Anton Tang Interview
You are best known for your ‘Danbo’ (cardboard robot) pictures. However, you also have many other photo series with different themes. How do you choose your subject matter?
I do not want to limit myself to shoot only Danbo because I will get bored eventually. The reason why I bought a DSLR camera is because I am inspired to shoot BMX photographs. Unfortunately due to time constraint I am unable to arrange a proper shooting sessions with most riders. As a result I end up shooting other themes that appeal to me. I have no particular preference on which subject to choose because I am still exploring and experimenting in different areas. However the three main types of photography that I am focusing on now are BMX, toys and landscapes.
How important is the quality of the equipment you use for your photography? Does better equipment translate into better photos?
I am very concerned about the quality of equipment because I rely on them for work and personal projects. Clients will lose confidence in me if I deliver poor quality images or sometime it is shame when equipment malfunctions during an important moment. Better equipment with weather sealing also helps me withstand slight rain and water splash when I am out in the field taking photos of landscapes.
That being said, better equipment does not necessary translate into better photos if the photographer fails to utilize it correctly. Not all photographs require professional equipment unless he or she is specializing in commercial shoots for wild life or fashion magazines.
Where should a novice photographer invest the majority of their budget?
A novice photographer should be less concerned about camera gear and more on gaining experience. I would suggest they research more and focus in an area which they enjoy shooting most before making a decision on what equipment to invest on.
Your work can be found on multiple sites across the web. Which sites do you recommend for novice photographers to display and share their work?
I would recommend novice photographer to upload their work in Flickr or Devianart because both sites are very organized and simple to use. What I like about these websites is that new inspiring work by others are updated daily, it also allows users to view them in different categories and a great amount of valuable information can be obtained from them as well.
…Singaporeans will get offended if they see the F-word or any sexual content…
You are currently based in Singapore. As an artist, what are the advantages of being in Asia? Are there any disadvantages?
The population of Singapore is made up of Malays, Indians, Chinese and Caucasian. Hence everyone is required to learn English as their first language in order to communicate with other nationalities. We have the advantage to experience many special festivals and celebrations by different cultures and this is a great opportunity for street photography. Singapore never fails to decorate the cities with beautiful lights and showcase traditional art performance during these events. There is also plenty of architecture ranging from modern to old historical Chinese and Indian temples for everyone to see.
The disadvantages about being in Asia are that people tend to be more restrictive and conservative. Singaporeans will get offended if they see the F-word or any sexual content in public. The weather in our country is very hot and humid throughout the year. We do not experience different seasons so most of us often dress casual wherever we go. What Singapore lacks is the beauty of natural scenery because the majority of the land is used for roads, commercial buildings and houses.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given regarding your photography?
I came across this advice on the Internet which encourages me to take better photographs instead of blasting my camera like a machine gun at every single thing I see. I find it very true; “Your first 10000 photographs are your worst” by Henri Cartier.
What should we expect from you in the future?
I will continue to explore more places in future to capture beautiful moments for the world to see. My Danboard series is also an ongoing project with no deadlines, so viewers should follow up my site to find out what Danbo might do next.
Anton Tang was born in 1984 in Indonesia and moved to Singapore at the age of 3. He is a freelance photographer, Flatland Bmx rider of Aresbykes Singapore and an undergraduate student.