The world can be a pretty strange and surreal place as it is, but for those times when it’s not quite weird enough, we can always rely on photographers and image manipulators like Ted Chin to show us things we couldn’t possibly imagine.
After finding Ted’s work on Instagram, where he has over 21,000 followers, DIYP got in touch with him to chat about his inspirations and his work.
Ted started learning about art when he was a child. After being placed into an art centred school when he was young, it allowed him to focus, and gave him a way to express himself and his imagination.
After I graduated from high school, I went to Upstate NY to study computer graphics. From there, I learn how to create art in several different mediums, from traditional materials to computer animation. I start to learn how to express my feeling and tell a story in more details.
After that I came to San Francisco for master program in 3D animation. I learned a lot through the program about story telling, setting camera shots, and how other artists are putting so much information in one simple image.
After I graduated, I found that I have more skills in photo manipulation than 3D animation. So I began to start putting what I have learned into my photography.
Part of Ted’s passion was born out of a desire to travel, but as he was not in a position to be able to do so, he let his imagination take care of it for him. He also told us that he’s not really very good at writing, so he creates images instead.
We spoke to Ted about inspiration, and the challenges he faces coming up with ideas and images in his mind.
Animation, film, and other art work was the main source that inspired me when I was growing up. To see how our mind works really makes me wonder how far can I dream/imagine.
There is no limit to it and I want to share what I saw with people who haven’t realized that they have the same ability to see it too.
I’m constantly challenging myself to create new projects. The process while creating it and picking my own brain is really interesting. It helps me to understand myself more.
But, just like the rest of us, he sometimes finds it difficult coming up with new stories to tell.
Sometimes I write down my feelings or situations and hope to turn them into ideas. Sometime I just see something and the ideas just hit me out of nowhere. Sometimes I sit there and my head is just blank – I have no idea what I want to do.
I have a note book with all the ideas that I wrote down but never got a chance to create. I’m waiting for the right moment to go back and release them.
Ted starts his ideas by sketching them out on paper. He still loves the tactile feeling of the pencil touching the paper.
Ted tries to photograph all the source material for his pieces himself, but occasionally it’s not possible.
Most of the time I will revisit my “library” and to see if there is anything I can use from there. Sometime when I have a really great idea, I will draw it down and go out to shoot them. Although there are times that I use few stock/public domain images just to practice my skills and my brain.
Ted’s personal photography equipment is quite modest, owning a Canon RebelXTi, although he rents a Canon 5D Mark III for his work, shooting with either an 18-55mm or 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. A tripod and remote trigger is also important to Ted, if he’s shooting something that’s a bit more complex.
After gathering all of the source material, Ted takes to the computer. He told DIYP about his general process once he gets there. Even while working on the computer, Ted still keeps that first sketch close by as a reference to his original vision.
I start with an idea and make sure I have all the images I want be fore I start compositing them. I will have few reference photos and my sketch next to my computer and start to composite.