Chasing a dream, finding a culture

One piece of work from Vicky Cheng

One piece of work from Vicky Cheng

Vicky Cheng

Vicky Cheng

One piece of work from Vicky Cheng

Yunqi Yu, Reporter

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Vicky Cheng is a young Chinese photographer, who came to Perth three years ago, and is now studying a bachelor of Photomedia at ECU, while working at the Stay Innocent Photography Studio as a photographer.

Thinking back, Cheng smiled: “Before I came here, I worked in the law industry in China which everyone thought it’s a really good and stable job for people. However, I felt like it’s not the life I want. So I gave up everything and decided to come to Australia and study photomedia.”

It was with huge courage that Cheng started her dream journey and passion for the photography world in Western Australia, as it was such a large decision that was bound to have some  challenges.

“Language is the first and biggest difficulty for me. I even cannot talk with people at the beginning because my English was so poor.”

However, she told me that: “When I come here, I have determined that I will never give up my passion for photography except I die. English is hard, but giving up my dream is more difficult.”

Despite this confidence, the contemporary photography industry in Australia is highly competitive. According to the 2011 Australian Census, there are 9549 respondents indicating photographer as their main job. Compared with the photography market and total jobs available, it’s a brutal dog eat dog industry.

“Aside from language, how to adapt to Australia culture is also a big problem for me. I thought I was lost when I first started my study here.”

Cheng shared that she even wanted to hide her identity and what defined her as a person, as she tried to read lots of Australian literature and watched many Australian TV shows at the beginning in an attempt to understand the culture that she was going into.

And then one day she realised that this self-destructive path was wrong.

“I forgot different cultural background is the most useful weapon for me to chase my photography dream. Utilising Chinese culture and concept into my photography work, I found the real meaning why I love photography.”

Cheng stopped forcing herself to forget and cover up her Chinese background, and rather began to embrace it and even started to do some research about unique Chinese elements.

“With doing that, I felt like I become a real photographer. I am not just a photography student anymore.”

Her teacher, Kevin Ballantine, a lecturer in the School of Arts and Humanities at ECU, commented saying “Vicky is great. She puts many Chinese culture and elements into her work, which makes her works valuable.”

Cheng added, “I would like to suggest to all international students who plan to work in creative industry to never forget that your own cultural background is your most valuable thing and you will achieve a lot from it.

“Many people usually have the thoughts that Western culture is the best. However, they ignored there are no levels in different culture.”

After her huge efforts, Cheng got her first job as a photographer in Stay Innocent Photography Studio in Perth. Meanwhile, she got the promise that she could display her photography exhibition in Perth Centre for Photography Gallery for free.

“This is the best encouragement for me.”

Pursuing your dreams in life is never easy, sometimes people will bash you down and try to kill the dream for you, however the struggles and losses that you have will shape you to become a stronger and better person, and eventually if you keep in the right direction your dreams will come true.

As Cheng says: “I think I have the life what I want now. And I will never stop putting Chinese culture and Australian culture together.”

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About the Writer
Yunqi Yu, Reporter

Yunqi Yu is an ambitious young journalist and broadcaster at ECU, studying the Bachelor of Media and Communications and majoring Broadcasting. She is also an editor for an education and immigration company and is working on Chinese market expansion in Perth. Media, arts and literature is what she cannot give up in her life. It was just like God’s gift that she was chosen to take part in a broadcasting competition in China and achieved good results. After that, she fell in love with media, as well as singing, dancing and writing. She also has huge interest in talking with people from all over the world, seeing things she has never seen before and enjoying the diversity of different cultures. Her biggest dream is to be a documentary director and to record the valuable culture in the world.

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Chasing a dream, finding a culture