This Week’s Featured Influencer is Toronto Photographer Robert Reyes Ong @therobong.
Robert’s Instagram feed centres around photographs with sharp lines and people. He has a solid assortment of striking architecture shots and portraits of Toronto from street level to way up above. We catch up with him and find out what creators inspired him to dust off the camera and start shooting.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from the Philippines, and moved to Toronto around the age of 12.
How did you grow up?
Growing up my family I moved to different cities a lot, so it was hard to really get to know people, till this day I like keeping my circle small.
What were you like as a kid?
As a kid, no matter what school I went to I was always known as the “class clown,” which got me in a lot of trouble as a kid. Eventually, I learned not everyone can take jokes. Now it takes me a while to warm up to a person, for the most part I seem very introverted.
What were you doing before you started creating?
For as long as I can remember till around the age of twelve, I was extremely interested in art (painting, drawing, etc) and would watch shows like Art Attack to try and learn new things. I would spend all day just constantly creating images.
Around the age of thirteen I was introduced to sports competitively and fell in love with it. I would try competing in almost every sport. I was on the football, rugby, track, cross country, ultimate frisbee, basketball, and baseball team. Around the age of twenty one I started getting injured frequently, and from there on I just hung up the cleats. Here and there I still enjoy playing some pick up games.
How did you get started?
I owned a DSLR since I was around seventeen, but never really started shooting consistently until a couple of years ago when I met Oscar (@416shots) and Jobe (@Mr.Jobeezy), from there I got hooked, and I try photographing whenever I have the time.
What are your favourite tools? Where do you get your best work done?
My favourite tool is my Wacom tablet, it speeds up my working process and allows me to fine tune the smaller things more precise. I always want to work anywhere quiet (and if possible somewhere dim). I’m pretty much a lone wolf, I don’t like having a lot of people around when I work.
What are your dreams?
I would love to travel the world, and photograph current events. Not to be rich, if I’m only getting by than I’m honestly fine with that. I just want to see as much of the world, enjoy it and make the most out of my life. Currently, I’m in school for photography to fine tune my photography skills, and hopefully at the end of it I can land a photojournalism job.
In 10 years what will you be doing?
In ten years, I can honestly still see myself enjoying what I do. My interests of what I want to photograph might change; but photography itself I’ll still enjoy.
What is your favourite place in the world?
My favourite place in the world has to be Los Angeles, hands down. I absolutely love everything about that city, just being there instantly gets me in a relaxed mood. I’m not planning to move out of Toronto, but if I were to pick a city to move to, it would be Los Angeles!
What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as someone that captured historical events and going to places not a lot of people would want to go to. All the things going on in the Middle East right now; honestly, intrigues me. I would love a chance to document it and see it first hand. It’d be great to leave an impact on the photography world like Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Joel Meyerowitz.
Check out Robert’s feed here.