This is both part of our shooter spotlight series, and a part of our new Meet the A-Team series. We will introduce the team one by one, giving you a glimpse inside the doors of Aputure. Woods is our lead designer, and his work graces our website, advertisement, product packaging, and everything else that requires a creative touch. He’s also one fine photographer, so we decided to feature him in our Shooter Spotlight series. This was originally written in Chinese, so a few points might have been lost in translation.
Name: Woods Yan
Hometown: Xi’an, Shaanxi, China
Tell us about yourself:
I am a graphic designer, design director, and art director for Aputure. Born in the Northwest of China, I am accustomed to the vast expanse of nature. I enjoy luxury hi-fi music, watching films, taking photos for leisure, and exploring all things with a strong interest in the unknown.
How did you get started?
My first contact with photography came from Phenix SLRs, which my uncle often used to take family photographs. In my sophomore year at the Academy of Fire Arts, he gave it to me along with a 50mm lens. At that time we were using black and white film, as color was very expensive. Even as students, black and white film was very costly, and I only shot about one roll per month. But I am happy to have had a camera in that period of life, which has become a very precious memory.
Favorite camera and lens? Why?
I like the look of Nikon images, so I use a D700. It has excellent autofocus, high ISO ability, and has good RAW files for later adjustment. I prefer the rich colors of Zeiss lenses, especially the 35mm f/1.4 which is my favorite. While I have used this frequently, I have recently become fascinated with the ordinary but great perspective of a 50mm lens.
What’s your shooting style?
I do not know whether this is a matter of photography or not. For now, I like to shoot colorful photos and beautiful models. I am trying to for a more suitable way, and do not know my exact style, as I am constantly trying new things, and am still changing my approach to photography. I think, when you no longer consider the issue of style, and focus only on the subject, this is really my style. Especially when the formation of the photograph happens naturally. Even though there may be some ingenious design, but no traces of these techniques are shown in the photo. You may want a natural look, but actively intervene in the scene and interact with the subject; this is my current taste. It may seem a contradiction, but I am exploring this process.
What’s your favorite photo? Why?
I don’t have any favorite photos, sometimes only a temporary satisfaction, and soon I put it aside, and there is no satisfactory picture. Which to a photographer, this is a very troubling thing.
How has being a designer influenced your photography?
A designer has control over content and layout according to his own ideas. This is my approach to photography. I always think of my ability to intervene in the photo – to interact with all of the elements such as color, tone, etc. What is right and what is wrong? In the digital imaging era, there are no rules which are set in stone. One can find his own truth and a perfect combination of points. This is what I want.
Who is your favorite photographer? Why?
Araki Nbbunoshi. I think he was brilliant, and I appreciate his worldly courage to break from the norms. On his themes of women, sensitivity, beauty, the understanding of life, no one can compare to him. The other is Josef Koudelca, with a realistic, artistic, and unified body of work. Because it cannot be replicated, his environment and individual experience determines not only his life but also his ideas, which lead to something unique and unlike everybody else.
What does the future hold for you?
As life changes, seize every moment.
Take a look at Wood’s photos here: