What brought you to photography?
I am a self-taught fashion and commercial photographer from Vancouver. My interest in photography started while traveling in Japan many years ago. At that time, I took pictures because I wanted to share my travels with friends. As my interest grew, I moved into fashion photography. Though the Vancouver market is small, I have been very fortunate to work with many talented local artists who inspire me.
As a photographer who seems comfortable working both in studio and on location, do you have a preference?
Even though Vancouver is known for its constant rain, I actually enjoy shooting on location much more. I find that it helps to enhance the mood and vibe of many shoots. Not only that, when I find an interesting location, it helps inspire a story. For example, my series "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" came about after a visit to my local community garden. In a city increasingly invaded by concrete, there are still pockets of paradise out there. I was struck by how beautiful a once bare plot of land had become after a small group of locals nurtured it with their love of the community and the passion of their own art form... gardening. The series appeared in "Chew", a South African fashion and lifestyle magazine.
Have you developed and honed a methodology within your craft, or do you experiment with equipment and process for each project?
I think I definitely have a certain style. I don't like overdoing things. Clean and simple is what I lean towards artistically. More and more, I find that new photographers are trying to do too much to grab the attention of the viewer. Instead of impressing them, I find that by complicating matters it detracts from their art and the story.
That being said, from time to time, I do try to experiment with different processing and lighting styles based on what I've learned and other photographers who inspire me. I'm always looking to grow artistically. To venture outside my comfort zone often helps keep me excited about photography. For example, earlier this year I shot a simple studio series. After reviewing the film, it struck me to merge the art world with the photography world. The result was a series called "We all Dream in Colour." The editorial was featured in Cellardoor, a fashion magazine out of the UK.
In looking through your online portfolio, I see that the models within your work are almost exclusively female. Has this been the product of a conscious decision to work within the feminine cosmetics and fashion industries?
I definitely work exclusively with female models. However, it hasn't been a conscious decision to do so. It's more a result of the absence of interesting ideas that inspire me to shoot a series around them. That being said, I wouldn't rule out shooting any male models in the future. I like letting things grow organically. If I try to force an idea I think it'll do more harm than good.
In the late 1960's, Guy Debord stated that western cultural life was one lived in and through the image. Where do you locate the role of photography within contemporary culture?
I think Mr. Debord hit the nail on the head. Photography continues to be an important medium that helps document important moments in everyone's life, whether it be the trivial or life changing. It goes from the individual level to something more global. Photography has become more democratised. Coupled with social media, photography not only has helped changed the world, but help how we understand the world around us. In my eyes, a still picture taken with a camera remains far more powerful.
It resonates more strongly. It speaks to a person on an intimate human level. For example, "Tank Man" or the "Unknown Rebel" from 1989's Tiananmen Square. Seeing the image of a single man standing in front of rows of tanks was so haunting. Such a striking image remains in our consciousness.
What is your current obsession with your chosen form of practice? Where do you see photography moving in the future?
Even though I own a couple of higher end digital SLRs and have the wildly popular Hipstamatic on my iPhone, I find that I never grow tired of shooting in film. It's the unexpected result that comes from shooting with my old-school medium format Mamiya that is the payoff of payoffs. It never fails to surprise when I see it come back from the lab. Despite the wide availability of the digital medium, I really hope that everyone gets the opportunity to experience shooting in 35mm. It teaches you a lot.