Copyright © Johann Kwan

My name is Johann Kwan


and I am a photographer…

… a philosopher. A music lover. A political animal. A Torontonian. A traveller. I am all these things, and photographs are they way I capture the world around me.

I never really thought I’d end up doing photography professionally. I never even dreamed about it as a child. It was a hobby, something fun to do while I’m out and about in the world. I loved cameras, and I loved the process of taking a photo, so that’s just what I did, day in, day out. It so happened that people in University seemed to like my photos, so I started shooting photos for various folks, documenting music festivals, political events, fashion weeks, weddings, and other things with my camera. One day, I realized that I was doing photography professionally.

I consider myself pretty lucky. Photography continues to give me opportunities to meet incredible people. To help people remember both the good times and the bad. To document our lives and journeys through the world. It’s been an amazing ride thus far, and I hope it’ll continue to be.

Want to chat? Get a hold of me on the following social media sites:

Twitter      Google+      LinkedIn


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why Leica?

A: My M lets me shoot the way I want. I learned to love film at an early age, to manipulate shutter and aperture with my hands, to work for the perfect frame. Though I own several DSLRs, I don’t feel that passion around them. They’re simply tools. It’s the difference between using a fountain pen and a plastic Bic. They’ll both write something down when you need them, but one of them is more fun to use… and if it’s more fun, the end result is probably going to be better.

Q: Do you do photography full time?

A: Yes and no. Being in Canada, where the winters are bitter and cold, a lot of my work is seasonal. Summers are busy, where winters are for sorting out bits of the business that aren’t just shooting and editing all the time, and often, to work another job. Those jobs are usually photo related, and you can see some of the work from those periods (as when I worked at Bell Mobility) on this site.

Q:What did you study in University?

A: Political Science, with a concentration in Political Theory. I graduated with honours in 2010. I’ve thought about going on to do a Masters or to do another degree. It’s still in the cards. I’m a man of many interests.

Q:When did you start shooting photos?

A: I don’t remember, actually. It’s that long ago. I’ve been around cameras as long as I can remember. My first camera was given to me when I was still quite young… a Minolta SRT SC-II (the Sears version of the SRT-201) and it’s still with me today. It wasn’t my only hobby, but it quickly became one the I loved most sometime in High School. It was a pretty natural process, and it just seemed inevitable when I focused all my other creative energies into photography.

Q: What cameras and lenses do you use?

A: As of late 2013, I’m using a digital Leica M, primarily with a 35mm Summilux f/1.4 (pictured above) or a 90mm Summicron f/2.0. I won’t say that I’ve always dreamt of owning a Leica, but after handling one for the first time nearly a decade ago, it’d been a goal of mine to own one. It’s since become an inseparable part of me. I still shoot with many of my older cameras, however. Many of the photos you see here were shot on a Sony a850, the last of Sony’s true full-frame SLRs. That SRT SC-II is still often in my everyday messenger bag with a couple rolls of film, or it’ll be a Voigtlander Bessa-R. I have a couple others waiting on a bit of restoration work whenever time permits, hopefully I’ll get to use them soon!

Q: How can I hire you/work with you?

A: Send me an e-mail or fill out the form on the contact page!