Loading ...

Exploring nuances: I’ve recently read a lot of books that explore the nuances of the Asian American experience. Books like Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong touch on some of the most pressing issues faced by the Asian American community today, especially given the skyrocketing number of anti-Asian hate crimes.

Industry definer: Tyler Mitchell. His work in redefining a new aesthetic of Blackness has changed the fashion and fine art industries. More photographers are exploring identity-based themes in their work, and their voices are creating more visual representation and a plentitude of diverse subjects and stories.

Mind-blowing work: Leslie Zhang’s work in China has always blown my mind—the attention and care he gives to lighting, set design, fashion, and posing and gestures lends itself to a perfect image. His quality of image production is unmatched, in my opinion.

Slowing down: Recently, I’ve been revisiting childhood and high school video game series, like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros., or watching Korean dramas and variety shows. Quarantine has actually forced me to slow down and take time for myself instead of constantly thinking about my work.

Moving work: Higher, a monograph by John Edmonds that was published in 2018 and presents the first decade of his photographic practice. As I’m particularly interested in portraiture, this book, which depicts beautiful, intimate portraits of his friends and lovers, as well as strangers, really moved me.

Widening perspectives: I want to broaden my perspectives in photography and look away from a Western-centric gaze. Currently, I’m focusing on nourishing my vision with different visual languages from Asia-Pacific artists. I like to do research through the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive; FAR–NEAR, a book series that aims to broaden perspectives of Asia; and Matca, an online bilingual journal and publishing project that is opening conversations around photography in Vietnam.

Challenging statistics: I learned that despite the fact that approximately 70 percent of photography students are women, only an average of 15 percent are later professional photographers. Of this already incredibly small number, very few are Black women and nonbinary. These numbers are rising and awareness is growing around this huge gap in the photography field, but it’s still extremely slow. Companies and institutions must change and do better.

Splurge-worthy investment: The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. It’s an incredible camera. It’s quite up there in price, but we’ve made it back tenfold with the work that has come in as a result of the elevated quality.

Creative mindset: I always think of my why. Why am I taking on this project? What does this mean to me? How can I take this project and make it my own? Asking those questions enables me to deliver something that is unique and self-inspired.

Unforgettable style: I love what Juan Veloz has been doing most recently. That style of work is common, especially since a lot of people are revisiting film photography, but Juan brings a certain unique element to his work that draws you in. It’s so captivating, and his style cements itself in your brain. It’s incredibly unforgettable, for sure!

Stress relievers: Whenever I’m feeling stressed or a little overwhelmed, my primary stress reliever is therapy. But I also love music. I’m listening to a lot of alt-J, Beyonc√©, older Jay-Z songs and Yebba.

Underappreciated tools: BlackRapid Double Breathe Camera Harness straps. I see so many photographers running with cameras and fumbling with neck straps, when they could make life easier with two cameras carabinered to themselves. I also love using an ExpoDisc White Balance Filter, since I shoot JPEGs. It’s one of the gadgets I swear by to set a custom white balance. I always have one in my pocket. Also, the Getty Images Price Calculator offers a great ballpark estimate to help freelancers price projects. Getty Images doesn’t need to offer this free service, but it does. It’s pretty invaluable.

Unlikely inspiration: When I was looking around for portrait ideas, I went back to my old comic book inventory and found artist Joe Jusko’s portraits that he had painted for the 1992 Marvel Masterpieces trading cards. Marvel had reproduced the artwork in comic book form, and I pored over those books for inspiration.

Emerging talent: Stephanie Chambers, who’s the newest hire at Getty. I look forward to see what she does next.

Stress relievers: Seeing my lovely wife, Sarah, and my two furry children, Sam, a twelve-year-old Australian cattle dog, and Xena, an eight-year-old woolly Siberian husky.

Helpful directory: Last year, my friend Jaymi Heimbuch and I founded Her Wild Vision Initiative, a directory for diverse women working in conservation and science storytelling. The database is searchable by region, photographic disciplines and technical expertise. All the members are reviewed by top editors during the free application process, and many have gone on to get assignments because of the directory.

Inspirational reads: One book that has inspired me this year is The Devil’s Cormorant: A Natural History by Richard J. King. I am also excited to read Elizabeth Becker’s book You Don’t Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War. It’s about some truly awe-inspiring women journalists who showed so much grit and empathy despite all odds.

Dream collaborators: I’d like to work with Charlie Hamilton James, who makes these super-rich stories that cross natural history, science, journalism and culture. Plus, he’s sarcastic, and I like when people don’t take themselves too seriously. And though I haven’t known about Evgenia Arbugaeva for as long, I would assist her in a heartbeat. I would love to know what goes through her mind as she’s approaching her images.


With a free Commarts account, you can enjoy 50% more free content
Create an Account
Get a subscription and have unlimited access
Already a subscriber or have a Commarts account?
Sign In

Get a subscription and have unlimited access
Already a subscriber?
Sign In