All images by Anthony Chang. Used with permission.
“There is one thing I like to do in particular with my photographs. I absolutely love the panoramic format, and by that I mean a wide crop. For a fair bit of my photos I do use what is often referred to as The Brenizer Method, or bokehrama as its also known as,” says photographer Anthony Chang about his panoramic portraits. “I take a photo of my subject then proceed to pan the camera all around the subject in order to capture the rest of the environment. Which in turn makes the photo look like it was shot with an unrealistically fast wide angle lens.” Essentially, he really loves bokeh.
But more than that, Anthony is quite skilled in creating scenes that actually can captivate someone.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.
Anthony: I started with photography when I was still just a child. My dad had a camera, which at the time I thought was super impressive as he walked around with it and a hammer flash. I remember when he bought our first Polaroid camera and how amazed my brother and I were when he first showed it to us. Eventually I got my own camera and just played around for the longest time, never thought I’d be where I am today.
During my first year of college I wasn’t enjoying my program and dropped out of it. Without any idea of what to do with my future I said, “Screw it. Let’s try taking this photography thing a little more seriously.” I enrolled in my college’s photography program (for those curious I went to Fanshawe College). I passed with flying colours and here I am today, really just another kid with a camera!
Phoblographer: What got you into portraiture?
Anthony: To be honest I never was that big into portrait photography. I actually started off loathing the idea of photographing people. That was because I use to be quite the shy person who was uncomfortable around other people. I eventually learned to open up to people instead of shying away and never saying anything. Photography was the reason for that. I started getting into portraiture for myself, all in order to break away from my old self. Though I’m still working on it, I am after all still quite the introvert.
Phoblographer: Why do you tend to love the Brenizer method and panoramic portraits so much?
Anthony: I love the Brenizer method (or bokeh panorama/bokehrama) because I love shallow depth of field and I love having a wide-angle of view. Nothing more than that to be honest. I didn’t buy a F0.95 (I have the Mitakon 50mm F0.95 for those curious) lens so I can shoot at F8. I want it so I can shoot at F0.95 and get that shallow depth of field. With this method I can get unbelievably shallow depth of field with that wide field of view that would other wise be impossible. Personally I just love the aesthetic of a panoramic photo, I love that crop and framing you get with it.
Phoblographer: How do you feel panoramic portraiture helps you express yourself creatively?
Anthony: I feel the panoramic view is in line with my vision, I mean as humans we have a wide field of view, but we focus on just one subject at a time. Because of that I always want something a little wider but I always aim for some separation through depth of field. Plus it’s something that’s a little different, and different is good!
Phoblographer: One of the biggest pillars of portraiture has to do with focusing and emphasizing a person and telling a bit about them through the imagery, but that’s tougher to do with panoramas. How do you feel your work accomplishes this goal?
Anthony: It is true that with these panoramic photos the subjects themselves become less apparent. There is a lot less emphasis on the people themselves. In order to combat that I actually end up with a central composition in a lot of my photos. To me that panoramic crop has more impact. It can make the subject stand out more but I have to be careful of the background so they don’t get lost in the photo. I also try to get my subjects to stand out more through their wardrobe, or through my lighting as well. That entire empty space can also conveys a sense of isolation as well depending on how the photo was shot. In the end the photos do become less about the person and a little more about the environment they’re in.