A FEW weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend a short talk by one of the most respected photographers, Mr. George Tapan. If you travel a lot, you won’t miss his photos lining the walls at the arrival area, promoting different tourist destinations in the Philippines. I’d often stop and stare for a while and study how he makes those magnificent shots.
His photos are not the most complicated ones, it looks ordinary but captivating. It looks easy to capture, but it’s not. He has mastered how to capture photos that would take you in a journey and lets you take part of the scene. The hardest photos to take are the most simple ones that pack a lot of appeal.
This guy openly talks about his techniques and answers every questions as genuinely as he can. He is an open book. A book that you can read and learn all you want but champions experience above all. His love for photography is just immense. You can see it in his eyes as he talks about his prized images in his portfolio.
He said that every time he is given an assignment, he makes sure that he’ll do a lot of planning. In that plan includes how he will frame the shot. What elements to include in the frame and the message that the photo needs to communicate.
He said that in one assignment, he was tasked to take photos of Palawan for Philippine Airlines. After he took some breathtaking shots of the place, he realized that looking at the photos, you cannot tell if it’s from Palawan, or from the Philippines at least. He had to find creative ways to add to the photos. He ended up adding a local pump boat in the shot.
My genre is fashion photography, but listening to Mr. Tapan about photography, I felt I was where I was supposed to be. The challenges in angle and perspective, light and shadow are all the same no matter what genre you’re in, it’s all photography.
George Tapan is a Nikon endorser. I was surprised when he suddenly said he owns a lot of different brands of camera. From the most expensive to the cheapest. He said he is most comfortable working with Nikon, but he doesn’t mind shooting with another brand. What surprised me more is when he said to shoot raw and maintain a good file storage system.
The thought that old school photographers who believe that film is still king would recommend shooting in raw is just simply inspiring. He might not be the kind who would tell you the difference between a CMOS chip over CCD, but he understands how important data you get in raw. He said that in every shot, get the highest resolution you can because you’ll never know how important that photo might turn out.
It’s been weeks since since I attended his short talk, but it feels like just a few hours ago. Inspiration is the fuel of photography. Imagination is where it will take you. Keep on shooting, everyone!