Copyright © Johann Kwan

My name is Johann Kwan

and I am a law student. a photographer.

… a philosopher. A music lover. A political animal. A traveller.

I took photos professionally in Toronto for several years before starting law school, running a small but profitable portrait and wedding photography business.

I consider myself pretty lucky. Photography gave me the opportunity to meet new and interesting people. Among them were lawyers doing important work, helping refugees, tackling cool policy issues. So I started law school in 2015, and I’m loving it. I specialize in technology law and international law, which means at times I get to talk about cyberwarfare, killer robots, drones, net neutrality, privacy, internet governance… All that cool stuff. It’s pretty amazing. Until I started law school I don’t think I realized this was something there were lawyers for. The research I’ve been doing since I’ve been in law school has been amazing, and dovetails really nicely into my tech-focused hobbies outside of school.

I still take photos for fun (and try to get them published) and take on the occasional job from long-standing clients. The law is so very intellectually stimulating, though, and I’m sure that’s where my future lies. It scratches all the right itches in my brain.

Photo by David Gootman, taken in Sintra, Portugal.


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: Did you do photography full time?

A: Yes and no. Being in Canada, where the winters are bitter and cold, a lot of my work was 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 your undergrad?

A: Political Science, with a concentration in Political Theory. I graduated with honours in 2010.

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: For legal work, send me an email at

Sadly, I’m no longer taking new photography clients.