5 Minutes with Larry Chen

5 Minutes with Larry Chen

Who are you, what do you do and how long have you been doing it?

I love this first question, because it sounds like something out of an Schwarzenegger movie. I am an automotive and car culture photographer. I sounds like something that would not be able to exist in the real world, especially when I was in high school. It does exist, and I've been at this for 16 years. I've been to over 110 Formula Drift rounds and I've shot every 24hr sports car race in the world. I take pictures of cars and the culture that surrounds it for a living and I am lucky enough to do it with my friends from Canon USA as an Explorer of Light.

When you started out in the field you’re in, how did you get your first “break”/ was there a defining moment you just knew “This is what I want to do!”

It's pretty tough to pinpoint a single moment where the tides changed. It was a very gradual increase in access to amazing cars and events as well as my workload. There are so many organizations and companies that helped along the way, but I have to mention my pals at Hoonigan, Formula Drift and Toyota USA for helping me along the way. They most definitely gave me legitimacy in the industry.

When people like me ask you that question “What’s your favourite photograph you’ve ever taken” which one do you think of first?

I don't think I will ever have a favorite, however I found that there have just been some over the course of my career where others have grown more fond of. My Climbkhana shot of Ken Block almost going off at Pikes Peak comes to mind as probably my most famous shot, and of course I have one of our favorite Kiwi, Mad Mike Whiddett drifting his Mazda RX-7 at Gatebil back in 2012 in Norway.

Do you have a photographic inspiration?

There are so many, but I find that the ones that inspire me the most are the ones that I am in the trenches with day in and day out. My friends, Alex Wong, Camden Thrasher and Colin McMaster come to mind.

What gear do you mostly use and what bags do you use mainly?

I get asked this all the time and the easy answer is "Yes". I am so lucky in that we are able to use the best tool for the job, when it comes to Canon cameras, Canon lenses or Think Tank Photo bags. Although there are some staples to both my gear and my bag. In terms of camera bodies I'm mostly using the 1dxmk3 and the R5 at the moment, but with new bodies coming out every year I'm constantly changing. In terms of lenses you will always find a 35mm and 135mm in my bag no matter how small or large the shoot is. The two bags that I carry with me all over the world is the Airport International V3 and the Retrospective 20. I'm very proud of the fact that I took my first Airport international and Retrospective 20 to over 35 countries! I still have both bags, although they are just used for storage now.

Any advice for someone wanting to do what you do?

My advice is to shoot what you love and if you really want to be in this sort of industry, then it's a great idea to try to find some sort of internship to get your feet wet.

Follow Larry in Instagram and see a whole tonne of his work on his website


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