CraftSanity Episode 151: Documenting beauty with minimalist photographer, Wei Shyuan “Stone” Peng

stonepeng-1-4-Umbrellas

There is beauty all around us, but when we’re busy rushing from here to there and checking our phones we miss a lot.

This is where Wei Shyuan Peng comes in. By day he’s a hydrogeologist who adopted the nickname “Stone” while enrolled as a graduate student at Western Michigan University, and when he’s off the clock he’s a photographer armed with the Nikon D300 he been using for years because “that is good enough for me.”

stonepeng-photo-2Peng, 53, of Grand Rapids, likes to compose minimalist photos and is willing to spend hours waiting to capture just the right image. 

While visiting his parents in Taiwan in 2012, he waited four hours for the fog to roll in so he could capture the image of four people carrying umbrellas across a bridge against a foggy backdrop.

Much of Peng’s photography focuses on a single subject such as the one of a leafless tree standing with purpose against a sloping, snow-cover landscape in southern Kent County. While there is much bustling action in the world to photograph, Peng prefers to brave the cold and wait for a blanket of snow or a wall of fog to take his signature photos. 

“The main reason is life is too complicated,” he said, explaining his minimalist approach. “I try to make it simple, make it easy. When I go through nature, I feel a very minimal subject… The Chinese philosophy of life, the principle is ‘less is more’ and ‘empty is full.’ I don’t want it too complicated. People can feel (a) more emotional feeling from when you see a simplified subject.”

You can read the rest of my column about Peng over at MLive.com and tune into this week’s podcast to hear him tell his story. Then grab your camera and head out to document the beauty you find.

One more thing
And don’t forget to check out Stone Peng’s minimalist photography at the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center.
• When: He will be the featured artist Jan. 8 – 29 and will be greeting guests at a reception from 6 to 7 p.m. Jan. 15.
• Where: 600 Forest Hill Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI
• For more info.: visit: fhfineartscenter.com and stonepeng.com.

Something NEW! – Podcast listeners will notice a new theme song this week. I’ll be sharing the backstory soon. (Dear Patreon sponsors, you will be getting the scoop ASAP. Stay tuned for your preview message.)

Gratitude: I want to take a moment to thank my Patreon sponsors and ACS Home and Work, for sponsoring this podcast for the last several months. It’s a great privilege to be able to continue to produce a free show with community support. It remains my dream to have CraftSanity become a full-time business as opposed to the side project it’s been since we launched in 2006.

acshomeandwork-300x124I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels to use for my printmaking and embroidery projects. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast. (Thank you!!) ** After honing my printing making skills for roughly two years, I will be finally selling my handprinted tea towels in the CraftSanity Etsy shop in 2015. I use ACS towels and love the finished product.

Local West Michigan listeners can shop ACS products at the Red Door, 6837 Lake Michigan Dr, in Allendale Charter Township. It’s the ACS outlet and also a pickup location for locals who want to order flour sack tea towels and other goods and skip the shipping costs. Visit Red door for a variety of tea towels and other home goods.

Become a sponosor – In 2015, I am excited to be continuing my partnership with ACS. I will also be looking to add a couple sponsors who sell products or services that I believe in and can enthusiastically endorse. If you own a business and interested in a partnership, please get in touch, but understand that I won’t be accepting random ads for products that I am unfamiliar with out of respect for my audience.)

If you’re not looking to dive into a partnership with me, but enjoy the podcast and want to help keep it afloat, consider making a $1 per month donation via my Patreon page. Doing so gets you access to sneak peeks to CraftSanity happenings and projects and automatic entry to all CraftSanity giveaways. If you don’t have the means to contribute, no worries. I plan to keep providing CraftSanity to the masses free of charge. If you like the show, simply spread the word or send me story ideas. Those are great ways help me keep the momentum going, too. Thanks so much for your continued support. I’m really looking forward to collaborating with more of you in 2015! Happy holidays, everyone!

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