Nathan King has a passion for photography and making a difference. This South African photographer and owner of Nathan King Photography has been based in Hong Kong for over a decade and combines these two passions on a daily basis. We met up with him to find out more about his inspirations and latest animal welfare charity project.
Where in South Africa were you born?
I was born Pretoria.
What brought you to Hong Kong and how long have you lived here?
I was chosen to move to Hong Kong from the UK to set up a photography company called Venture Studios. That was more than 14 years ago.
What did you do before coming to Hong Kong?
I did a lot of different things – mostly photography related. I worked in darkrooms doing hand prints, I covered sporting events and festivals for websites and even worked as a photographer on a cruise ship for a short while.
Can you tell us a bit more about how you became a photographer?
I studied psychology and received two degrees from Rhodes University in Grahamstown. After moving to London, I sort of drifted into photography. I started shooting a bit for a friend’s website and realised how much I loved it. I then worked really hard at any opportunity I could find to learn more and build my portfolio. But I believe there is always a big element of luck and varied timing that influence your life’s direction (at least that was the case for me, as I never really knew exactly what I wanted to do).
What is your favourite subject to photograph?
People – it doesn’t matter in which genre. I love fashion and portraiture photography the most and have no interest in landscapes. My favourite projects are undoubtedly the ones where I get to use my skills to support animal charities.
You are very passionate about animal welfare. Can you tell us more about these charity projects?
I have worked with Animals Asia and Soi Dog Foundation in the past. I have also just started getting involved in some projects with the SPCA. My most valued experience is working alongside the amazing people at Soi Dog Foundation in Phuket. It’s amazing to see what wonderful work they do, and I wish there were more people like their volunteers and staff who care so much for animals in need.
Who or what are your creative influences?
I am an avid fan of live theatre performances. I am also influenced a lot by Japanese animation (movies like Akira and Ghost in the Shell). I’m also quite fascinated by imagery that deals with how we perceive our bodies and intimacy – I did my psychology thesis on tattooing, so I’m always very interested in the stories behind the symbols people choose.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
It is always quite cool to shoot with big name celebs like Donnie Yen (IP Man, Star Wars), but these are not really important in the ‘bigger scheme of things’. I am happiest when working on a project that makes a difference somehow, like my Soi Dog Foundation visits or a recent fashion campaign I shot with an anti-bullying message behind it.
What is your favourite thing about Hong Kong?
Its diversity – from nightlife to beaches to food.
What do you miss most about South Africa?
The Cape – my father has just moved to Mossel Bay, so we are planning a motorbike trip around the Garden Route when we can travel again.
What is your favourite place in South Africa?
Grahamstown will always have a special place in my heart, but I also love Stellenbosch.
What is your favourite South African expression or saying?
Where can clients see you in Hong Kong?
I have my own studio in Tsuen Wan and I do a lot of family portraiture for people who are looking for something a bit more creative and natural than the usual.