HOW I STARTED
A Quick Reflection
I often get asked "So how did you start?" when I meet people for the first time. Usually I get quite awkward and can't really answer the questions because in my mind I'm still just starting out. Since it's almost my four year 'work' anniversary, I think enough time has finally passed from when I first picked up my camera for me to reflect on 'the beginning'.
Facebook in 2011 was saturated with photography pages created by high school students who were taking photos of their friends with big DSLR cameras. The Canon 550D was immensely popular among my friends (and there were a few Nikon folks) and everybody who owned a camera would go and take photos of their 'model' friends and post them onto Facebook. I got my 550D for my 16th birthday (I don't use it anymore but it holds sentimental value obviously). At the time it seemed pretty cool. All the cool kids were doing it at least. (Disclaimer: I was not a cool kid)
'Models', however, were usually just the typical pretty white girl with blonde hair and blue/green eyes. Since I was not a cool kid, and because I didn't want to be mainstream (I was a bit of a hipster but the nerdy kind), BUT I wanted to seem cool, I started a photography page too and started shooting with my friends. But I wanted diversity!
Quick fact: BCHK stands for my initials (English name = Brian, Chinese name = Chan Hang Kin).
I was in Year 12 and had just started boarding school at UWC-USA, an international school situated in New Mexico. Obviously NM isn't the first place you think of when thinking of diversity, but since I was at UWC, my friends were already from all around the world (it's kind of the point of a UWC). There were 200 students in total from 80 different countries, so there was definitely no shortage of faces. In addition, everyone there was really open to new ideas and they were all pretty creative, so I was able to do my first 'shoot'. Every Saturday I would shoot with a different friend. In the end, I think I did around 50 shoots in the two terms I was there. This really helped me refine my skills and learn how to interact with the model with the camera in between us.
It was also during this time of intense shooting that I started developing a love for fashion and different aspects of the industry. I started an online magazine, Ignyte, which was pretty successful and ran for four issues before I decided to fold it. (If you search for it you might still find it hehe)
But this experimentation in NM was short-lived. After my first year abroad, I moved back to Hong Kong to start my studies in Medicine. I was bummed because I thought I wouldn't be able to continue my photography anymore. I didn't have many friends and spent most of my time scrolling through Tumblr, which is where I found my first Hong Kong model - Sophie. Sophie and I went to the same school (GSIS) but she was 3 years younger than me so we had never spoken before. I had been reblogging sad stuff on Tumblr and somehow Sophie came across it and messaged me. And that's how it all started!
We did our first shoot in 2012 and from there, I got to meet Rachel, Mildred, Emma and so many other of my best friends now. I picked up my photography and started shooting with more and more people. I became even more interested in fashion and went out of my way to learn more about the industry and to get in touch with editors and clients. Gradually it grew and became what it is today.
And there it is. A brief chapter of my life. (I did not intend to write in so much detail, oh well...) I hope this lets you know me better and really want to thank those that have helped me on my way.
And now I can direct people to this post when they ask me how I started HAHA.