“The winner of the most prestigious photography award from the National Geographic Magazine, conferred First Place in the “Places” category in 2013 International Contest, almost the highest honour.” So shall this be the most direct introduction to Adam Tan.
His winning entry entitled “Long Road to Day Break” was shot in Yuanyang, China. The accompanying narrative reads, “In today’s China, rapid modernisation swept through provinces and towns, this rural old town may soon change its face to one of those drab monotonous modern cities, losing its intrinsic rural charm.” I felt especially blessed to be able to capture this scene at that very moment in time and space. This classic scene, a charming old town, with the morning sun about to break forth, an industrious mom, carrying her baby on a bamboo basket behind her, walking through the gathering fog to work…
A photography website critiqued,” This photo possesses an ethereal beauty that transcend reality with a dreamlike quality that makes it more like a piece of art on canvas…”
This scene captures what’s left of an ingenuous charming old town, with changes on its heel but still retains its simple, unadorned beauty; the road on which the mom and child travelled, shrouded in thick mournful fog conveys a feeling of loss and uncertainty toward the unpredictable future; and the intruding taxi, sudden and brash, further enhance the dichotomy between the old and new. All these forces and symbolism come together to forge a perfect visual composition that’s at once beautiful and deeply moving.
Aside from the honour this remarkable work brought, Adam’s other accolades include:-
- Spot Light Award, Black &White Magazine, USA, 2014.
- Excellence Award, Black & White Magazine, USA, for 3 consecutive years, 2012 -2014.
- Second Place, Grand Prix la Decouverte, France, 2013. “Long Road Home” was accepted into the prestigious collection of the National Library of France.
- First Place, Neutral Density Award, UK, 2014.
- Second Place, Spider Awards, USA, 2014.
- Commended, Creative Travel Monochromal, Travel Photo of the Year, 2015, United Kingdom.
- Gold Selection, North Valley Art League, International Juried Photography Show, USA, 2015.
- Top 20 Professional Photographers of the Year, UK, 2014.
- Hasselblad Masters Top 10 Finalists, 2016.
Adam’s works cover a range of themes and categories. Besides his highly published work in “People/Places”, he is equally adept in other areas such as “Nature/ Landscape”, “Portraiture”, “Black& White” and “Abstract”. His winning entry, “The Visitor”, Black& White Magazine’s Spotlight Award, showcases his superlative skill in photographic abstract art. Perhaps to better express it, it is his ability to discern the special, the significance out of the ordinary with his unique sight and capture it through his masterful skill and narrative.
At present, Adam is actively compiling a series of “Nature/Landscape” works using his distinctive “Long Exposure | Minimalist Art” technique. The distilled, condensed quality of this art form, stripped off the nonessential brings to focus a beauty that’s mysterious, abstract, contemplative and otherworldly. His winning series of 4, Commended, Creative Travel Monochromal, Travel Photo of the Year, 2015; is a sample of such work. In this series, Adam creatively collaborated a fusion of Traditional Chinese painting and a contemporary minimalism art/long exposure technique.
Photography is Adam’s mean of exploring the world. He is passionately in love with photography and had done this for the past 20 years. However, Adam’s higher purpose is to impart and transfer this passion to others. He establishes photography classes, workshop and sharing fellowship and leads travel trips and etc with the single-minded devotion to teach this art to his students. Each year, many of his students participated in contests and earned awards and mentions from all over the world.
Adam teaches with his heart, his lessons are interesting and absorbing. He shares his philosophy openly and his techniques unreservedly. His perception and interpretation, his invention and creative skill are of the highest standard. He compressed all these into a series of courses to allow quick comprehension of theory and easy mastery of techniques. When asked about his love of photography and in teaching, he said, “The art of photography goes beyond technique and equipment. It arises from the heart and it touches the feeling and emotion, it arouses senses and recognizes beauty. We must come to grip that we are artists, with high passion for art, a love in creating and zeal to elevate our artistic level with inventive ideas and vivid imagination.
The camera is but equipment. How we see with our mind’s eyes makes all the difference. Photography allows us to see the world anew with its manifold beauty. It’s sad that somewhere along the way, we lost the ability to see and look with tired eyes, seeing only the insipid monotony of our world. Photography shall be our faithful companion in our quest to rediscover our lost vision and seek out the beauty of this earth. Then we task ourselves with the sacred duty of disclosing what we had discovered, its inherent beauty, to humanity.
Won’t that be awesome?