Read our exclusive interview with Canadian photographer Jeffrey Chan.
Today it’s our pleasure to feature an exclusive interview with Jeffrey Chan, a photographer from Toronto, Canada who loves to travel the world. His portrait and fashion photography could be seen in numerous publications both printed and online.
We had the opportunity to talk to Jeffrey about his work as a professional photographer. Please read more below.
When did you start photography and what made you choose photography as a profession?
Jeffrey Chan: “I’ve always dabbled in photography since I was a kid, often playing with my father’s various point & shoot film cameras (back in the 80s), but I didn’t get more serious about photography until 2006 when I bought my first SLR. I initially bought my SLR to expand creative control over my travel photography but started shooting models and fashion around 2009/2010. For a long time, it was mainly a hobby but I decided to quit my desk job 10 years ago to pursue photography full-time. I was somewhat destined to shoot fashion as I was always reading my mother’s fashion magazines in the early 90s and knew the names of all the supermodels. My decision to make photography my full-time job was to pursue personal passions again, and re-take control of my life. I was chained to a desk for nearly 7 years and fell into various sales jobs. I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering and had a teenage dream of working in Formula 1. When I realized that was a far fetched dream, I sunk back to reality and got lost in various hum-drum day jobs. Quitting my desk job and taking up photography full-time was like cold turkey.”
What is the best thing about being a photographer?
Jeffrey Chan: “Becoming a full-time photographer has been the best decision of my life. Not only do I get to realize my creative visions, but I’m able to have a proper work-life balance. Life is too short and I’m glad I made the decision to switch things up in my early 30s. Since the winter is usually the quietest time of year for business, I typically jet off somewhere to shoot some personal projects for a month or so. But being a photographer also allows me to work with some very talented creative minds and personalities.”
How would you describe your photographic style?
Jeffrey Chan: “My early photography was mostly travel and street photography, and that has defined my photographic style. I prefer to shoot outdoors on-location, not in a studio, as I get inspired by natural light, landscapes, and spaces occupied by people on a daily basis. I like to create stories with my photography—stories rooted in reality and sometimes in a photojournalistic way. I like to place my models in a natural setting and tell a story through that. Shooting in a studio can be very abstract, and shooting on-location provides a model with the ability to interact with their surroundings more and express themselves more naturally. And the best light is the one in the sky.”
As a photographer, you have already traveled to many different places. What is your favorite travel destination and why?
Jeffrey Chan: “When I jet off to shoot, I like to visit warm sunny places with beautiful landscapes and scenery. LA is my regular favorite place to shoot because of the amazing variety of talented models & artists to work with but also because you can one day shoot at the beach, and another day in the desert or the city. I’ve also enjoyed shooting in Cape Town and Sydney. But by far my favorite place I’ve shot has been La Digue in the Seychelles. It’s been a dream destination of mine. I was holidaying in the Seychelles, half-way through a 5-month north-to-south overland tour across Africa. I didn’t want to pass up the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of visiting and shooting in the Seychelles, and decided to fly in a model. That experience has inspired me to do more fly-away photo shoots and I’m hoping to do future shoots around the Mediterranean or on the beaches of Brazil. In terms of favorite countries I’ve visited, Namibia is by far my top destination. I love deserts—the solitude, the way the early & late daylight shapes the dunes, and how the colors change throughout the day. I also have a soft spot for Brazil—the people, the food, and the beaches. Tokyo is also a favorite—again it’s the people and the food, but the urban landscapes always offer up something to photograph. I taught English in Japan for a year in my mid-20s and I still consider it to be one of the best years of my life.”
What makes a good picture?
Jeffrey Chan: “A good photo tells a story. A great photo is complemented by its composition, its use of light and contrast, how it draws attention to its subject, and the emotions it stirs.”
Below you can find a selection of photographs shot by Jeffrey Chan for different projects. For those who want to see more, feel free to visit his website, or follow this talented photographer on Instagram.
All images © by Jeffrey Chan. Feel free to browse through our Photography section to find other inspiring images shot by some of the best photographers from all over the world.
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