Photo manipulator Ted Chin is a craftsmen happily caught in the cross-hairs between photographic realism and surrealist dreams.

1. What are your required components for creating the perfect shot?
Ideas, concept, story or message.

2. What underlying skills or knowledge do you have that influences your photography?
When I was in college I took all kinds of different art classes, this helped me to to create and design everything I need in my shots. Also by study and learning well know artists it helped me to understand the concept behind their work. This pushes me to take a different perspective on the same subject, or you can say ‘in my own way’.

3. If you could ask one photographer one question, who and what would it be?
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4. Has there been a moment, photographic or otherwise where you ‘missed the shot’?

Yes. Beside doing photo manipulation, I also shoot street photography. There are indeed a lot of times I missed the shot. Sometimes I’ve been too slow but sometimes I do it on purpose. You don’t always have to capture the moment, sometimes you want to live in it. There is this scene from the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, when Walter ask Sean why he didn’t take the shot, he said “Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.” . So yes, sometimes I do it, miss it, just to be in the moment.

5. What would be the elements for your ultimate photograph – person, place and/or thing – visualise that?
Anything. It could be a person, place, animal, or something else. That’s the wonderful part about the imagination, anything you can imagine is real. I want to focus more about the story in it rather than just a single subject.

6. Is there a particular source, photographic or otherwise you turn to for inspiration?

Yes, books and all kind of art works I found from different places. I like to collect all kinds of art works and art-related books. Sometimes I will go to Pintrest or Google and type the key word to look for inspiration. Sometimes I will watch movies and look at picture books to see if I can find something to use. Most of the times it is a story in my life or things that happened around me that inspire me to make it a shot.

7. Sell in a few key words your particular photographic style?
Photo manipulating, surrealism, dream, fairy tale, story, fantasy, imagination, fun, adventure.

8. What predictions do you have for the future of photography?
One thing I’m pretty sure is that future camera will be small, easy to carry around and better than any camera we have now. Wouldn’t it be great if all your lenses are built in with your camera and all you need to do is just click some button and it will switch right away? Maybe the future camera can even break the form from the camera itself. Imagine there is a camera in your eyes already and you can take photos with your mind if you want. You can even frame it just with your fingers!

9. Does your underwear reflect your photographic style, is it photogenic?
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Images courtesy © Ted Chin