Meet Diane Scaman and Mike Tan. Together they make up one of YYC’s most dynamic photography duos and have been working alongside one another in the freelance photography game for the past 6 years.
When asked what they specialize in they’ll tell you “portrait, wedding and more.” The work they do in the arts community and for small businesses is varied: from events to headshots, to concerts and art installations, the ‘and more’ category is aptly named for these two.
When asked to share their favourite photos, they share those that are unplanned and off the cuff like these shots from the 2015 Jasmine Valentina Drag Ball and Wreck City.
These selections make perfect sense considering their approach, which favours observation over staging, and can be described as ‘more listening than talking.’ Whatever photography genre they’re working in, Diane and Mike have a knack for capturing authenticity, openness and the unique beauty in real moments. It may sound simple, but that approach is easy to say and very difficult to do. When you forgo studio lighting, careful staging, and advanced camera tricks, in favour of natural light, keen observation, and perfect timing, the approach becomes “finding something rather than creating it outright” and the results, are inimitable.
We wanted to get to know this talented team a little better so we put them through a rapid fire Q&A. Here’s what we learned:
Meet Mike Tan
How did you get started in photography? Diane made me 😉
Self-taught? Formal training? Self taught for photography, but my formal training in theatre comes in handy.
Advice do you have for up and coming photographers? Take as many photographs as you can.
Most photogenic YYC location? #1 Legion.
iPhone photography: Love it? Hate it? I think it’s awesome. I love what people can do with it. But I’m awful at it.
3 songs on your playlist right now? Seasons by Future Islands. Jump on the Line by Harry Belafonte. Blue Bucket of Gold by Sufjan Stevens.
Meet Diane Scaman
How did you get started in photography? I sorta, kinda started via my Journalism program at SAIT several years ago. That program introduced me to it, and then I took it in a different direction later on.
Self-taught? Formal training? The very, very basics came from SAIT, but the majority came from just experimenting on my own and making lots of mistakes.
Advice do you have for up and coming photographers? Ignore the industry. It’s so easy to get caught up in what you “should” be doing when you can probably do something more interesting on your own.
Most photogenic YYC location? My own neighbourhood: Connaught + the Beltline area.
iPhone photography: Love it? Hate it? Love it. The less you can work with, the better.
3 favourite Instagram accounts to follow? Honestly, I don’t really spend that much time on Instagram
3 songs on your playlist right now? Food Chain by Finn & Jake, She Say by The Diamonds, and… Outkast’s I’ll Call Before I Come is on loop in my head whether I want it to be or not.
We took the liberty of creating a Diane + Mike On Repeat Playlist on Spotify, but Food Chain by Finn & Jake wasn’t available so here’s a link to a YouTube video instead. Enjoy. And when you’re done watching that, give them a follow on Instagram @DianeandMike_
Fun fact: when asked who their dynamic duo alter egos would be they said BMO & Football from the Comedy Network’s show, Adventure Time.