Jim Hwang started his career on Wall Street, working on the commodities exchange. Long story short, after 9/11, he lost his job and found work through a friend’s then girlfriend working for a photographer who turned out (unbeknownst to Jim) to be one of the most notorious old school paparazzi (Ron Galella), whose storied career involved being sued by Jackie Onassis and having his teeth knocked out by Marlon Brando. After working in his office and shooting some press events, Jim realized how much the nature of shooting celebrity images was just like working in the pits at the NYBOT. The similarities actually outweigh the differences.
From there, he helped transition Ron Galella into the digital world and convinced him to work with WireImage as a distribution partner. He has been with WireImage/Getty Images for collectively almost 8 years and has transferred his knowledge of audio production and avid photography hobby into shooting, editing, producing and managing the NY group of Getty Images Editorial Video. Jim’s team covers all entertainment related events from a video coverage perspective in NY, including New York Fashion Week and they travel regularly for Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival, Grammys, Emmys, Oscars, Miami Fashion Week, among many, many others.
ASIANCE: What is your background, education and ethnicity?
Jimmy: I was born and raised in New Jersey where I attended both Rutgers and NYU. My mother is from China and immigrated to Taiwan. My father is from Taiwan. Eventually they both immigrated to the US.
ASIANCE: Any memorable event/story from photographing sticks out in your mind?
Jimmy: Too many to list, but a few include: when we interviewed Elmo about toilet training; shooting James D Watson of DNA Double Helix fame at the amfar party at Cannes 2 years ago.
ASIANCE: Who/What is the most lucrative “get” right now?
Jimmy: Justin Beiber
ASIANCE: Who/What is ALWAYS the most lucrative “get” right now?
Jimmy: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise and anyone with celebrity drama.
ASIANCE: If you weren’t a photographer what would you be doing?
Jimmy: Running a pineapple farm and doing graphic design in my downtime.
ASIANCE: How can someone get involved and make $$ off of photography?
Jimmy: Join istockphoto!
ASIANCE: What Asian celebrities are an important “get”?
Jimmy: Zang Ziyi and Ang Lee