Renowned Malaysian photographer, Raymond Tan has captured amazing images that explore the beautiful and the surreal. He shares more about his creative vision and more.

 “Cameras are only tools. The most important element to produce good photography is still your ideas”

Photography has always been a part of my life. I come from a family that appreciates travelling and photography allowed me to capture memories of our travels. I dabbled with photography on a casual basis in my youth though I began formally studying it after I enrolled in a post-graduate diploma at the London College, of Communication in 2008. From there, I went on to finish my Master’s degree at the University of Arts London where I majored in photography. Most of my skills were acquired on the job when I was working part time at a photo studio in London.

I currently specialise in commercial work with an emphasis on fashion photography. I also enjoy doing portraiture as I find it fascinating to see how people perceive themselves compared to their projected public image. In terms of my photography style, I have a sense of rawness with a slight touch of European flair to it. Every shoot I conduct is unique and memorable as I encounter different challenges and meet different people, though my most challenging shoot was for a menswear summer campaign on a mountain by the sea. We went there by boat but we couldn’t return the same way due to the dangerously strong waves. After the shoot, we had to return to the city by hiking across the mountain. It was a dangerous but memorable affair.

The rise of social media has allowed me to connect with a global audience. It is an exciting time for me as it allows me to share my work with a wider audience. I often receive messages from strangers, asking for advice and thanking me for creating memorable images. I am always happy to share my knowledge.

Another technology that I find has improved dramatically are smartphones.  I’m intrigued about the capabilities of the new iPhone 7 and I’m currently testing a new smartphone from Oppo that can shoot RAW files. Smartphone cameras are the future but for the moment due to the nature of my work that requires large sized prints, I am using Sony and Hasselblad cameras equipped with Zeiss lens. It will be a matter of time before smartphones surpass cameras, though it must be said that cameras are merely a tool. The most important element to produce good photography is still your ideas.

I’m always against photographers who always follow set rules and guidelines. There are no rules and no tools. It is all about your ideas. Photography must contain some element of your emotions and the only way to express them is to be true to yourself. Of course, you must also master the capabilities of your chosen camera and know how to get the most out of it, so you have to keep practising. Shooting is not just staged work. Spontaneous shoots in the heat of the moment can also be beautiful too.

Source : SHOUT Q1 2017, #connected #CFMmalaysia #CFMshout