just the beauty of exploring and discovering places that can show the different side” 

Victor’s area of work has taken him to various cities across the world which in turn has led him to capture their differences. He grew up in Toronto and recently moved to Hong Kong. The photographs showcase the positive vibes, artistic features and culture of Toronto and are naturally differentiated from those of Hong Kong which capture the cosmopolitan nature and concrete structures. Elaborating, he says, “This city (Hong Kong) will definitely make you feel insignificant when you're trying to catch a train during rush hour. As compared to Canada, it feels as if life is always being played at twice the speed.”{{image-5}}

Visual composition and aesthetic

Victor’s photographs are minimalist, sharp and precisely composed; sometimes orchestrated whereas, sometimes just capturing a blissful moment. He tweaks the elements to suit his style. His work shows an inclination towards geometric lines, patterns and shapes present in the city.{{image-6}}

Especially lines play an important role in his photography since they lead the eye of the viewer to the object that he wants them to focus on. He also makes use of lines to connect various elements in the image together. He uses two basic colours in most of his photographs and aligns them into distinct shapes, patterns and styles to create an organised frame.{{image-7}} 

Victor has a unique style of composition as well. Victor says, “Composition definitely plays a major element for a photograph. It's what you want in the this rectangle box. My process of composing for a photograph is always looking through the viewfinder and not only focusing on what is in the middle of the shot, but also observing the surroundings within. Once I am happy with everything that will be included in the shot, I push the shutter button.”{{image-8}}

Victor Cheng’s photographs stand apart in terms of technique, style and composition allowing the viewers to take in the nuances of a city. The minor detailing and the minimalistic style allows viewers to look at any city through a different lens. 

Cities are vast mysterious creatures - and though a photo speaks a million words - cities can’t be captured in frames or lenses. On the contrary, Victor’s photos present the same cities in a contrasting view; it represents smaller moments and not their vastness. What might seem like a solitary pedestrian crossing the road in his photos, might in reality be one in a thousand in that city, but captured in the right composition, the images can be graphically striking, as Victor’s are. 

Take a look at some of Victor Cheng’s other interesting work here