Irwin Chan is an architectural designer and freelance photographer based in Hong Kong. He was born and raised in Hong Kong, and studied architecture in the UK for three years. OOWA caught up with Irwin recently to discover more about his start in photography, preferred style, and approach to his craft.
Q: So how and when did you start your @irwinsychan Instagram account?
A: I started this account nearly three years ago, as a supplement to my personal page that was used for documenting architecture during my travels and studies. I soon met a group of friends that were passionate about photography, which led me to become more serious about curating my feed and finding a style. Later, I found myself picking up a DSLR camera and bringing it with me every time I went out, documenting the streets and later getting into portraiture.
Q: How has your experience with the OOWA lenses been?
A: I had always wanted add-on lenses for my iPhone, as I love the element of compactness. Shooting with an iPhone was how I started my interest in taking and sharing photos, and these OOWA lenses take me back to the basics. The 15mm lens particularly stands out to me, as I have never owned a lens wider than 20mm. The low distortion worked a treat, and the wide focal length lets me capture so much in my pictures. Telephoto lenses are some of my favourite, as the 75mm is extremely sharp and superb for getting those closer shots.
Q: What kind of photographs do you like to shoot, and when?
A: I usually like to wander the streets, and shoot whatever interests me. Whether it’s the people in the area, or a unique moment as a taxi drives by; these are the things I look for. And of course, golden hour is my favourite time to shoot.
Q: What is one of your favourite photography destinations?
A: I would definitely say Japan; everything about the country is near-perfect. The light, culture, and vibe. I would recommend it to anyone who has not been there.
Q: Who helped get you into photography?
A: The friends that have introduced photography to me, either in my architectural learning or people I have met over Instagram. I think the first photos that stood out to me were from @edwardkb and @lielaine, two of the finest photographers based in Hong Kong. They showed me how beautiful my city was, and ever since, I have treasured that fact.
Q: Are there any memorable moments you’ve come across when taking photographs?
A: The most memorable moments are when I find a strip of light in the right place. When the light projects over a street and casts shadows across the buildings, these are the moments that intrigue me.
Q: What are some of your aspirations, and what do you hope to achieve, in the photography realm?
A: I want to use photography as a means of creativity and inspiration, something that I will use alongside my architectural learning. And most importantly, I want to show locals in Hong Kong how beautiful our city is.
Q: Lastly, do you have any words of advice for aspiring photographers/videographers?
A: I would tell them to go out more, and to look out for unique moments in everyday life that tend to be easily ignored. Attention to detail is key; whether it is street or architectural photography, composition is what makes an image. You can always find inspiration from other photographers, but I would advise to not copy them; rather, use their images as motivation in finding a personal style that suits you.
Irwin shot all the images above with the OOWA 15mm wide angle and 75mm telephoto lenses. Do visit his Instagram page @irwinsychan.