An interview with TYPE S Ambassador, Larry Chen


Larry Chen 

1. Tell us about the first time you felt interested in real cars (not toys).. How old were you, what was the car, what did you feel, etc?

I’ve always been interested in cars ever since I could remember. In middle and high school I would play with remote control cars, which gave me a better understanding of how cars actually worked. When my older friends started getting their driver's licenses I thought it was the coolest thing to be able to get up and go anytime you wanted. I really fell off the deep end when I got my first car at 18 years old. It was a hunk of junk, but I enjoyed the freedom.

2. When did you become interested in photography? Who inspired you/introduced you to it?

I became interested in photography in high school. I don’t really know why I picked up a camera, but I just remember the school getting a very early digital camera and I thought it was the coolest thing.

3. When did you realize you saw things differently than others and were able to capture raw emotion through the lens?

I came to the realization that people actually liked my photos when they complimented them online. This was way before social media. I was posting my shots on my website, forums and I was even emailing them to friends directly.

4. What was the first car meet or show you went to? How did that impact you? 

I used to go to the LA Auto show as a kid and I loved it. I think that is pretty much when I first started falling in love with cars.

5. Did you want to be anything other than an automotive photographer? Was this always the plan?

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. All I know is that I loved cars and I loved photography. This was pretty much the only way to blend them together.

6. Tell us about the most epic shoot you’ve ever been on... your top 3, maybe? With photos, preferably!

That is a tough one. There are so many epic shoots that I get to be a part of. 

  • Getting to shoot with incredible athletes like Ken Block, Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Travis Pastrana on larger productions really is the highlight of what I get to do.
  • Traveling all over the world shooting car culture is incredible, but my favorite place to shoot outside of the US is Japan, without a doubt. Recently, I shot a few episodes of my new Hagerty show in Tokyo.
  • Having the honor of being the official photographer at Pikes Peak is so incredible. I am able to capture this historic race for generations to come.

  • 7. How did you get involved in the Canon Explorers of Light program? 

    This really started when I started working with Canon on the educational side of their business. There are so many talented photographers in the world that can shoot much better than I can. However, I bring something a little different to the table. I feel very comfortable teaching others how to succeed in car photography. I just want to share my knowledge, and in turn it seems to help sell cameras.

    8. Something that probably surprises most people is how down to earth you are. I’ve seen you spend so much time chopping it up with kids who look up to you at events and you’ve even told me that it blows your mind they want YOUR autograph. What is the thing that surprises you most about your journey and where you are now?

    I never ever intended on being in front of the camera, but it just worked out that way. I just want to do my part in spreading the word about the culture that I love so much. With that being said, anytime anyone has a camera question or if they just want to chat about cars - I love it.

    9. Speaking of being popular, how does it feel when the crowd at Formula DRIFT rounds start chanting your name when you walk past the stands? Pretty wild when the series photographer has a stronger following than some of the drivers.

    It’s fun for me to be a part of the community because the series feels like my second home. I love being able to show the world how incredible the series really is through my own lens.

    10. Which TYPE S product do you find most useful for your daily errands around town?

    I find that the Dashcams work the best. We recently went on a 3000 mile road trip and I felt much safer having 4k dash cams mounted on the front and rear of our two vehicles the entire way.

    I also keep a TYPE S jump starter kit in each one of my vehicles; it especially helps us because we use them on our production shoots all the time. The modified cars we shoot usually don’t get driven too often, and batteries die all the time. It’s helpful for us to jump start any car, anytime - even when there’s no second vehicle around to help out.