WE ARE PROUD OF OUR FIRST ISSUE, and also exceptionally excited about the team we have curated to bring this magazine to life. We are thrilled to introduce celebrity editorial photographer, Filbert Kung, as Visual Director of The House of Perez.
Originally from the Philippines, Kung has been a photographer for 16 years and has resided in a variety of places in the states, such as New York and Los Angeles, which he currently lives in.
“I grew up knowing all about cameras and photography as it lingered in my home, said Kung. “I learned and was inspired by watching my father take photos because he was a photographer as well.”
Therefore, Kung was naturally drawn to the craft and learned to shoot the way his father did. His father was his inspiration throughout his early years, as he’s duplicated much of his style of shooting. For Kung, holding a camera in his hands felt natural, as if it was an extension of himself. He is self taught, which resulted in all things photography arriving organically to him.
The pandemic, however, was a major challenge for Kung and his creativity. Not being able to connect with humanity or to feel, see, hear, smell nature through the salty ocean or the fresh pine scent of evergreens was a challenge, since these are key ingredients for his creativity.
Throughout this pandemic, social distancing was enforced, which was a bonus for many who are more on the reserved side. As Kung considers himself an introvert, he still loves being around good people and even social settings, however, without having to be overly social as he just enjoys positive energy from anyone that surrounds him.
Kung said, “Human connection and being in nature is important for creatives. As things opened up little by little, I was able to work again when and wherever we were allowed to do so with all the safety precautions in place…for that, I am grateful.”
As many created the time to chat with friends via phone and forms of video call chatting such as FaceTime and Zoom, needless to say, Kung spent a lot of time on social media, which led him towards finding a glimmer of peace because he realized he was not alone in the early months of the pandemic.
A little of a year into this pandemic, he decided to expand his horizons by traveling to Wyoming, which was truly fate. Kung needed space to feel free after the pandemic and to simply reopen that creative block. During his visit he connected with Kacey Perez, editor in chief, and Natalie Steger, creative director at large at The House of Perez, and from there they started conceptualizing the idea of a magazine.
Aside from the nature, mountains, and cooler weather, the kindness of the people that reside in Wyoming sparked Kung’s interest, as they truly made him feel welcomed. For him, It was refreshing to meet people who just had a kind energy, especially because he came to Wyoming to reset, restore, and gain inspiration…and that is exactly what happened.
“I was able to create some of my best creative editorial shoots to date at a beautiful Guest Ranch called Canyon Ranch located in Big Horn, Wyoming, as well as at other locations nearby,” he said. “However, this particular ranch has one of the most beautiful views that could unblock any creator’s block.”
Kung’s thoughts towards Canyon Ranch arrive from the rich history it contains. It all began with British Nobleman, the Earl of Portsmouth, Oliver Henry Wallop (OH Wallop). He purchased Can
Canyon Ranch in 1889 and had two sons that were both born in Big Horn as well. Later, OH Wallop became the only man to serve in both Britain’s House of Lords and Wyoming’s House of Representatives. He then had to leave the seat of the Wyoming House of Representatives because of the position he held at the House of Lords.
Through family relations with the Royal Family, the ranch had the honor to host Queen Elizabeth II at Canyon Ranch for a private retreat in 1984. The Earl and Countess of Portsmouth and the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon plus family members, still remain regular visitors at Canyon Ranch.
“The history of the property alone in connection to the Royal Family is a story from a movie,” said Kung. “It is no coincidence to me why people such as Ernest Hemingway find the state of Wyoming and it’s majestic views as a place to create. In fact, Wyoming is actually where Hemingway created some of his best work.”
Paul and Sandra Wallop are the proprietors of Canyon Ranch, and continue to carry the family legacy and rich history. Paul is Malcolm Wallop’s son, which makes him OH Wallop’s grandson. They are considered fourth generation and bring the same love, passion and reverence for the property. Therefore, they have made it flourish in a beautiful and productive way. Visitors are moonstruck with the wonder of this magical land, and it is understandable why it is still a place of retreat to many, all the way from artists to royals alike.
Overall, Kung was always intrigued by this specific sector of the United States and plans on coming back to Wyoming as well as discovering the entire Rocky Mountain sector and beyond. He also recently signed with Great Social Club as a creative partner and in-house photographer. Great Social Club is a talent management firm based out of Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain Region.
“Now that this pandemic is coming to an end, I am looking forward to seeing my parents and family and being able to hug the ones I love,” he said. “If anything, I am learning that having peace in life, your heart, mind and soul is so important as well as cherishing the company of those you love most.”
Catch Kung from time to time in the Rockies, especially in Wyoming, as he’s found a deep connection to the cowboy state. To view Kung’s latest, follow him on Instagram: @filbert_kung. For booking, visit his website at https://www.filbertkung.com/contact.
Written by Aida M. Toro
Photographer Filbert Kung | Talent Agency Great Social Club | Creative Direction & Stylist Kacey Perez | Producer Natalie Steger | HMUA Ashley Connely Mullinax | Female Model Cheyenne Brown | Male Models Danny Hendricks & Devan Reilly