Upclose with Yian Huang

What runs through your mind when you’re shooting in conflict zones?
The most important thing is not to be seduced by the rush and excitement, and to be sensitive to the environment; to really try to understand what’s happening and why. The best ways to do this is to be as educated as you can about the situation by doing lots of research, and secondly by being as neutral as possible. Coming from a small, neutral country helps with the latter.
What rules do you follow when you’re working?
I always shoot with a wide angle lens. In order to fill the frame, this obliges me to get physically close to my subjects. This helps me get mentally and emotionally close to them. I shoot with a small, unobtrusive camera, without a flash and the other paraphernalia of photographers, so as not to intimidate people.
You did a stint at Magnum. What was the most invaluable lesson you learned there?
The privilege of looking through the work of the great photographers was the best. Just being around them and absorbing many lessons, either through their direct teaching or by osmosis.
The Intimate Moment runs through Nov 30 with a talk by Yian Huang on Nov 26 at Galerie Steph.