In Conversation With: Shawn Paul Tan



How old are you and where are you based?
I'm 28 and have currently rebased to Singapore after spending the last 5 years in London.





Can you tell me about the key concerns that drive your practice, and how you first became interested in them?
Dialogue and Experimentation are the key focuses in my practice, the former is especially crucial in engaging and establishing a creative relationship with my clients and collaborators. I've always been interested in having social conversations so it becomes a core part of my work behind the scenes. Photography is a very technical trade that spans across multiple fields, it goes in line with my curious nature since I was a kid so in my downtime, my constant experimentation with multiple mediums allows me to constantly push my work, especially when it comes to working with analogue media like traditional film and vhs.





How would you say your background has shaped your photographic approach?
I started my earlier years as a photography assistant and having spent years assisting photographers in London before striking out on my own has instilled in me a certain professional practice that I hold dear. Research also forms a big part of my current practice, thanks to my art educational background - I'm constantly doing visual research and it underpins my work in the form of concepts for editorial stories.





What drew you to fashion photography?
The collaborative dialogue with designers, stylists and art directors. It was shooting a close friend's collection that started it all many years back.

What kind of publications and brands do you enjoy collaborating with?
I'm fond of working with independent designers as we are able to have a close dialog during the creative process. The designer Robert Wun is a close friend of mine and we enjoy working with each other. When it comes to working with publications, my relationships with individual stylists are what makes it fun and satisfying.






What has been your career highlight so far?
Having my work featured in Dazed and working with Wonderland was definitely some of them.

What are your influences - both photographic and non-photographic?
Some of my influences in photography include Viviane Sassen, Gareth McConnell & David Sims. Art & Music are a big my influences as well, as I listen to Moderat & Hans Zimmer a lot, coupled with fine artists like Gerhard Richter, Tomas Kanka & James Turrell.






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