Seared short ribs nestled in a cast iron vessel, surrounded by cremini mushrooms, garlic, and ever essential mirepoix. An elegant arc of tuna ceviche, enhanced with fresh papaya, vibrant lime green kiwis, and paper-thin, magenta-hued watermelon radish. A crystal clear glass set atop a rustic gray wooden table, highlighting the bright garnet hue of a Spanish wine.
Tantalizing and visually stunning, these are the photos of Wing Ta, the Minneapolis-based photographer behind Canary Grey. For almost two years, Wing has taken readers on visual culinary expeditions through the lens of her Canon, capturing chefs and their edible masterpieces in The Growler’s Minnesota Spoon column. But when it came time to select a principal photographer for our March issue, focused on the philosophy of minimalism, the choice was clear. Wing’s aesthetic—sleek, clean, open spaces, highly purified forms and structures—was the perfect fit to bring each of the articles in the issue to life.
Wing collaborated with our editor-in-chief, Joseph Alton, to co-art direct the entire March issue. “From the concept stage through the entire layout process, Wing brought her eye for clean, modern design to the table to help us produce what I think is the most beautiful issue of The Growler to date,” says Alton. “We are exceptionally fortunate to get to feature Wing’s work in The Growler each month, and her ability to help tell a story with pixels will never cease to amaze me.”
“[My aesthetic is] minimalistic and uncomplicated—and how I approach life generally,” she says. “I’m inspired by the simple things—the design, a creative collaboration, or a good story.”
After an artistic childhood with her “countless sketchbooks” and on-stage performances, it was photography that truly lit the creative spark within Wing. “Even though my father was an avid hobby photographer, I found photography as my medium of choice later in life and it changed the way I became an artist,” the 35-year-old reflects. “I was drawn into telling stories with my images and capturing life around me in the way I saw them exist for that moment.”
At that moment she found her true calling, Wing was working as a project consultant for an engineering firm. “I eventually felt drained not being able to pursue my creative passions as a career,” Wing says. At the same time she was working 40 to 50 hours a week, she was recreationally shooting nights and weekends, and booking some clients here and there for portraits and weddings. She balanced her corporate career and creative pursuits until 2010 when “the stars aligned,” she recalls, and she committed to photography full-time with Canary Grey.
In the eight years since, the self-taught photographer’s business has prospered into a visual content endeavor, drawing inspiration from her love of modern design, fine arts, and travel. As Wing specializes in all things lifestyle and sartorial, her clientele includes local and national collaborations, including The Growler, Domino Magazine, Kado no Mise, Spyhouse Coffee, Hackwith Design House, and recently, a campaign for Target’s new fragrance brand Good Chemistry.
As you peruse through The Growler’s March issue, take note of the art gracing page after page—pure, focused, simple. Compositions allowing room for the design to breathe a timeless beauty. Beauty captured in the frame of Wing Ta’s lens.
“Creating art and photography is how I express myself and it’s become and extension of me,” Wing says. “I see myself doing this for a very long time.”
Name: Wing Ta
Hometown: Prior Lake, MN
Currently Resides: Minneapolis, MN