If I had to describe Tang Chan’s photography in one word, I’d say: distance. Even though she mostly shoots portraits, there’s a certain space between the viewer and the subject. I stumbled upon her work through our shuttercrack pool and instantly fell in love with her portfolio. As I’d love to know more about the person behind these intriguing pictures, here’s the interview with the great Tang herself!
“I think that even when you’re not working in the art industry or majoring in this area, you can still fill your life with beauty and fun”
Who’s the person behind the photos?
My name is Tang Chan, I’m from China. My major is Art and Fashion design and I’m also an editor.
What got you into photography, and what makes you keep on doing it?
It was about seven months ago (March 2009) when I really got into photography. At that time I just finished an art project and came back from another city. I learned a lot from that experience and my viewpoint somehow changed. When I saw my new artist-friends their easy way of life, I noticed another lifestyle. I then tried to slow down the tempo of my live and tried picking up my camera again.
If we’d like to trade something for a photo you made, what should the CFYE delivery man bring to your door?
It’s up to you:)
What’s your favourite item to take on the road with you?
My camera and something to read.
Best shooting location we should check out?
If the spot that I’m passing by has something that attracts me, I’ll stop to take it in. I prefer taking photos which are based on ‘occasional’ trips, not specific locations. It’s better to create the fun by yourself rather than to wait for it to happen.
Tell us about your work as a photographer, did you just picked up a camera and educate yourself?
Just keep pressing the shutter. You need to realize what you like and what you want.
What’s your camera setup?
I used NIKON FM2 and RICHO, and OLYMPUS Mjull for now.
How does your environment react on you taking your camera everywhere and shooting all the time?
There are always my friends in the pictures and it’s like they all get used to facing my camera.
What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you when you were out shooting photos?
I have had an interesting experience that left a big impression when I took photos in a museum. There was an exhibition about Dutch contemporary art. Just when I was about to leave, my eye was drawn to a corner with beautiful light. I looked at it and contemplated to make something out of the moment, so I photographed it.
What I didn’t understand is, that my friend and I became the center of attention at that moment. After talking to some people I came to know that they considered this as something refreshing, which they instantly took for granted when they knew we were art students. However, I think that even when you’re not working in the art industry or majoring in this area, you can still fill your life with beauty and fun. Some of these reactions just really confused me.
Who is your favourite movie/gaming/cartoon character?
I like the work of Christoper Nolan and Woody Allen. They’ve made me think from different perspectives a lot. A recent movie I watched that really moved me was “Kirschblüten – Hanami” directed by German director Doris Dörrie. One of my favorite cartoons is “Tekkon Kinkreet” directed by Michael Arias and edited by Japanese cartoonist Taiyo Matsumoto.
Which artist would you like to work with?
I admire Rei Kawakubo, Olivier Zahm, Jefferson Hack, (M/M)Pairs and Nick knight.
If you could fill a swimming pool with something, what would it be?
Favourite city, and coolest thing about it?
I will be living and continuing my study in Paris next year, which is a real thrill for me! I expect things to become much more interesting! I have lived and worked in Shanghai for a while and it’s a city that is full of exciting things and people, which really attracts me. I admire and am curious about Antwerpen because of its revolution in fashion and the spirit of development.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I have a project called “Fashion Perspective Monthly“. It’s about the creation of fashion and is an ongoing project.
I also hope to create more works that are fun and close to myself, which can also widen my own perspective. I am doing my best to reach these goals.