Artist Interview: David Chang

Artist Interview: David Chang

China Macau Architecture Lookup

Get to Know Artist David Chang!

David Chang (@swggrbck) is a Chicago-based photographer. He has dedicated his time to shooting travel, lifestyle, and concerts. His signature work focuses on portraiture, capturing natural expression and neon. Follow his work on instagram for more visuals!


What was your first camera?

Canon 6D. I emptied my bank account at the time to purchase it. I still own it and shoot with it regularly. It's pretty outdated at this point. And half the buttons don't work because I've beaten it up so bad over the years. But it's such a work horse I can’t see myself without it at this point. 

What message or advice do you have for young creatives just starting out?

Travel as much as possible. The world is so big. We have a finite number of years to explore it. I try to take at least one big international trip every year. It helps recalibrate my creativity and motivates me to work harder so I can continue seeing more of the world. Travel smart and find opportunities where you can to see what you can!

In Frame:  @Swggrback  // Photographer:  @AudaciousKev

In Frame: @Swggrback // Photographer: @AudaciousKev

What is your ideal career path and your end goal in this creative community / industry?

My end goal is to collaborate with artists outside of the realm of photography. I would love to do more editorial style photoshoots with musicians. I have always aspired to have "magazine" style shoots in my portfolio. The cover of the January 2018 issue of Rolling Stone magazine featuring Migos is my benchmark inspiration. That's goals right there.

Have you ever used a film camera, do you see the value in learning the roots of the medium? Do you primarily shoot digital?

I just recently started teaching myself how to shoot on film. I never took any formal photography classes. So I never appreciated shooting on film or found value in learning it. However I found myself being drawn to the aesthetic of film recently. I bought a Nikon One Touch point and shoot and a vintage Canonet QL 17 GIII rangefinder. It's a totally different experience, and so far I am loving it.

What’s your favorite lens? Why?

Fujinon 35mm F/2. It has the fastest and quietest autofocus out of any lens I own. It renders colors so naturally. The RAW images it produces are so good that I often find myself not even editing the photos I take with it. Another bonus is that it is weather sealed and very compact. It is the perfect travel or street photography lens. (The image below is an unedited RAW photo straight from this lens. No edits needed honestly.)

Model Flourescent Mood

Explain some hardships you’ve experienced as a creator.

The most difficult thing is finding the balance to work full time and create. I struggle with it daily. But I remind myself that everyone lives off the same 24 hours. So it's just a matter of staying focused.

Show us your creator squad!

Shoutout to my shooters @papertiger.jpg, @intron.depot, @seoulfocus, @kingkaai, and @koolmac. These have been my homies since day 1 and we have learned so much from each other. 

How would you describe your photographic style?

I don't know how else to describe the word "HYPE" but that's how I would sum up photo style. Whether I'm shooting portraits, landscapes, or street, I need my photos to have a certain level of energy and aesthetic. Even my minimal shots need to have a presence that stands out from the crowd.

Japan Art Installation White Lines Model Hype

Can you walk us through the actual process that you use to set up a portrait?

I am a firm believer of natural posing over deliberate posing. It's all about capturing that "moment." It's hard to capture the magic of a moment when the pose is forced or planned. I always encourage my subjects to worry less about posing and focus more on the emotional aspect of the concept. The human face is very telling. And it's easy to spot the difference between something that's natural versus something forced. The best way to look natural is to actually be natural.

When shooting portraits, what are you favorite props to keep in your toolkit?

I am addicted to buying sunglasses. I have a massive collection ranging from cheap $5 ones to vintage designer shades. They come in handy for a lot of my photoshoots. If you look through my Instagram feed, you will probably notice that most of my portraits feature sunglasses.

@MikeLindiesel  in Frame

Focal Collective: Artist Interview Series

Focal Collective would like to thank our contributing artists! This recurring propensity to create and growing community continues to inspire us. Are you interested in sharing your story? Feel free to apply to our Artist Interview Series with your portfolio, IG, and a brief introduction via our contact page. We'll look out for your message!

Focal Points: Adventure, Tutorial, Gear

If you enjoy our artist interview series, feel free to check out Focal Collective’s other adventure, tutorial, and gear review sections from our blog section Focal Points! We also have free adventure and tutorial content on our YouTube channel!

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