Victor Chu is a well-known New York City photographer specializing in editorial, event and portrait photography. He has worked full-time for the New York Daily News and has also been internationally published in The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, New York Post and Daily Mail (UK).
His aerial project has been featured in PIX 11, News 12, The New York Times, TIME, Yahoo, Gothamist, Business Insider and many more.
In the following interview with NY Elite Magazine, the talented photographer Victor Chu talks about what inspires his work and his experience in working in different interesting projects.
NY Elite Interview with Photographer Victor Chu
NY Elite Mag: When did you know Photography would be your career of choice?
Victor Chu: When I landed my first job out of college.
NY Elite Mag: How did you get your start in the industry?
Victor Chu: I started in Baruch college, shooting for the school paper and yearbook. I also minored in photography.
I started at my first job out of college in 2007 at the Bronx Times, then worked for the Daily News in 2009 until 2011 as a photojournalist. Afterwards, I shot event and editorial photography. In the beginning of 2014, I got my first drone and shot the Ultimate Aerial video of NYC from the middle to the end of the year.
NY Elite Mag: How long have you been a photographer?
Victor Chu: Since 2007
NY Elite Mag: How would you describe your style?
Victor Chu: Something grandiose. A cocktail of all the work I love. Definitely photojournalistic. And original. I like to do things that haven’t been done before. So a lot of experimenting.
NY Elite Mag: What is it that interests you most about photography?
Victor Chu: It’s easy for me. And its quick. And you can share it.
NY Elite Mag: What type of cameras do you shoot with?
Victor Chu: Canon 5D Mark 3, Sony RX100 M3, iPhone 6, DJI Phantom 3, DJI Inspire 1
NY Elite Mag: What are your career goals and aspirations?
Victor Chu: To be a travel drone film maker. I feel it can touch people the most.
NY Elite Mag: Are there any new exciting projects that you are working on or have lined up in the near future?
Victor Chu: I shot Jiu Zhai Gou (Valley of Nine Fortified Villages) in China but didn’t have time to edit it yet. So that’s coming out next. I am also planning to release Ultimate NYC Part II end of this year. I will also go to Iceland for a few days this year so, maybe another quick video. Lots of shooting this year and seems like not a lot of time.
NY Elite Mag: Where do you draw your inspiration? Where do you get your passion for your work?
Victor Chu: I try to take something that is in a different field to my field so that its something new. Though for the NYC stuff and aerial stuff a lot of it is unplanned. A lot of the art comes out in the air. And there isn’t that much time to dwell on composition due to battery life and other factors. I get passion through my subscribers, followers, friends and fans. They are my biggest motivators. Other than that, my wall art haha.
NY Elite Mag: If you could take your art in any direction where would it lead you? What new thing would you try?
Victor Chu: Well, right now, I can’t afford those octocopter’s that fly DSLRs so I’m limited by my drone’s camera. So I have to use my creativity to make up for that. I am trying to do double exposure…and I’ve never done that before.
NY Elite Mag: Do you find yourself always looking at the World wondering how it would look as a photograph?
Victor Chu: Yes…most of the time. Especially now that my phone has a decent camera.
NY Elite Mag: What does it take to be successful in your industry?
Victor Chu: Hard work, good social skills, good marketing skills, talent, consistent learning, improvement, reading, risk taking, and trying and failing.
NY Elite Mag: What would be some tips you would give to a beginning photographer?
Victor Chu: Keep getting better. Every day. Keep shooting. Every day.
NY Elite Mag: What are your do’s and dont’s when taking photos?
Think. Feel. Shoot. and Shoot. And shoot. Then choose. Don’t pixel peep. Don’t get too lost in the technical stuff. After all, its an art and not a computer class.
NY Elite Mag: Can you tell us about a memorable moment you had during your artistic career?
Victor Chu: During a hostage situation when I was in the Bronx Times. It was a standoff and the guy held his mother hostage in a house. He threatened to blow up the house if the TARU (The SWAT in NYC) came in. He wanted to talk to Obama. Unfortunately I left before the anything interesting came about, and heard he jumped out the window the next day. He hit his head or something and fell on a mattress.
Oh this is something that is most dear to me. One time a church in the bronx was being shut down by the city. so i got a photo of bishop angelo Rosario among other people from the rally on the front page of the Bronx Times. Then a few weeks later, a Sheikh from the mosque went up to me and said, “Thank you Victor. Because of your photo, we now have our mosque back.” I was really touched.
NY Elite Mag: How has photography influenced you as a person?
Victor Chu: It has made me more appreciate of art and improving myself and be more creative. I think it has made me more creative in problem solving in other aspects of my life. Or maybe it was just my creativity itself that’s helping me.
NY Elite Mag: What is your perspective on the world and on life?
Victor Chu: As with first hand account of the mosque story, art can change people’s lives. The photographers in the NY Times and National Geographic do it even on a bigger scale. The world has many problems, photographs and video can expose, and solve some of it. But it really takes people to make a change, as cliche as it sounds. But sometimes it really takes one person to make a difference, at least to get the ball rolling. For me, life is about making people’s lives better, whether its just one person or a million people, whether its just getting 1000 likes on Instagram or saving and entire village from a natural disaster, if I leave the world in a better place than when I came, I’ve accomplished my goal in life.
NY Elite Mag: Favorite photo you have taken and why?
Victor Chu: The one I haven’t shot yet. I’m highly critical of my work. But if I had to choose: favorite ground photo is the Boxing one and favorite Aerial photo is the Brooklyn bridge shot with downtown Brooklyn in the background. Favorite film is Ultimate NYC Part II.