Photographer and TPL member Adrian Tan can remember that one special moment when he stumbled upon images of candid human expressions and stylish contrast street work of some of the best photographers out there. It was that moment that made Adrian head out onto the streets of Singapore and his travels with an old camera in hand to develop his new passion for street photography.
When did you start getting interested in photography?
When I started travelling when I was a teen, I wanted to take beautiful photos with a camera. But found out later that travel and landscapes photography just wasn’t my cup of tea. I put the camera away for years. Recently, I stumbled upon street photos of candid human expressions and stylish contrast work from some of the masters in street photography. Expressions that portray nothing but the simplest and most sincere emotions of the people around us. The thought of capturing moments whilst playing with light and composition elements hit me! That’s where it all started.
What is your favourite quote that resonates with you the best?
"The only photographer you should compare yourself to, is the one you used to be."
Where do you find your inspiration?
Trent Parke, Thomas Leuthard and Fan Ho were the ones that got me all started. I respect their work a lot and I’m always trying to draw inspiration from their photos. But I believe that you should always try to find and draw inspiration from every photographer’s work out there. A lot of photographers' work are so good these days.
Who are your favourite artists/photographers? Who has mostly influenced your style?
Has your style of shooting changed since you first started?
Yes definitely! From crap to ok. Is that a style? Haha
Where is your favourite place to shoot?
I just walk aimlessly whenever I go out for walks. But I hope to travel and gain more experience shooting overseas.
Do you think equipment is important in achieving your vision in your photography? What would you say to someone just starting out?
I think it’s important in the sense that it’s makes you happy using it. Happy equals to creativity! Whether if it’s an expensive or cheap camera, as long as you feel comfortable using it, you’re good. I would say do your research well and buy the best camera you can afford that makes you happy, after that just keep shooting!
What characteristics do you think you need to become a photographer? What’s your tips or advice for someone in your genre?
Not sure if it’s a characteristic but you have to have a “feel” for it. If you feel nothing when you click the shutter, you give the viewer nothing to respond to.— Fan Ho said that. And I couldn’t agree more. I use to go about clicking aimlessly without a feel or thought for what I’m actually photographing. Now, I’m constantly forcing myself to think and learn to feel for it. It’s about having a feel when visualizing a particular interesting scene or moment and then make it!
Have you ever been involved in the artistic world before photography?
I use to play music with my band as a guitarist.
Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?
I’m still in the learning process of becoming a better street photographer. Will definitely start doing projects soon when I’ve found the style I’m looking for. I would say.. stay tuned!
If I wasn’t photographing what would I be doing?...
Beer and soccer nights. And then some more beers...
All photos © Adrian Tan
Interview by Melanie Meggs