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Learning to relate to people is a big part of being a photographer…Louis Pang

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September 20, 2010 by N@


Louis Pang is an internationally sought after photographer and speaker.

He is a the first Asia-based photographer to speak and judge at Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) convention, the world’s largest wedding photography conference held annually at Las Vegas, USA.

He has been a featured speaker for Asukabook, Epson, Lastolite, Nikon and Think Tank Photo.

Louis is an eight-time WPPI award winner, including the coveted International Portrait Print of the Year Award 2009.

How long have you been picking up a camera?

Eight and a half years.

Did you always know that you wanted to be a photographer?

No! I just graduated with a degree in writing and history. Worked as an editor at the University of Toronto’s campus paper because I wanted to be a journalist. So I graduated, returned to Malaysia and started working for a newspaper. The editor decided that I should take some pictures while I worked on stories. I bought a used FM2 with a 35-70mm lens and a Sunpak flash. That was my first camera kit. Friends noticed that I had an eye for images. Winning two district level photojournalism awards as a rookie further affirmed my passion and direction.

What is your speciality as a photographer?

I started out as a news reporter and photographer. It was a great lesson on understanding people and being sensitive. I could be covering a cabinet meeting in the morning and interviewing fire victims in a slum in the afternoon. Learning to relate to people from different background is a big part of being a photographer.

When your not shooting for clients, what kind of images do you like to shoot?

I love storytelling. I was in Havana, Cuba for a shoot a few months ago. I got up early in the morning  to do some street photography, documenting the lives of regular Cubans. The challenge is always to be able to convey what and how I feel onto a photograph. The other thing I love is technically challenging photographs. Working with multiple flash and transforming a mundane scene into something spectacular is a challenge I relish.

How did you first get into judging?

WPPI 2010 was the first time I was appointed a judge and what an unforgettable experience I had working with Bambi Cantrell, Yervant, Cliff Mautner, Michael Greenberg and Rocco Ancora. Judging the International Aperture Awards is another big honor. I am looking forward to it.

Do you think there are extra considerations to be made when entering an International versus Local competition?

A story that has strong cultural significance may get lost in translation during an international competition because the judges, being foreign to the cultures, may not get it. However, a strong image with a great story usually stands out. Judges always look forward to being surprised, dazzled and impressed. Creating something that’s unique is tough, but rewarding.

It’s been said many times that entering a competition is more than just winning. What do you take out of a competition when you enter?

It’s an opportunity to benchmark my work against an international field of submissions. I look forward to the judges’ comments and also the winning images. I spent several hours at the gallery of the winning images to be educated and enthralled.

What are the first 3 things you look at in your images when you enter a competition?

Is it different and unique? Does it convey a strong story or message? Is it technically sound? I am careful not to over process the image. Watch out for overblown highlights and losing details in shadows.

What advice would you offer photographers entering a competition for the first time?

Judges are looking not only for “good” & “pretty” images. We want images that are technically sound and visually pleasing but also “interesting images” that grip our hearts, stir our curiosity & prompt questions.

You can find out more about Louis at http://www.louispang.com

Entries to The 2010 International Aperture Awards close on 15th October.

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