Art has been a part of my life ever since I was little. From a young age I experienced live theatre, and thought it was the most magnificent thing to exist. I started taking drama classes in high school and it has definitely shaped me into the person I am today: the sassy, obnoxious, boisterous, and candid individual who is often “too dramatic”. But much more than a fun activity, theatre also changed my life as it showed me community.
Fast forward nine years and now I am a photographer/videographer. Though my art medium has changed, the main reason why I love art—the community—has not. Being at the University of Toronto, I often hear about how cutthroat and competitive business or science programs can be. I hear from worried students that they feel like they can’t trust those around them because everyone is out to get each other, that everyone stops at nothing to get the few spots in that law firm, medical school, or corporate company. Of course, art can also be competitive, but I think a big part of the solidarity amongst artists is our common struggle against friends, parents, and a society that tells us pursuing art is unstable, unrealistic, and unintelligent. Over the years of doing art, I have met so many incredible people and quirky people who are like-minded, and share similar struggles as I do. I am pretty fortunate in that my parents are supportive of whatever I do, and I have long drowned out all the “no’s” and “you can’t/shouldn’ts” from others.
I love many facets of art: how it makes me feel, how it brings people smiles or to tears, and how it moves souls. It is a universal thing that has manifested in countless ways across every culture and geographic barrier. But mostly, I love the way
that it brings people together. Two years ago I started a YouTube channel in hopes of giving all artists a platform to show their work and collaborate, no matter their skill level. I have since fallen in love with the camera, and started doing more photography. Originally, the switch from videos to photos was partially because it became too hard to gather people together to do projects, whereas photography was something I could practice/perform solo. Throughout my travels, however, I started to realize that photography could become a medium through which I connected with other people.
People very quickly became my favourite subject of photography, because within a person there are stories, feelings, emotions, memories, and love. I have witnessed so many instances where someone is being goofy or silly, but as soon as a camera is held up, they freeze. To reveal your self in front of a camera can be incredibly vulnerable and frightening, because the camera is unforgiving. But at the same time, as someone warms up to my camera, I find them warming up to me, and right there is when I know a connection is made, and those connections, are why I love art (or in this case specifically photography/videography).
If you want to see more of my pictures/videos, then check out my Instagram @arnoldlan
If you want to read my blog on my travel experiences then just click the blog button on www.lantography.com
If you just want to chat or ask me questions about photography, my journey, or how many weird stares I got while wearing my Jonah costume, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
– arnold lan