Exploring is in Jimmy’s DNA. He loves to scout out new subjects, and evolve his photography skills through his trials. Read about what he has discovered so far, and what his dreams are.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I started being serious about photography just 6 to 7 months ago. Apart from taking up Basic Photography at the Canon Imaging Academy, I learnt about photography on my own. I’m also an altitude junkie who enjoys hiking overseas and rock climbing. My dream destination to visit is Yosemite National Park in California, U.S.A.
Describe your photography style in 3 words.
Moody, minimalistic, symmetrical.
Where do you mostly draw your inspiration from?
Most of my inspiration comes from Instagram – the amount of exposure to varying genres of photography is just amazing – you have people from all over the world showcasing their work. I also draw much inspiration from local Instagrammers because you get to practice with the featured locations and explore different perspectives of the place.
How did you get started on Instagram?
I had an Instagram account in 2012 but I wasn’t very active on it, so I created a new one as I wanted to showcase some of my photography work and see whether I have what it takes to establish a good-quality and photography-focused feed. On Instagram, I receive feedback on my photos and get to meet like-minded photography enthusiasts who inspire me to improve my skills.
Are there any rules you try to follow to maintain your feed’s character?
There isn’t a specific theme to my feed – I post varying genres. However, I don’t post portraiture because I feel it disrupts the whole architecture and landscape vibe that I’m going for. Other than that, anything I find nice will be posted, be it street, architecture, landscape or travel photos whenever I travel. Editing of my pictures would be ensuring a medium to high contrast to create that moody and dark tone.
How has your feed evolved?
I can’t believe how far I’ve come after only six months. My Instagram feed has evolved from an inconsistent page with pictures of me posing in front of the camera, to one where I’m showcasing my work with more consistency and substance. I’m on Instagram more frequently now, sourcing pages for inspiration, connecting with other local photographers to share ideas and executing them.
What camera do you use for your feed, and could you tell us why?
I’m using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III. I chose a full-frame camera to capture photos for my Instagram because it eliminates the crop factor on an APS-C. Instagram requires a 4:5 cropping factor, so using a full-frame camera best showcases my photos in high quality and detail.
Buildings are currently largely featured in your feed. Why do you enjoy them as subjects so much?
To be honest, my main focus was not architecture when I started, but landscape and adventure. Unfortunately, there are limitations to practising landscape and adventure photography in a small city like Singapore. Instead, I embraced the amazing architecture that Singapore has to offer, and now I love architectural photography!
Symmetrical buildings and futuristic buildings interest me the most, for example, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and The Interlace. Gardens by the Bay is my favourite place to shoot in Singapore because it combines nature and unique architecture.
Tell us about one unforgettable experience while shooting.
I’ll never forget my trip to Nepal doing the Annapurna Base Camp trek. It was a 10-day trek with a target altitude of 4,130m. Imagine bringing more than 20kg worth of supplies including camera, lenses, accessories and a tripod on that trek.
Many would call me crazy but I always tell them, “passion is a muscle in your body”. It was mentally and physically exhausting, but it was the most liberating thing I’ve done in my life.
My dream is to do Nat Geo-style hiking or adventure photography. Photographers like Jimmy Chin and Jason Charles Hill are my two biggest inspirations when it comes to this genre of photography. It’s exciting because you can basically make any spot your own simply by adding a human element to magnify the scale of nature.
For those starting to build their own aesthetic feed, what advice would you give?
Don’t be afraid to find references when you are starting out. It’s all about learning and improving your craft and personalising your own style. Don’t get put off when the post doesn’t get as much recognition as you expect. I’ve learnt to just keep working hard and improving. That said, I would advise not getting too comfortable with replicating works of others. Explore as much as possible, make new friends and discover new perspectives together.
See what Jimmy Chan has come up with from his period of exploration. Explore his feed on his Instagram.
First published: Canon EOS World