Of all the many things that inspire Kai Tan, love appears to reign supreme. In every aspect of his work he is not only surrounded by it, but is also very much drawn to it. From the newlyweds who are soon to make their vows, to the families who find joy in one another, there is a story to be told. We even witness an unwavering love from far beyond the camera, Kai’s supporting wife driving him to pursue his passions. Therein lies some of the magic that we see within his images.
An architect by trade, it was only until his friends invited him to shoot their wedding that Kai’s talents truly came to fruition. From a hobbyist, to a part-time photographer, and now his career, he made the leap once he realised how much he enjoyed connecting with his subjects. Working with each one extensively, they all become his muses.
Kai’s style of portraiture is unique in many ways, his composition allows you to focus on the people in frame but he also compliments them with strong structural elements. Each component working in harmony, the photograph pulls in different stories, emotions and visual intrigue together.
It is not only his muses that dictate his work, art and movies help form a canvas in his mind. Some of the greats like Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai have inspired Kai, pushing his work into unexplored realms.
“Some people described my style with terms such as natural, architectural, cinematic, etc. My method may be different depending on different muses who carry different stories of theirs; probably the only consistency is my personal preference on certain elements such as natural emotions and inclusion of a sense of place and time. I also try to be versatile if I’m in different places, situations, or weather, and I avoid applying the same formulas to my muses. ‘Become like water’ as Bruce Lee said.”