Nathan Yuen - Photography

Matt Tuohy
By Matt Tuohy
Friday - July 18, 2008


Nathan Yuen
Nathan Yuen - Photography You won’t find generic photos of Diamond Head, Waikiki or flower leis in Nathan Yuen’s collection. This photographer says he likes to show the side of Hawaii that isn’t touristy or stereotypical when it comes to his art. “I think it’s overdone,” says Yuen, explaining why he doesn’t take those pictures. “There’s a lot of people who appeal to that market, but I’m not. My work is geared more toward local people and toward people who appreciate hiking and kayaking, conservation and art.”
Nathan Yuen
Yuen is a nature and landscape photographer who likes to get his images from other angles - shooting landscapes and native plants and animals often missed or overshadowed by stereotypical elements brought to the island for harvest or aesthetics. “I’m a hiker and kayaker,” he says, describing how he gets to his shots.“These images are not commonly seen; they’re more remote areas where native plants and animals are.” Yuen is not afraid to try different formats for his photos either. “My latest artistic endeavor is to chop up images into multiple parts to create trios, quartets and quintets,” he says. “Each part is a composition of its own but combines with other parts to create a large, artistic composition.” The result is a segmented photo that breaks away from the common presentation of the printed photo.
Nathan Yuen
Yuen also made the jump from film to digital photography earlier this year, and enjoys the experience thus far. “I was using film up until March. It actually makes it easier now.” He explains the process he goes through when taking a panoramic shot of a landscape - taking several shots at a time, then stitching them together - and how uploading his work onto his computer eliminates several steps he’d otherwise have to take with film.“I can catch these sweeping landscapes with a lens I otherwise wouldn’t be able to use because it’s not wide enough,” he explains.
Nathan Yuen
Yuen also uses Photoshop on most of his work. “I do go for a naturalistic representation. But because I’m piecing some of (the photos) together, it’s a heavy use of Photoshop. Sometimes you have to adjust between frames, or the lighting might be different from one frame to the next.” Yuen’s work can be found at the Haleiwa Arts Festival at booth 61 (see below for more information on the event), and online at “I think it’s a great event with lots of different types of art represented,” says Yuen. “People can choose from lots of different styles and genres to look at.”


Booths and tents will be set up all over the Haleiwa Beach Park this weekend
Booths and tents will be set up all over the Haleiwa Beach Park this weekend

Haleiwa Arts Festival

The 11th annual Haleiwa Arts Festival will be in full swing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Haleiwa Beach Park, featuring more than 140 visual artists in painting, photography, wood burning, dance, sculpture and more. The event is free and open to the public.

“We had more than 11,000 people show up last year,” says executive director Gary Anderson. “We sold quite a bit of art, too.”

The festival began several years ago with a group of artists, including Anderson’s wife. “She went to a few of the organizational meetings when it was starting up,” he recalls. “Then she came home and twisted my arm to join. I started as a carpenter and electrician, then I was on the board of directors and now I’ve been the executive director since 2001.”

Haleiwa Arts Festival

Local artists like painter Peggy Chun and photographer Nathan Yuen will be featured along with hundreds of other Hawaii and national artists from all levels of expertise. “Some of the artists are just getting started,” says Anderson, “and some have been around for 20 or 30 years.”

In addition to the art, there’s onstage entertainment throughout the weekend, including Celtic dance, hula and storytelling.

Free trolley tours also will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., taking passengers all over the historic town, pointing out landmarks and places of interest along the way.

Art enthusiasts and collectors can make purchases to support local art education, as a few artists are donating select pieces to sell for grants the festival provides to local schools. “We have nine schools on the North Shore and one in Wahiawa that we help,” says Anderson. “We try to do the best we can by giving them some money to buy their supplies, or music, for their programs - it can be visual or performing arts.”

For more information on the festival, lists of artists and past events, go to

“Let’s hope there’s great weather,” says Anderson. “It’s a beautiful location with the trees, ocean and lots of places to park. We’re going to have a great time.”


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