Frank Yang is a superb talented Taiwanese artist with the body of an athlete. He is a violinist, photographer, bodybuilder, performance artist, and all around weirdo (in a good way). He’s obsessed with abstract philosophical ideas. One of those types who strives for “aesthetics” in everything. Frank shoots a lot of street and life photography.
When did you first think of becoming a photographer?
The first time I encountered photography was when I was 17. I took my mom’s DSLR camera and started taking pictures during a family trip. The first picture I took, after several tries, was a close up of a few droplets hanging from a leaf. I was amazed at how a camera, with a slightly different lens, can allow you to reimagine the world from a totally different dimension. Over the next year or so I started to take more photographs using my 8 year old brother and my mom as models. But at that point I didn’t know what I was doing, I just felt an innate need to express myself, and photography was a very quick, and visceral way to capture and sketch out my thought process and feelings.
How would you describe your style?
Stream of consciousness and spontaneity. I like capturing a person’s thought, and however fleeting, render it eternal. I almost never use artificial lights. And I don’t know much about the technical aspects of photography. If I see something interesting and I have a camera in my hand, I take the picture.
If someone is interested in photography, what would you recommend they try doing to get into the field?
Become interested in other fields. I think photography is about looking at the world from as many different angles as possible. When I was in art school and majoring in films, the most unique films were made by students from other departments like fine art and transportation design. I think if you are an outside looking in, the work is more interesting. Maybe try meditating a bit. I think for photography you gotta go full Zen mode in the sense that you have to capture your subject in his or her most authentic form, you have to empty yourself, get rid of your ego and prejudice and be completely receptive.
What kind of equipment do you use now, and what did you start with?
I started out with a Canon. I’ve used the Mark 3 for a few years until it got stolen at an airport in Vietnam while I was taking a nap. Soon after that I got my first iPhone and I went through a phase where I was obsessed with Instagram and taking pictures of girls’ asses. Just last month I got a Sony A7S II and I’ve fell in love with it, and I think I’ll stick with this one for a while.
Who are some of you favorite photographers past or present?
I like Jeff Walls a lot because he was very conceptual. Also the way he takes days or months to prepare and set up a shot blows my mind. It’s almost like he was making a full-length feature film and condensing it to a single frame. From the opposite spectrum, I also like Japanese minimalist photographers like Rinko Kawauchi. Her photos fully captures the subjectivity of immediate perceptions and serves as a good reminder that the present moment is all that matters.
Briefly describe a Day in the Frank Yang!
You can find Frank Yang on the Web :
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted to Frank Yang.