Jason Shum is one of our Top 30 under 30 featured photographers.
Here’s a little bit more about him, what he does, and some of his best advice:
Tell us how you got started in photography.
I practically stumbled upon photography. Like most of my peers, I had enrolled in a program of combined business administration and integrated biology, preparing for a monetarily rewarding career in either field. However, I would soon find the plethora of equations, models and spreadsheets mundanely unstimulating and the protocol human dynamics uninspiring. A timely birthday gift of a DSLR camera from my father in 2009, a relatively primitive Nikon D40, introduced me to the sublime world of photography and rekindled my latent interest in art and creativity.
Now that you are one of Canada’s top 30 under 30 wedding photographers, what’s next for you?
Wedding for a great majority constitutes a major event in their lives. My ideal is to capture the celebratory emotions of joy and hope in such important occasions and make them uniquely memorable. In my opinion, this recognition endorses my vision. It is both reassuring and at the same time humbling. There is a Chinese saying that the pursuit of excellence is like rowing a boat against a rapid current, it you do not move forward, you would be swept backward. This recognition is both congratulatory and a solemn reminder that I need to constantly be on my toes to redouble my efforts in bettering my work.
How has attending photography seminars or photo conventions such as the Canada Photo Convention benefited you as a photographer?
There are many different photography seminars addressing various aspects of photography. Many are held in faraway places and have limited spaces. My busy schedule prohibits physically attending such seminars but favours online workshops, many of which can be revisited and the materials carefully studied at my convenience. However, while much can be learned from these workshops, the benefits of meeting and interacting with the instructors connecting with others in the field can only be realized by physically attending seminars.
What does it mean to you personally to be a young wedding photographer in Canada?
As a young photographer, there are always many things I need to figure it out on my own, whether it’s photography, business or life in general. The Syrian poet Kahlil Gibran sums up life best in his book of wisdom, the ‘Prophet’ as ‘for life does not go backward or tarries with yesterday’.
Tell us about a pinch-me moment that you had where you just couldn’t believe that this became your life.
This, the recognition has to rank among the top pinch-me moments in my life, considering the relatively short time I have been in the field and that I never had any formal training. It is an amazing and humbling honor being mentioned in the same breath as the many amazingly talented photographers across Canada, some of whom I had been following for a very long time as my role models and sources of inspirations.
What’s one thing you would say to another photographer that’s just getting started?
Like everything else, recognition does not come without a price and there are frustrating days, even periods when seemingly nothing works but the supreme reward comes when both you yourself and your clients are satisfied with your work. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.
To see more of Jason’s work, check out his website here.