Tuesday, November 2, 2010

35mm film || Black & White Photography

all images taken with Nikon 50mm 1.8 and 400speed Black & White film (shoprite? cheapy brand)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's Officially Uploaded!

Great news! I've shared with some of you earlier (See a few blogposts back) that National Geographic's Stock Photography department asked to include one of my photos in their stock collection.

It's finally uploaded! Go ahead and place your order! If it is any incentive, I get a small commission from your orders.

Here are the steps:

2) Enter "Jonathan Tan" or " 1272403" in the search bar to the right.

3) Order & Enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010


marinated beef, onions, lettuce, mayo, cheese in a fried-pressed plantain sandwich with seasoned rice and chorizo.

thank you chicago.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I've been invited!!!!!

National Geographic's "Your Shot" had a contest back in September 2008, and I was encouraged by a friend to submit some images.

They got back to me about a week ago, and asked to include one of my images in their stock gallery. SWEET!

Here's a screenshot of their invite page, as well as a mini version of the image they want included in their stock library.

here's a bigger version of the image:

(sorry for looking snobby, but I have to copyright it since I sent it to someone at the Central Park Zoo for identification help, as they were passing the image around to find someone who can ID the birds correctly for final submission)

If you'd like to support me, please stay tuned while I await the link for the image in their stock library.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

my 5 current random thoughts

(PLEASE NOTE: images in this post are not mine. found them via google searches.)

1) i think i've teared at every wedding i've photographed thus far-- and usually its during the vow exchanges

2) never been on a blind date. a tad curious to do so.

3) i've always wanted to go to some random person's funeral, even considered scheduling 1 random funeral attendance a month. why? because it's things like death and loss and scares (tumors revealed to be benign) that give us that little wake up call in life, opening our eyes/ hearts, and put the things in life into perspective

4) not really tempted by netflix, and pretty sure I will never order it. movies are great, temporarily entertaining, and unless they come with other benefits (hanging out with others, provoking good conversations and inspiring inner creativity), i think movies are a waste of time in life., like video and computer games. why?

no one sits on their death bed and wishes they could watch that movie again, or play those games or get those high scores. most everyone wishes to spend more time with their friends, family, loved ones, experience those little moments that get your insides excited and joyful. C'mon people, isn't life suppose to be an adventure?

5) i love photography. not because the pay or the "coolness" factor that comes with carrying a neat job title, but because it's how i see the world. i see the world in moments, in silent and still frames. images that weave and connect together to bring about a story full of words, emotions, thoughts, all while tapping into the empathy of the viewer. thats why i like the title on my business card, "visual storyteller". thats how i identify and strive to be as an artist.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

freedom at the shore

thoughts i wrote out on my phone, dated 3.6.10...

there is that sense of freedom i feel when i'm at the shore. the same warm feeling. it's that same warm feeling that overtakes when I use to walk out of a college classroom, having taken the last final before summer break. like running barefoot across an open grassy field. some people reading this blogpost may wonder why Life doesn't allot that feeling of blissful freedom to us more often?

gear: d700 + 50mm 1.4

perhaps the real question might be why don't WE seek those moments out more ourselves?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

itching to get outta here

and travel somewhere.

people always ask why i'm so uppity about wanting to travel, so here's some quick thoughts

1) it's freedom. to me, i love the idea of wandering streets i don't know, hearing tongues i can't understand, and trying foods i have no idea how to pronounce (except anything from the sea is always pronounced "yuck"). i like being crammed on a train to somewhere, and airplane landings are something i get really excited by.

2) it's educating. seeing other cultures + other worlds allows me to broaden my knowledge. the smells, visual sensations and of course, new linguistic exposure. i wanna travel to big cities + small villages, and take it all in. it's so captivating to me-- after all, if we're not learning, we're not living.

3) it's humbling. going places and seeing what other people have/have not makes you really appreciate what blessings we have at home. ever carry your toilet paper in your daypack? i did. ever scared to go into an african mud-brick, nearly-pitch black outhouse with the fear of real snakes and malaria? done that too. i never pooped and wiped so fast in my life before. it makes you appreciate clean dishes, waking up to breakfast already made, and most definitely not having to do your laundry on washboards, outside in the backyard, when chickens are trying to peck your toes.

if anything, travel for me helps me to refocus my mind on.... to be continued. bed time.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

if i had more time...

In the last year, i've always wished and prayed and hoped that God would suddenly expand the hours of a day-- something like making the earth bigger so it turns slower... or rotate slower in general.

depending on how one thinks about it, our days are actually kind of.. set. eternalistically, our days are also numbered.

on the contrary, when people say "i dont have time to do this.. or that", i always reply, "actually, you just DONT make time". perhaps its time to eat my words? yeah, i work a 40hr fulltime job, plus put in another 20-30+ hours doing our business (the higher side if we have full day wedding shoots on the weekend). and yes, i sleep a full 7 hrs at night, work, edit, drive to work, come home, reply to emails, and do the same thing over again for 5 days a week.

the more time i realize i don't have (or wish i did), the more i think about the stuff i'd do if i were more free in life. since i've been thinking about things i'd want to do if "i had more time", here's my list:

1) watch TED videos.. with a friend. then chat about it over coffee or cupcakes or fresh baked cookies. i think TED is simply inspirational, thought provoking, and life challenging. then, ill go and live life with a little bit more kick.

2) share a meal with someone i want to get to know better. no datey-date-dates, just a hangout. i'm a bit of everything, and particularly, a personable person. i like my privacy, but i also like to share my life, my thoughts, my experiences with another person. why? because i don't find connecting with people all too hard; everyone's got something in common. also, i find a lot of joy in getting to know someone just a little bit better. i feel like that's one small thing i can contribute to this world when i'm here on earth- letting others feel like a person because i'm interested in their story, their life, their interests and their peeves. for real. so many people in this life go through it being walked by, pushed aside, ignored, left alone. everyone's got a story to share, and all we gotta do is ask.

(photo taken at Oka's- a great japanese place in Oakhurst, CA. excellent sesame chicken with real sesame oil)

3) take portraits of someone. i've always believed portraits, if well thought and executed, allow a momentary glimpse into a person's soul. their eyes say so much, the way they present themselves offers something words can not. since i like people and getting to know people, i think portraits stems out of that liking i have for getting to know people deeper. (see point #dos).

(my pal jess: missionary, writer, photographer, stand-in-mom during college)

4) taking night photos.. with someone. i love nighttime. whereas some people say the nighttime is dark and boring, i say the nighttime is where some things really come to life. if you sit long enough, you can see the stars. or a shooting star. or nocturnal animals like bats and owls and Pooh bear. just kidding on the bear. i've never smoked cigarettes, nor do i ever plan on it. but i love watching people smoke. and i love how smoke travels endlessly and so creatively, and then suddenly disappears. same reason why i like campfires-- as i've said before to anyone whose going backpacking with me, someone once told me that campfires are nature's version of the television. you can sit and just watch the flames dance and dance and dance, and it'll always be entertaining.

(my other jess friend- awesome photographer and all around cool)

(some friends smoking cigars at a bachelor party)

5) going climbing outdoors, with someone. contrary to what people think, climbing is more than having strong forearms and rough hands. there's a lot of faith involved in the person who supports ("belay") you, and most of your faith falls onto three things: a) the belayer b) the rope c) the anchor. anchor-wise, there's a lot of physics involved-- angles, amount of force exerted to hold a climber and even a faller. then there's the technical aspect of climbing- balancing your body, points of contact, redundancy in the anchor system, rope work and rope care, all that jazz. but all in all, it's a little lesson on life-- working with others, having a little faith, and pulling through until the sun goes down. interested? call me up and let's adventure.

pretty much, life changes so quickly and i guess growing up is one big battle. finding our careers, following our passions, all the while juggling what we must do, and trying to squeeze in what we want to do.

oh yeah, and i like being with people. i know a lot of people think of me as a bit of a hermit, as i much prefer a lot of things solo (i.e. day trip to nyc, etc) but thats only my way of recharging. we're all created to be a part of relationships, thats what makes us humans so unique. there's something we can enjoy from living and breathing alongside others that cannot be obtained alone.

yet, i get so excited thinking about the unexpectedness that life may bring me to. journeys, adventures, people, roller coaster rides of all sorts, and i get so antsy.

as my friend kelli use to quote from a song by steven curtis chapman, "bring it on".

Friday, May 14, 2010

Practice Session in NYC

my friend will invited me along for a practice session of some breakdancer friends of his. check out my favorites:

full set seen here (PASSWORD is "dance"):