Milton Gan is a professional photographer, born and bred in London, who is now based in Sydney, Australia.
He's always had a keen interest in graphic design so it seems natural that his travel and architectural photography focuses on elements such as strong lines and bold composition.
What makes Milton that much more special, as we learned in our conversation with him, is that when you're happy with life and can live out your passions, that's when you truly have found success.
Image: Red Stripe
Who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I’m Milton Gan, a London-born, British and Australian citizen of Chinese-Malaysian heritage who’s 46 but looks 36, and is currently based out of Sydney, Australia but about to move to Canberra. Still with me?! I had a long career in advertising and media across both London and Sydney then ten years ago I decided I needed to do my own thing.
Photography turned from a hobby to a business with weddings as my main gig and travel photography as my personal work. Being a product of opposite sides of the planet I feel that travel photography is my way of connecting the dots between the locations and cultures that I’m derived from.
But I’m a restless soul and always curious to try new things so I recently started trying my hand as a clothing designer.
What would we be surprised to learn about your passions?
My main passions - photography, fashion design and golf - are all things that I’ve had no formal training in and only took up after I turned 30.
I’ve become a bit of a beacon of hope to the young people I know that there is life after 30!
How do you set boundaries between when you work, when you play and when you sleep?
This is something I’ve often struggled with as I work from home and I’m a night owl so it’s difficult to set strict boundaries. And as I prefer doing my own culling, editing and album designs rather than outsourcing them I’ve continually juggled my time to get everything done. But a couple of years ago it got to the point where I was at my desk until 3:30am every night and then getting up at 9am to do it all again, and as an active person I could feel my health suffering.
So I decided that things needed to change. I joined a golf club and committed myself to playing 2-3 rounds a week so I would get fresh air and exercise. I ended up becoming completely addicted to golf and it’s had the knock on effect of making me much more efficient at staying on top of all my work so I can go out and play without a massive to do list hovering over my head. I still sleep quite late but that’s now by choice (because Netflix) rather than necessity.
What rituals do you have that motivate you to continue developing as a photographer?
I don’t really have strict rituals that I practice like visiting galleries or reading books. I prefer to just always keep an open mind and view the world with childlike curiosity, and to roam and explore what’s behind that door or that corner.
I like to create unique images through instinct or because I feel a connection with the environment rather than being led by what’s trending on Instagram.
Your collection available at Kolla share a common characteristic of colour making the images come to life. Is identifying a strong colour what draws your attention when spotting a scene that you must photograph?
Colour is often what initially catches my eye as it’s a strong visual element that can take a scene from standard to exceptional. But the way I incorporate colour into my images can vary depending on the location and situation.
It could be central to the entire composition or it may play a more emotional role. And sometimes it’s the lack of colour that grabs my attention in which case I may end up playing the waiting game until the right colour comes along.
What is one thing you're obsessed with right now?
Golf! I’m so obsessed I would play every day if I could!
However, until I can afford to live a life of leisure one of the serendipitous consequences of playing so much golf is that I spotted a gap in the market to develop my own range of golf polo shirts which will be launching soon!