Young beauty and fashion photographer Walter Tan is one of Singapore's budding photographers. His signature aesthetic is clean, with a fresh take on colors. For this interview, Walter took the Petzval 85 Art Lens for a shoot and shares with us his passion for showcasing the subtleties of beauty.
Please introduce yourself to the Lomography community and the readers of the Online Magazine.
Hello like-minded people! Thank you for having me! I am Walter, a creative director based in Singapore specializing in fashion and beauty photography and videography. I am also a year 3 student pursuing my bachelor degree in Business Administration from the National University of Singapore.
How did you get started with photography?
My photography venture started during a catch up session with a very good friend of mine (Hello Germaine!) when we were having dinner near my house. She is the founder of Lovet, a fashion online store, and she offered me a collaboration with her brand. I am very thankful to her for discovering my hidden talent in photography and videography (back then in 2016).
It has only been slightly more than a year, and I have grown so much from an amateur photographer shooting with a Canon 600D, a gift from my auntie, to a creative director now. I remember convincing my auntie to get me my first DSLR 8 years ago so that I could take nice photos during my student exchange to Stanford University. Believe it or not, I used it until the end of last year whilst doing commercial work for big brands such as L'Oréal.
And of course, the most important person behind my success is jamiepang. She is an Instagram influencer in Singapore and I took the leap of faith approaching her to collaborate as her exclusive photographer and videographer. She trusted in my work and decided to give me a shot even though I had not much experience back then. Through the long term collaboration (more than a year since I started out), we have become very good friends and we recently just came back from Bali for a picturesque vacation! Feel free to head over to our Instagram accounts for ideas on where to go in Bali!
How would you describe your style as a photographer?
I live by the rule “Less is more”, and I have a minor OCD about the details captured by my camera lens. I like to keep my photos simple and my props neat to avoid the messy clutter that will trigger my OCD. I love taking photos of nature and admiring the beautiful sunset that Mother Nature has given to us. It makes me feel peaceful taking photos of nature! Occasionally, I will venture into creative photography when the bug hits me.
What/Who do you consider as the greatest influence in your craft?
Sam Kolder is someone whom I look up to and aspire to become. He is a very talented photographer who excels in both photography as well as videography. I like his eye for aesthetics and his works are so powerful with a really genuine story to tell. From his youtube channel and Instagram, you can tell that his photos are not only stunning but they also engage his audience. The other influencer would be doyoutravel that has equally impactful visuals!
How do you develop your skills?
I hone my skills through watching films, youtube tutorials, as well as learning on the job. I haven’t gotten a proper education in both film making and photography, however, I strongly believe that it is the eye for aesthetics that is important in this field/industry. I have seen some people who had a proper education in this field but still does not produce impactful works resulting in an unfortunate change of industry.
Can you share with us more info about this shoot's theme?
Industrialization brought about the conflicting relationship between man and nature. As civilization expands, we destroy nature to make way for the growth of our concrete jungle. City dwellers yearn for nature despite contributing to its destruction In the first place. No expenses are spared to partake in nature escapades. Our own actions are depleting the abundance of nature, resulting in its commodification. The photo series laments the sad reality of our neglect of nature.
Fun fact, we spotted Cobras at one of our shoot locations for this series of photos! Thankfully, we are all safe! Arts is really about meeting the unexpected and adding these memorable experiences to a pocket full of memories!
Tell us a little more about your Petzval 85 Art Lens experience. Any challenges or interesting stories?
I love love love how sharp the image quality is! The aperture blades bring a new dimension to the experience of photography and videography. Everything is so digitalised now that we have lost touch with simple things, so the ability to manually choose the aperture blades for different lighting and mood intrigues me. There is also this swirly effect bringing the vintage vibes to live. Initially, I thought that it would be very difficult to manually focus but I was proven wrong after I tried it and looked at the soft copy images. I was honestly shocked that the Petzval 85 Art Lens image quality does not lose out to my usual portraiture lenses.
Needless to say, the lens looks very artsy at first glance. It is definitely a conversation starter when you hang out with other camera enthusiasts! Oh right, before I forget, this lens is also a mini fitness tool to train your biceps hahaha! I struggled to hold the camera in a certain posture for long while trying to focus the lens on the model. But this could easily be solved from mounting it on the tripod stand.
Do you have ongoing or upcoming projects that you would like to tell the community about?
I have many beauty video campaigns for L'Oréal Singapore that is scheduled to be released over the next few months. The other upcoming projects that I am really excited about is a music video for a local singer. We are still in the midst of conceptualizing the storyboard and shoot locations in Singapore. This is my first time directing a music video and I can’t wait to see the completed work!
Aside from that, I am also in talks with Mediacorp, a local television and radio broadcasting company, to shoot for one of their upcoming drama promotional photos! I am really thankful for all the opportunities given to me! There are many other exciting projects that are coming up and I hope Lomography readers will show some love! I frequently update my Instagram and webpage with my latest works, so please check them out!