We recently caught up with Melbourne shooter Jason Lau to find out a bit about his work, the people he likes to work with and what keeps him going.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I often travel to find inspiration, and it comes in unusual places like airports, in transit or just hanging out in my hotel. It’s not necessarily the destination that helps but the headspace it gives me. Being away from everyday commitments and demands allows my mind to wander courageously and in absurd ways.
Describe one of your most challenging moments shooting.
I was part of a denim campaign and I had to photograph a person swimming underwater wearing a pair of jeans. It was difficult to find a pool where they would allow this. We ended up using a private outdoor pool in the suburbs. It was a freezing day and I spend the morning sitting submerged underwater with a dumbbell to hold me down, pointing my camera at the subject. I don’t remember ever being that cold, as I’m was not really able to move much to stay warm. We got some pretty amazing shots from that time though.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve done for a shot?
I’ve had models painted, I've hung out of moving vehicles to get the shot, I’ve travelled to some crazy locations in remote corners of the world, but I’m not sure that makes it stupid. Probably one that was pretty stupid was lying down in the middle of a busy Sydney road for a motorcycle campaign. I had to trust that the assistants were doing their job to redirect traffic as I was too busy focusing on the rider coming towards me.
What keeps you motivated/ excited about life?
I honestly think the world is an amazing place, and there is so much to experience. People are constantly creating exciting things and it’s fun to join in with that. I have a good network of photographers that I keep in contact with. I love discussing their ideas and seeing what they create. Photography can often be a lonely profession and it’s great to be able to vent and be inspired by this community.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned since you started photography?
The best lesson I’ve learnt about photography is to try and shoot in favourable conditions. This might sound obvious but a lot of photographers seem to think that good images are created by tech or complicated setups. It is worth putting the time and effort into finding a great location, subject and the right time of day rather than trying to fix it in post. If these elements are in order, I already know I’ll have a great shot before I press my shutter button.
Describe your favourite part of the world (aside from home) and tell us why.
The place my mind keeps going back to is Japan. It is truly another world, where chaos and order seem in perfect balance. I love the thought put into everything they do, from living and working spaces to cultural practices. Japan has something for everyone, no matter if you are a foodie, geek or adventurer and everything seems to be done to a high quality.
Who is one of your favourite people to work with and why?
I’ve enjoyed working with Katie Abdilla, who is a motorcycle rider in Hobart, Tasmania. I’ve shot her for a few campaigns and she is always a joy to work with. She has a keen interest in marketing too which is really helpful in coming up with concepts and shots. Brands really like her as well as she is a great communicator and collaborator. Katie always pushes herself to deliver the shot, even when she is injured or freezing cold riding through the mountains! Mostly, we’ve become great friends and it has been brilliant sharing adventures with her.
What’s your favourite photo (ever / at the moment) and why?
One of my favourite photos taken in the last year is of my friend Akshay and his fallen bike that he crashed on a sandy road in the Himalayas. It wasn’t too bad of an accident which was a relief. The image is of him looking down despondently at his fallen motorcycle holds a tension of whether to go on or not. The background is this incredible set of hills and brooding sky. It’s an image that captures the frustration and majesty of our trip through the Himalayas, one I’ll never forget.
How do you want to be remembered?
Just by the close people in my life.