Jay Tang is a multi-talented freelance photographer and visual designer from Amsterdam. He has been raised with two different cultures – Dutch and Chinese – since his parents are from Hong Kong. This fact, for sure, gives an Asian flavour to his work! Jay is an all-round creative professional who is specialized in visual identities, graphic design, web design and photography, which includes fashion, glamour & beauty, interiors, architecture and commercial works.
Being a passionate visual artist and photographer, Jay is constantly looking for various ways to express himself and results in an experimental style that contrasts with his commercial. He is always aiming for a fine balance between his commercial and conceptual work. As Jay is so talented we saw it as a must to feature him in the Close-Up Magazine – Benelux!
And now… Let’s discover the cool interview with Jay Tang!
ModelManagement: Your roots are from China but you have been raised in the Netherlands. How does it give special influence to your work?
Jay Tang: I was born in The Netherlands, but my parents are from Hong Kong. Being raised with both cultures certainly has had an impact on me as a person. It has broadened my view on things, as there’s always more than one perspective to take. In regard to my work, I do have different ways of working. At times, I like to go for big and bold, while at other times I prefer to go for minimalistic and pure. I can’t be sure if that’s influence from my background. Though according to some fellow photographers, my work has a very harmonious feel and Asian flavour to it. So I guess my roots do come through.
MM: You are a designer and photographer? Which one came first and why did you also decide for a second vocation?
JT: I suppose I’m a visual artist at heart. I think and express in visuals. That’s what gets me excited. My profession as a designer and photographer are a direct result of this passion. It’s just taking a different role to express myself. About ten years ago in 2004, I founded a small creative agency with a few friends. We had the same approach to design. In order to communicate better, you would need the eye-catching visual to capture the viewer’s attention first. From this desire came the urge to do photography. Why use the low quality images that the clients provided, when you could make betters ones yourself? The passion for photography grew stronger over the years and by the end of 2008, I started taking on assignments solely as a photographer. Today, my photographic work is focused on fashion and commercial photography, but I’m broadening towards conceptual and documentary work as well.
MM: What was your greatest project and what made it so special?
JT: I had the pleasure to work with many creative people in this industry. Each and every single collaboration has been an exciting one, like flying over to the UK to do a promotional photo shoot for a talented singer-songwriter. Or more recently, I’ve been working closely with a dear friend on a fashion and beauty blog. What made these collaborations special is that I’m able to connect with the people I work with on a personal level. I’m not just the one that shoots the images. I’m the creative partner that listens to their ideas and we try to take things to a higher level.
MM: Which are your favorite motives and why?
JT: If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in recent years, it’s that staying true to myself is one of the most important things. I guess everyone will have people they look up to, their heroes. And you’d want to be just like them. However, what you’re doing is just imitating. Try to find out what your personal drive is and why that interests you. Only then will you be able to make work that is really ‘you’.
MM: When did everything start with your career? What was your first camera? Do still use it?
JT: My very first camera was a digital Canon IXUS camera, bought in 2004. I had it in my bag wherever I travelled. Due to its limitations, it actually allowed me to focus on composition. Nowadays, I mostly use the Canon EOS 5DIII for the commercial and fashion work. In regard to my conceptual work, I like to use various analog cameras and film as those allow me to capture the feel and emotion in a better way. I haven’t used the compact digital in years anymore, but it’s actually a cool thought to bring this one out again and see what I do with it today!
MM: You have been part of the Close-Up Magazine – Photographers Benelux; which advantages did you experience?
JT: It’s been an honour to be featured in Close-up Magazine’s Photographers Benelux edition. Apart from some likes on my Facebook page and a few lovely messages by mail, it didn’t do much so far. But I’m sure it’ll help me as a reference in the future when I meet the right people. The platform itself is definitely one of the better networks I’ve joined so far. The members of this community are very serious about their profession and that’s worth keep coming back for.
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