Juliana Tan is a Singaporean photographer with her focus on the playfulness of light and colors. She has been featured in various leading international publications such as The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, and Condé Nast Traveler.
She tested the Neptune Convertible Art Lens and shares with us some razor-sharp images with surprising impact courtesy of light play.
Please tell us more about your journey as a photographer. How do you develop your skills?
I went to college wanting to become a filmmaker and discovered photography there. The more I delved into it, the more attracted I grew toward the medium. I took all the photography modules that were offered and all of them were photojournalism related. It was a great time learning about the foundations of photography and learning to be responsible for the images that you took. When I graduated, there were not many photojournalism jobs available so I taught myself how to use lights and ventured into editorial and commercial photography. 2.5 years later, I wrote a bunch of cold emails to photographers in New York asking for an internship so that I could learn from the best. I went to New York and Los Angeles for a few months to further sharpen my skills. So my journey has mostly been me pushing myself out of my comfort zone and finding ways to get better. I don’t let myself get complacent.
What/Who are the major influences in your work?
Richard Avedon is the reason why I’m shooting portraits today. I was on holiday in San Francisco when I stumbled into his photo book. I had never heard his name before but as I flipped the pages, I was so mesmerized and moved by his portraits. Other photographers that have influenced me are Annie Leibovitz, Christopher Anderson, Saul Leiter, Alex Webb, Phillip Lorca Di-Corcia, to name a few. You might classify them in different genres but what’s more important for me is that all of them have distinct authorship and singularity of vision in their work.
What is your philosophy as a photographer?
There’s a good picture to be found even in the most boring situations.
Please tell us more about the concept of your shoot with the Neptune Convertible Art Lens System.
I was on assignment with Neon (Germany) in Kuching, Malaysia and had arrived a day early. As per my usual routine when I am in a new city, I roamed the streets to get a vibe of the city. It was a beautiful evening with a gorgeous sunset that day and I went around making these pictures.
How does the Neptune Convertible Art Lens System fit into your style?
They are small and light so it’s great for travel. I’m also surprised by how sharp they are. I like that I can change the 3 lenses so quickly and they have great focal lengths that cover all my needs.
Which shot is your favorite?
The shot of the girl basked in green light. It was actually part of the street light and I just love it fits my color palette. I stood on the street for a long time waiting for a subject who can fit the mood. She came along and I thought she fit the scene so well.
Any advice on how to fully utilize the Neptune Convertible Art Lens System?
It might take a little getting used to the lens as they are smaller. But after you get used to it, you’ll love them for how light they are. People are also more curious when they look at your camera and that’s a great time to chat them up, and in my case, ask for a portrait.