Living life through the sharing of passions ignite the artist that is Jen Pan, a Singaporean photographer whose love for her own family inspired her to pursue photography as a career. What was once a family affair is now a booming business captivating the hearts of satisfied parents with its core of immortalizing innocence in a whimsical world.
In this interview, the Petzval 85 Art Lens has proven to be a good match with Jen.
- Name: Jen Pan
- Website: jenpan.photography
- Country: Singapore
- Lens: Petzval 85 Art Lens
- Camera: Canon 5D Mark IV
Please introduce yourself to the Lomography community and the readers of the Online Magazine.
I am Jen from Jen Pan Photography, Singapore. I specialise in Baby and Family photography. I can't get enough of the authenticity & genuine emotions of children, they have no walls & no front to uphold so it is as real as it gets when photographing them.
How did you get started with photography?
I started off taking photos of my kids and have since fallen in love with photographing these angels. Photography allows me to freeze the moment and emotion of that particular time and place so I can relive it later on in life. Documentation becomes very important when you realize your kids are growing up so quickly and with a blink of an eye, they will no longer be that tiny baby in your arms. There is no rewinding of time and it's too late when they are all grown up and you realize that the only way to remember their innocence is to look through your photos.
That is what I truly believe in and I want to use my passion and skills to benefit those that have the same belief.
How would you describe your style as a photographer?
As a baby and family photographer, I chase for the moments that become surreal right after. I never go for a session as a photographer but as a storyteller and I document their bond with each member of the family. Some photographers describe our photos as artistic and surreal. Some say its very emotive and genuine. I personally think it's a mix of those qualities because it's not just the look nor is it just the emotion of the subject, both is just as important and with the right balance, you get a great story.
What/Who are the major influences in your work?
Movies, imagination, my children’s drawings. At certain times, classic art paintings from the 1800's. I prefer to look outside of my genre for inspiration.
What is your philosophy as a photographer?
Always, always tell the story. Beautiful backdrops with the subject smiling at the camera do no good because 10 years later, the clients/subjects will not be able connect with the images they hold in front of them. Thus I make it a point to keep those 'looking at me' shots to a minimum in a session.
It used to be a trend to capture structured detailed images and edge to edge sharpness is one of the key factors in determining a good image. However, we personally prefer to focus on the fundamentals of photography, which is to tell the story using movement and emotions. As such, the Petzval 85 works perfectly in that aspect.
What would you count as your greatest achievements or favorite projects?
My breakthrough project was a series of photos that I have created to promote breastfeeding awareness. The content encourages and supports the struggling mums who were facing a lot of stress from lack of support in their various environment.
I have recently been featured in Straits Times, New Paper (front page), ZaoBao, WanBao, AsiaOne, Channel 8 and Live Interview on Channel News Asia. Internationally, we also have been featured by Cosmopolitan, DailyMail UK, Huffington, CCTV, Yahoo, Metro UK, Flipboard, Telegraph, HerWorld & PopSugar among many more.
Our work has reached an estimated 10 million parents worldwide. A collation of various FB posts garner more than 100,000 likes and shares.
Digital or analogue? Does it matter which?
It doesn’t matter. I use both. Each has its beauty and I usually decide what to use based on who my subjects are and the look I am creating. I'm pretty excited to see how the new Fuji Medium Format Mirrorless camera will fare. It might be some possibility of me making the switch once their full range of lens are available.
Can you tell us a little more about your Petzval experience? Any interesting things you encountered or challenges?
One challenge I faced was the usage of the manual focus lens in commission shoots. Most of my subjects are young children, they cannot stand or sit still! So that is a big problem for me when they move quickly towards me & I cannot focus fast enough to get the emotion I am after. However, when you do get the shot, it is so unique that our clients are able to see it standing out from the rest of the images. Artistic, surreal, dreamy. The three words that comes to my mind when I review the first few shots I have taken on the Pretzval 85 lens.
Please choose your favorite photo(s) from the Petzval 85 shoot and tell us about the images, and why they’re your favourites.
I love how the grass seems to defy gravity and start pushing in from all over the place but yet doesn't distract the viewer from the subject itself.
What is your favorite feature or what do you like most about the Petzval 85 Art Lens?
I like how the images turn out to have this yummy circular bokeh at the back of my subject. This lens helps me to get the mood that I am looking to set because alot of our personal work is based on our imagination of a whimsical world. The images that I've created with this lens seem to have this dream state quality that allows me to tell my story better & bring the audience to my world.
For what kind of projects would you recommend the Petzval 85 Art Lens?
I would recommend this lens to anyone who would like to create a very unique surreal look that is not achievable by post edit or other lens. Once you master the look, your images will definitely stand out from the rest. I would also think its great to include a small series shot strictly on the Petzval for commissioned projects.
Any tips for first time shooters?
It pretty easy to use, it is just a matter of getting used to it. The good old way of practice makes perfect. Those that have no touched manual lens, be ready to test on still subjects first because 85mm manual focusing on fast moving objects can be very difficult to master.
Any advice on how to fully utilize the Petzval 85 Art Lens?
The lens works well in situations where there is light & shadow instead of flat lighting. It helps to push the effect across more elaborately.
Do you have ongoing or upcoming projects that you would like to tell the community about?
After our viral breastfeeding project in 2016. We are looking to cover another topic in 2017. This will be related to Post Partum Depression faced by mothers in Singapore. We are planning to have it done in the next couple of months so look out for our updates.