Norm Yip, a respected Asian male photographer based in Hong Kong, realized he had something special when photos from his first assignment with HK Magazine made it to the cover. Having moved from Toronto in 1994 to work as an architect, he realized that photography was his greater passion, and in 1999 decided to take the leap into the world of photography and art. He relied on a background in architecture to distinguish his photographic approach. "Deep down, my eye is more classical and renaissance in my approach. I studied architecture, and as such, I have a keen sense for proportion, balance, and structure to a photograph." Norm's eye for balance falls in sync with his philosophy to capture both the simplicity and strength of all his subjects.
Opening a makeshift studio in Hong Kong early in his career with a bunch of friends, Norm was inspired by an exhibition on Asian men by designer Derek Lam that would ultimately help define his direction. Also moved by photographer Herb Ritts' artistic shots of the male body, Norm combined his inspirations to focus a majority of his work on capturing the Asian male body, and established Norm Yip Photography.
Along the way, Norm developed a keen interest in fashion as extension of his work in photographing people, and as such he now also specializes in commercial fashion photography. He wanted the opportunity to think creatively and collaborate with different kinds of people - fashion photography allows him to do both.
But when it comes to fashion, Norm doesn't consider himself much of a male fashionista and dresses quite simply from day to day. So on a shoot, he leaves the clothes and makeup up to the stylist, which gives Norm the chance to focus on the shoot's overall artistic vision.
Norm's clients are typically private individuals or couples who are looking for a personal photography session and are seeking artistic photographs with lots of character. And while working with his clients, you'll almost always see Norm with his favorite piece of equipment in hand - his Holga 120 SF camera. The camera's square format produces images that are edgy and artistic.
Constantly working directly with clients and marketing his work to draw in new business opportunities, Norm was first drawn to PhotoShelter because of its advanced back-end capabilities. "The architecture of PhotoShelter is what I like, making it very easy to use for someone with basic computer knowledge." Norm also appreciates that PhotoShelter gives him the ability to choose a template that's "clean, simple, and sexy" and allows him to navigate easily without unnecessary flash or moving components.
Norm also uses PhotoShelter to handle his clients' print selection and orders, a service which makes both him and his clients very happy. From a business standpoint, he especially appreciates that PhotoShelter has incorporated fotoQuote for his licensed images. "It really makes my life a great deal easier," he says.
So what's next for Norm? He's working on several projects including a fashion-related photography book in where all profits will go to help AIDS orphans in China. So far, Norm has collected contributions from all over Asia and the fashion industry including Marc Jacobs, True Religion, and Gucci. The book will join Norm's list of self-published books including his series of "The Asian Male 1.AM" and "The Asian Male 2.AM."
Norm's drive today to find the artistic balance between simplicity and creativity from all his subjects traces back to his days a child. "I have always been fascinated by beauty and simplicity in my surroundings and the environment," says Norm, reminiscing how he was often inspired by snowflakes or cloud formations or colors in the sky. "Lines, curves, shadows -- these basic elements are what I've always been attracted to."
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