Peter Yang is a Brooklyn, NY photographer who is a well-known portrait photographer. He began life as a business major who was drawn to shooting photos for the student newspaper on campus (despite having never shot photos before).
He went from journalism into shooting portraits, citing that he often had big concepts that wouldn’t work under the journalism heading.
I went through about 900 different styles during that process, any gimmicky thing you can think of, I tried. Actually, theres just kind of no replacing actually doing it yourself.
He shoots many musicians as well as portraits for magazines. His work is regularly featured in publications like GQ, Rolling Stone, Esquire and The New York Times Magazine. In addition to editorial, Yang has also shot campaigns for groups like Pepsi, Comedy Central and Bank of America.
When I started out, I think I was a much quirkier photographer. I never wanted to take a picture that didn’t have a point of view or a sense of humor, always looking for something a little bit off, or a little different. I think where that made some really good images, it was also a point of undue stress.
Here’s a video where he discusses some of his processes of working with his subjects.
I usually come up with 50 ideas, write them down, don’t like them all and start from scratch. In the end, what I try to do is just be really prepared at a shoot and bring as many things as I can; just be ready to do it and let the idea come more organically. Im not interested in making fun of the subject. Its more like having them in on the joke.
Here’s a profile of the photographer and his work.