The MISSBISH Photography Workshop | Carol Tam

Photographer: Carol Tam

Instagram: @carol_tam

Location: I was born and raised in San Francisco, California, moved to Shanghai, China, and ended up in Chicago, Illinois for college. I am based in Hong Kong, but I am obsessed with visiting new places. Home can be anywhere, but nothing beats a home-cooked meal, right?

Tell us about your style of photography. How did you develop this style and what do you enjoy shooting the most? Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
I’m attracted to things that happen organically. Since I constantly feel the need to be doing something, the work I produce is quite the opposite with quiet gestures and minimal characteristics focused on line, shape, and form. I prefer to capture urban landscapes, but I do enjoy commercial work whether it’s editorials or styling. Although everything is a work in progress, I am still developing a common thread in my practice while learning more about the medium. The secret is time, allowing yourself to move at your own pace. Being in a dense environment helps me to withdraw from the unnecessary.

Tell us about your gear, what camera do you use? Post-editing?
Contax T-3. It’s mostly just color correction and a bit of retouching. Shooting 35mm allows me to focus strictly on the subject and composition. There's a certain rawness that film offers over any digital rendering.

How did you get into photography?
I started with Sculpture and Sound at SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), and during that interdisciplinary period, many of my works constructed a narrative in light and shadow. I needed to document the sculptures I made, and those were usually quite heavy in weight or large in scale, especially with the material choices of wood, concrete, or plaster and so on. This drove a conversation in finding the parallels in the two mediums and how they would work for or against one another, hence playing with scale and collages. I experimented with images on sculpture and vice versa translating the works into prints, zines, and installations. In the end, I view my practice as a whole and not just in photography, but I guess I kind of fell into photography for lack of a better term.

Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable photos you’ve shot…
A lot of images that have natural lighting and shadows are memorable; this is regarding how light can be manipulated and isolated in the frame. I think that concept itself relates back to the planet and the sun, anyways, photos from behind the scenes of fashion shows are always fun to recap! I also enjoy collaborating with friends.

Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
I like to believe everyone who has come into my life has been an influence or lesson in one way or another.

Tell us three photography tips.
Experiment, be curious, and have fun!

Finish the sentence…
If I weren’t afraid I would… probably move to Paris and stuff my face with croissants and baguettes. Wesh!

I wouldn't be where I am today if… I wasn’t so insistent on graduating early from college and then getting my ass dragged to Asia.

I've been listening to... my Insight Sounds x Amadeus playlist, a recent mix curated by AM Design for my website, and whatever I've discovered on Spotify!

Kids these days... are wild.

I look and feel my best when… I’m surrounded by good company with a night filled with food, alcohol, and music! I love a fun party!

When no one is looking... I am pretty much a spaz !!!

I respect… people on their grind, keep hustling.

Traveling... is second nature, I can’t stay in one place too long.

I would recommend interviewing… shoutout to the homegirls @amberakilla, @hhyyeung, @bahachingi, and @samgrad !!!

Website: carol-tam.com

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