Name: Dan Tom
Nationality: Chinese American
Favourite word: – – –
1) I love the attention to colour in your photographs. You can tell there is so much work behind every picture. How did you get into photography? And, most importantly, what has driven you to start this photo diary?
As a kid I loved art – it was my favorite subject in school. In high school I took every drawing/painting class that was offered. I knew I had an eye for detail. I went on a missions trip with my church for two weeks in Kazakhstan back in 2005. We had a small team of 4 and I was put in charge of documenting our trip. I had a point and shoot camera which I used and soon discovered passion for photography. I began to see what worked with certain photos, why soft light and shooting portraits of the kids in the shade looked better vs harsh light. A few years later I purchased my first SLR and took it everywhere with me. I documented everything I did.
2) Tell us about the places you document. How do you find these jewels?
I think the best way to get inspired is through a photograph. I remember seeing a photograph of Cappadocia, Turkey that my friend Cat showed me. I was sold immediately and had to see that place for myself. So I bought a ticket and went! That was the first trip that was inspired by photography for me. I ended traveling for 2 weeks thru Turkey and Greece.
I tend to gravitate towards places that are def nature inspired. I love the excitement of going somewhere new. I’m fascinated by what I don’t know or have yet to see.
3) I find it interesting how very few urban photographs stand out in the sea of mesmerizingly beautiful landscapes. Is it because you are not a big-city person, or is there something else behind your choice of nature over urban photography?
I grew up in San Francisco and love it! City life is definitely me. But for some reason nature/landscapes places off the beaten path are more interesting to photograph. I find it easier to connect with nature and something about it soothes to the soul. Not sure why.
4) What, in your opinion, do we learn from exploring the world, from the people we encounter, from the physical contact with flora & fauna we had only read about in books or seen on TV?
It’s hard to tangibly say how travel impacts you. I think everyone is different. With that said, it’s impossible to not be impacted in a beneficial way when you travel. No matter what your experience (good or bad) you will learn something new about yourself or someone else. If there was one common link that’s always emphasized in travel, we are all the same. There is no difference between you, me, and anyone else from anywhere else.
5) I am curious, have you had any recurring dreams throughout your life?
I have not!
P.S. Can you remember how many countries you have been to so far? Is there a special place you would want to return to again and again?
I’ve been to 28 countries. I would rather go somewhere new than revisit somewhere familiar.
Interview by Wuffa | Alisa Nikitina