Justin Chung is an American photographer based in New York. Originally from San Francisco, CA, Justin began pursuing a career in photography while finishing his graduate studies in public health. Self-taught, Justin's approach is to keep things natural and honest as possible, focusing on documenting a moment.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR INTEREST IN PHOTOGRAPHY?
Taking photos began as a hobby for me, and it wasn't really until after college. While in school, I was attracted to the sciences - specifically medicine. I really thought I was going to become a doctor. But after school, I got my first dog, Buddha, and coincidentally, I had also just bought my first digital camera. I would be hanging around the house with him and would take so many photos! That sparked it. I continued on the path towards medical school by pursuing a Masters in public health, but the passion for photography never left - my graduate thesis involved getting cameras into the hands of the elderly, disabled, and underprivileged to document the struggles they faced on a daily basis. After graduation, I put a temporary hold on the medical school dream, packed my stuff and headed to New York to pursue a career in photography.
WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST SOURCE OF INSPIRATION?
I think my biggest source of inspiration comes from everyday interactions and conversations with others. There is nothing quite like the feeling when you've had a great brainstorming session with another person and the creative energy is just flowing. Perhaps maybe this is why I love coffee so much!
WHAT ADVICE MIGHT YOU OFFER TO YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO LOOK TO YOU AS A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION?
My advice is to stay true to yourself. Keep taking photographs that challenge you, and give you opportunities to push your work. Don't take assignments because you think it will impress others - just keep taking photographs that feel right.
THUS FAR WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING PART OF YOUR CAREER?
I really enjoyed living in Paris for a month in October. It was exciting to "start from scratch," so to speak, and chase down contacts, plan out shoots, cast models, and scout locations - all while in a foreign city. (And speaking very little French!) There's a certain blend of challenge, romanticism, and excitement when shooting in a different country, and I think that comes out in the work.
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