"Culture, Chicken Feet, and Conical Hats" is more than the title of Peter Wong's photography exhibit at the Anderson Center.
It's also an intriguing description of the subject matter in his fine art photographs — culture, food and traditions that are very different from what Minnesotans are used to seeing.
The exhibit is Wong's way of introducing people to a different part of the world. It will open with a public reception and artist talk at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, in the main gallery, and will remain on display until the end of March.
Wong, who lives in Burnsville, Minn., put the exhibit together using images he shot over the past several years during visits to Vietnam, Cambodia and his home country, Malaysia.
He came to Minnesota in 1969 to further his education at the University of Minnesota and the College of St. Scholastica, followed by fine arts studies at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
"Photography has been a passion for me for as long as I can remember," Wong wrote in his biography. He began his career as a commercial photographer and opened his own studio in 1980, working for ad agencies and corporations.
That changed in 1988, Wong said. "I was introduced to golf and it quickly became my other passion." Fortunately, he added, "both my passions dovetailed." He began concentrating on creating images of golf courses across the country and around the world.
In recent years, Wong has expanded his creative pursuits to include fine art and travel photography in some of the most exotic places on earth.
"Culture, Chicken Feet and Conical Hats" is a result, Anderson Center officials said. They described the show as "a panorama of stunning images that show real connections with the places visited and a deep understanding of the hearts of other people."
Street photography and portraits are among his favorite subjects to shoot, Wong said. Many of the nearly 50 photographs in the exhibit will be images of people. All of the images will be for sale.
At Friday's opening reception he will speak briefly, plus he anticipates answering questions about past trips, current projects and future plans.
One new project involves working with a writer who wants to do a golfing book illustrated with Wong's photographs.
In addition to photographing golf courses and far-off places, Wong teaches, lectures, and conducts photography workshops at national parks and sites abroad.
He currently is organizing a tour to Malaysia to photograph equatorial forests, flora, fauna and other "fabulous sights." The tour is not limited to photographers, Wong said, but is open to anyone who wants to experience the country.
He described an early-morning drive to a fishing village, where the group will sit around a coffee shop drinking Vietnamese coffee and watching the sun rise.
"The fishing boats come in from the ocean with their catch, and people rush out. It's chaotic, and it's really fun to watch," he said.
Anyone interested in the trip, which will leave in mid- to late March, can get more details at the reception.
Wong also has launched a mentoring group that couples, students, and camera/photography club members with professional photographers. People can get more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Not only am I passionate about creating my vision of the world around me," he said, "I am also passionate in coaching others in the art of photography."
During the month of February, Wong said the Anderson Center will open the gallery 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, beginning Feb. 3. He will be there to talk with visitors and answer questions. Admission is free. For more information, call the center at 651-388-2009.