"I would say my father is my biggest inspiration and hero. I actually believe that my entrepreneurial spirit came from him. The man came from the Vietnam War with nothing, but a scholarship and studied as hard as he could so he could have a good job in the future."
How did you get to where you are now in your career?
A lot of hard work and perseverance. You have to be proactive in this industry; you can’t just wait for life to fall right into your lap. When you start your career, there are a lot of people out there who will use you because you’re inexperienced. But over time you will learn to make people see the value in your work and the amount of creativity and effort you put in to make sure every person has something unique created just for them. The other side of it is my mentors – although I have never had a one-on-one mentor, I work for a photography magazine called Capture Magazine and have had the chance to interview many amazing professional photographers who I look up to. I try to get a little insight or advice from each photographer I talk to so I can further improve my work. Tie it altogether with a little strategy, as to how I can get people to see my work, and a little bit of luck and I would say that’s how I’ve got to where I am in my career.
How did your education prepare you for the future?
I study a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) and Law and that has really helped me to navigate the business side of my career when it comes to approaching people, educating myself about certain topics and being smart about legal obligations and contracts. However, I never had an education in photography. I sort of just picked the camera up, started shooting and would discover new techniques and interesting compositions. I did learn a few things when I was modelling though. I modelled at a photography school called CATC and I would come in for student photographers to practice different lighting set-ups with me while the lecturer would talk about how certain lighting could evoke different moods. I guess you could call that a free education. Working at Capture Magazine has also let me gain advice and an insight into the world’s best photographers and how they work and do what they do. All these things have prepared me to create work that I’m passionate about, but with enough business and legal sense to make sure I’m doing everything properly and effectively.
What person has been your inspiration in life? Who is your hero?
I would say my father is my biggest inspiration and hero. I actually believe that my entrepreneurial spirit came from him. The man came from the Vietnam War with nothing, but a scholarship and studied as hard as he could so he could have a good job in the future. But he didn’t just stop there. He went on to create many companies, that have created jobs and opportunities within Sydney’s western-suburbs, and invest in properties, all while working a full-time job as a teacher at TAFE. The man is an inspiration to why I need to keep on pushing the envelope as to what I can achieve in my short time here on Earth.
Do you feel like you’ve met your goals and are successful?
Never… and that’s what keeps me going. My goals and my definition of success grow with every waking hour I spend working.
If you had to do it over again, what would you change?
I think I would’ve started younger. When I was younger, I did have interests in music, film and the performing arts, but I was never 100% serious about them. I would dabble in them, but it was usually for the purpose of being “cool.” I wasn’t exactly good at anything, just a jack of all trades. I wish I were more serious about my art and I did it more for me in my younger years. That could’ve made such a difference in my growth as an artist.
What advice would you give someone who is young and wants to have a position such as yours one day?
Start your company… But before that, have fun and explore the depths of your creativity as much as possible before you start working. That way you will be able to nurture your talent and have greater confidence in your vision. Also, don’t expect anyone to hand anything to you. If you’re trying to get somewhere in the industry, you have to hustle and make a name for yourself, but try not to do it alone. Surround yourself with great friends, mentors and talent to support you along the way.
How do you stay inspired?
Do things that make me feel human. Read, go swimming, skate around the city, sit at a café and people watch, laugh with my friends, get drunk and, most importantly, keep on taking photos… even if they are shitty iPhone photos. Stay connected, be human.
What photography related things do you recommend?
Anything that can take or push your camera into interesting places. I love drones, water-housings, gimbals, time-lapse sliders and 360 videos.
How can people reach you for a job? And how would they know your rate?
People can reach me by email on “email@example.com”, they can visit my website “www.christopherquyen.com”, or they can find me on social media on @chrisquyen. Every project is different so the best thing to do is to approach me with your idea and your budget and I’ll let you know accordingly.
What's your favourite camera?
Although I shoot on the Sony A7R II at the moment, my favourite camera I’ve ever shot on is the Fujifilm X-E2. This might quickly be replaced by the soon-to-be-released Fujifilm GFX 50S which I had the chance to play with.
Tell us something very interesting while working with a model.
We were doing a nude shoot at a secluded beach one day, nobody was around, and the model and I were just creating these beautiful images against the moody sea with a sheer red cloth flying in the wind. After we finished our shoot and packed up, we turned around and saw a man behind us with his cock in his hand! We both exchanged glances of shock horror and before we knew it, he was out of our sights in a second!
What is like to photograph kids?
I wouldn’t know since I don’t photograph kids.
How do you when a kid is going to be a great model?
Favourite model? (Name and email would be great. Otherwise, please leave this blank) Kiko Mizuhara
Favourite makeup artist? (Name and email would be great. Otherwise, please leave this blank) Natalie Abreu / firstname.lastname@example.org
Favourite designer? (Name and email would be great. Otherwise, please leave this blank) Toni Maticevski
Favourite hairstylist? (Name and email would be great. Otherwise, please leave this blank)
Instagram: www.instagram.com/ChrisQuyen Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChrisQuyen Website: www.christopherquyen.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/ChrisQuyen Email: Christopher@seakyucreative.com Photo Credits: #1 – Model: Jacquie Rodrigues #2 – Model: Alice Xiao #3 – Model: Alice Xiao #4 – Model: Nicola McClean #5 – Model: Audrey Alim / Make-Up Artist: Natalie Abreu #6 – Model: Agnes Choi / Make-Up Artist: Natalie Abreu #7 – Model: Bridget Hollitt / Make-Up Artist: Mika Omura / Stylist: Yenifer Ubiera #8 – Model: Bridget Hollitt / Make-Up Artist: Mika Omura / Stylist: Yenifer Ubiera #9 – Model: Bethany Gregory / Make-Up Artist: Natalie Abreu #10 – Model: Anoush Anou