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commentary Archives | Johnny Tang Photo
An Asian man in a dark suit looking back into the camera while walking down a street. A group of the Asian man in white, walking the other way in the reflection.

Why I Make the Art I Do, and the Origins of the W.O.1

Reflection 2012 I’m part of a trend of young photographers such as: Brook Shaden, Erik Johansson and Casane, using photoshop to create surreal images. If I had to give myself a label, I’d call myself a “Neo-Photo Surrealist.” Because while I’m creating images in the tradition of the Surrealists photographers such as: Man Ray, Salvador Dali, Lee Miller and more recently Sandy Skoglund. I differ in my choice of tools, namely in my use of Photoshop. I strive to make work that strikes a delicate balance between beauty and heady. But I wasn’t always this way. To explain why, let …

A group of Asians in uniforms, standing on their head next to a graffiti wall at the Five Points in Queens, NY.

How Dance Influences My Art Part II

I’ve been a dancer much longer than I’ve been a photographer, so it’s probably no surprise that dance has had a profound influence on my creative process. This is part II of an essay dealing with the subject of how dance has influenced my art.   My experiences with dance has specifically had a deep impact over what I think GOOD art is. Some dancers have a very technical, but consistently clean style. But this requires an audience that knows the dance, in order to appreciate what these kinds of dancers are doing. Then there are some dancers who have …

Battle - Two groups of asian guys in black and white suits break dancing on the street Boston's in Bay Village.

How Dance Influences My Art Part I

Battle 2011   Over the holidays I got to catch up with some old friends, and reminisce about how we got to where we are now. One topic that was brought up is the influence of my dance experience on my artwork. I’ve been a dancer much longer than I’ve been a photographer, so it’s probably no surprise that dance has had a profound influence on my creative process. My earlier drafts of this post was too long for comfortable reading. So I’ve broken it up into two parts, starting with this post. One of the primary ways in which …

Walking Narcissist - A man in a dark suit walking in the street, with a line of men in white suits reflected in a window, walking in the opposite direction.

Walking Narcissist

Walking Narcissist Walking Narcissist is about the process of introspection, of questioning who we are and who we want to be. Like my Narcissus before it, this image directly deals with what is perhaps the primary theme of World of One, how our identities are constructed.   Production Notes The composition and placement in of the figures in Walking Narcissist, combines themes from my previous works Reflection, and Diligentia II. Reflection was the first W.O.1 image I shot on film, but I was never happy with the way it came out (which is why I hardly ever show it). I thought the …

Christian Science Center, Boston MA

Why Your Background Matters, In Art and In Life

I recently returned from a trip to Taiwan and Hainan, where I was shooting work and visiting family. As I was searching for places to serve as the background in my photos, I also thought about how my search was symbolic of my trip as a whole. Choosing a good background is a photographic skill, which is why professional photographers often bring their own. A good background can complement the subject being photographed, while a bad one can be distracting. A photobomb for example, makes for a distracting background. As the whole point of the activity is to take attention …