10 minutes with Nicole Tung

Interviews with Photographers April 29, 2013 8:54 am

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?

I think I knew I wanted to pursue photography and photojournalism seriously during my freshman year of university at NYU. I’ve always been interested in international affairs and history, and during the first few months of college I was reading up on the Balkans in my own time. I decided to take a trip to Bosnia to see how the country was faring over a decade after the end of the war there. This was 2006. I got in touch with local NGOs and one of them took me to an internally displaced persons camp outside of Tuzla in eastern Bosnia. I met many widows of the men who were killed in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 and I spent a day with them and photographed them. I suppose it felt natural doing that, and after developing the images I realized how powerful the medium could be to tell stories.

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

 

Who were the first photographers that inspired you?

The first photographers who inspired me were Josef Koudelka, Luc Delahaye, several others who brought a particular aesthetic to documenting history and social structures.

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

As a female photographer traveling to places of conflict, and oftentimes in the Middle East, do you find yourself treated differently than your male counterparts by your subjects?

As a female photographer traveling to conflict zones or conservative societies, yes, sometimes I get treated differently by my subjects. Sometimes it can get incredibly frustrating but I focus on trying to make the photographs and focus on the stories rather than the personal issues that might otherwise affect me. I’m there because I think the camera is a tool to say something, so it’s not about me and I have to set aside gender issues to show that I can do the same kind of work men can. I usually don’t see my work through that kind of lens but it’s often difficult not to in a place like the Middle East.

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

If you could go back ten years, what advice would you give yourself?

If I could go back 10 years I suppose I’d tell myself to be a better business person! Navigating the world of freelance photography, especially in photojournalism, is a steep learning curve when you are completely independent.

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

 

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 8.46.32 PM

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung

Any words of wisdom for up-and-coming photojournalists?

Advice I’d give to young photographers: photograph what you are interested and passionate about. The content of the work and what you are trying to say through it is the most important aspect, and everything else will follow.

(Nicole is currently based in Istanbul. See more of her work, here)

1 Comment

  • Christian

    Hi Nicole,

    and how can you help those people if you are located in Germany and just watching the pictures in Syria.

    So support of the rebells is useless. I wish all of them peace and that they can build their country soon.
    Christian

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