Ian Tong is a New York-based photographer originally from Hong Kong. With over 15 years in the industry, his experience encompasses a wide range of commissioned and personal photographic work. A series of personal projects currently keeps him busy, taking him to memorable locales such as Stockholm and Shanghai.
Tong’s personal work is concerned with environmental and societal issues that has been recognized regularly and featured in various competitions. His work has been selected for the prestigious American Photography annuals 27, 28 and 30. Also of particular note is his inclusion in the Aperture Foundation 2014 summer open exhibition.
Ian has a BA from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada and a MFA degree from Pratt Institute, New York, NY.
A NOTE FROM IAN
“Utah with it’s amazing range of natural wonders is a wonderful place to visit and Salt Lake City, Utah’s capital, lends itself to be a natural starting point. For the most part, SLC is a prosperous and well off city. Despite so, downtown SLC around Pioneer Park there is a sizable gathering of homeless people. It’s a convenient location for the homeless to gather, as ‘The Road Home’ and a number of the city’s other shelters are located in the immediate area. In the park they hang out in groups and others panhandle on the sidewalks alone. Many of SLC’s homeless are quite young and unfortunately also appear to be suffering from substance abuse.
The Mormon Church is an influential presence and has a number of programs in support of the homeless population. Researching online, I read that the city has a housing first approach, which aims to move homeless people directly into their own homes regardless of their condition, thereby bypassing the shelter system entirely. Once they are off the street and into permanent housing, whatever health or drug issues they have are then addressed from that point onwards. This is taken to be a progressive approach and resulting studies found Salt Lake City and Utah to have one of the lowest homeless rates around the country."