Christina Tan is an Indonesia-based photographer who specializes in travel photography. Working in the fashion industry led her to world travel where she discovered her life’s passion: photography. What started out as a hobby has given her commercial work with renown designers, multinational companies and hotels. She is more often that not busy traveling and collaborating with several top hotel brands as well as tourism boards throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
Tell me a bit about yourself- How did you become a travel photographer?
Christina Tan: I went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, California where I had a strong focus on fashion and beauty. My sense of style and art is what got me into photography, but I didn’t start shooting landscapes until two years ago. I’ve always loved to travel on my own and go on holiday to places I’ve see in magazines. I told myself it’d be such a waste if I didn’t take photos of those destinations so I started to teach myself.
How did you turn your hobby into a career?
C.T.: Instagram seemed like the perfect platform since photography was already a hobby for me. I love to share the same interests and be connected to so many people on Instagram. It gives me the opportunity to inspire an audience, which gives me great happiness. Many of the brands found me through Instagram, and I’ve never looked back.
How would you describe your style or aesthetic? What do you look for in a good picture?
C.T.: I would say my photography style is elegant, and crisp with vivid colors. In my opinion, a good picture must be sharp and beautifully composed with a strong point of interest and beautiful lights.
There’s something very futuristic about Dubai. Photographing the many skyscrapers and megastructures (like the mighty Burj Khalifa) may not be easy, but it’s all about finding the right vantage point.
What’s life like being constantly on the move as a photographer?
C.T.: It is really exciting to be in different places all the time, I get lost in time and days, but that’s what makes me feel alive
What are your favorite subjects and locations?
C.T.: I love landscape photography and Europe fascinates me.
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What was the craziest adventure that your job has taken you to?
C.T.: I went to Jomblang Cave in Central Java, Indonesia, which was the scariest experience for me as we were pulled down with ropes 60 meters down to earth to reach the place. It was the scariest experience for me but I am glad I did it! The spectacular view pays.
What kind of narratives or stories do you like to convey through your photographs?
C.T.: When people look at my photos, I want them to dream, to imagine how it really feels to be there. I want them to feel, and to have a desire to travel.
Prague, Czech Republic
There’s something magical about Venice, that is always romantic, especially after the sun has set and turned into blue hour. This vantage point is a favorite amongst landscape photographers and I can see why.
What would you cite as your inspirations behind your work?
C.T.: Travel magazines such as Travel+Leisure and Conde Nast Traveller
Which artists and photographers do you admire? How have they influenced you?
C.T.: There are so many great photographers out there, I would say Daniel Kordan, Elia Locardi and my good friend Ilhan Eroglu are my inspirations. Their photography styles are similar to what I want to achieve, and the fact that they shoot mostly in Europe are truly inspiring.
What would you say is your favorite piece of your own work and why?
C.T.: In Santorini, Greece the iconic blue and white buildings against the azure blue backdrop of the sea, along with an amazing sunset create a great shot right there. I found this image soothing and so romantic.
And this photo, [cover photo – Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy] which is one of the most photographed sites in the world, I was disappointed at first that the sun did not shine during the sunrise, but the clouds created a dramatic image in the end. I love how it creates contrast with the colorful buildings against the subdued clouds.
Photo Credits: Christina Tan