David Tan?s uncanny ability to illustrate the enigmatic relationship between the naked body and fashion has set him apart from many photographers. Tan first crafted his niche in black-and-white portraiture, shooting only in natural light and without the aid of digital manipulation. His first coffeetable book in 2000, Visions Of Beauty, featured the bold designs of Gianni Versace stripped of its colours and focused on the emotional modes of expression. Tainted Perfection (2003) and Men In Black (2004) followed, showcasing beautiful stained nudes in acrylic black. Tan just launched his retrospective book The First Decade (2005) featuring his works from 1996 to 2005.
A fiercely original and independent contrarian, Tan is happy working in the penumbra of art and fashion. He holds a Master of Laws from Harvard, and graduated with first class honours in law from the University of Melbourne.
He was named the 1998 Outstanding Young Person of Singapore and Singapore Tatler?s 2001 Most Promising Young Person. In addition, he was a Lee Kuan Yew Scholar, as well as Valedictorian of the Year at Trinity College, Melbourne. His photographic campaign to promote Singapore as a global talent destination has appeared in Vanity Fair and Time. Over the last decade, he has contributed to magazines like Elle, Marie Claire, Harper?s Bazaar and FHM.
"When I create a photograph, it?s like making a work of art. I?m inviting the viewer to respond to it ? whether emotionally, aesthetically or intellectually ? and to construct interpretive theories about it. The photograph is a polylogue that transcends its original representative function. Each photograph is a narrative which acknowledges the infusion of the identity of the subject with the personality of the photographer ? a true partnership in creating a product of beauty. The impulse of modern art has been to destroy beauty. However, it is my instinctive artistic oeuvre to pursue the evocation of beauty, and at the same time deconstruct the resistance to its aesthetic attraction. Beauty always holds enormous potential for sublime perfection. Beauty brings with it all the poignancy and tragedy of something ephemeral, something fleeting. Beauty in fashion photography combines our insatiable appetite for the provocative paganism of the body with a desire to immortalise this precious yet transient moment."