When I was asked by Alston to produce a body of work on his classic latex fashion design he Whatssapp me some samples of what he wished the photography would turn out to be. The samples were some classic Victorian portrait paintings. I was excited when I saw them because I’m a fan of producing portraiture inspired from the past. In reference to the classic Victorian portrait painting I started brainstorming for ideas to design the shoot, then I went for shopping, yes that’s work too, to source for materials.
In the studio, hours before the shoot we started building a frame to hold the red velvets and turned them into a stage like curtains. A couple of C-stand and some tapes, within 45 minutes the backdrop which I visualised appeared before our eyes. For lighting, I lit the backdrop separately from the models so I had control of the lighting between these two. Of cause there are shadows, my style in lighting ratio is 1:3 or higher, and 1:2 or lower is just too flat for my liking. Another words, I like higher contrast between highlight and shadow because that’s the birth of three dimension.
While I was in London doing a two-day shoot in the studio for a production I would end my day by walking down the streets of London with a range finder camera and a fixed 35mm lens, it was a good break for me. Balancing the 100% manipulation studio photography and the 100% non manipulation street photography has always been essential for me. Having the interest in these two completely different genres of photography also means it requires two completely different skill sets in photography, but most importantly having the capability in performing these two extreme genres spiritually represents the Yin Yang in photography, it’s a balancing act and it maintains the Qi in my photography passion and my sanity.
Looking for my shots in Oxford Street where stream of people constantly flowing up and down sometime it sometime felt like I was sitting in front of a conveyor belt in a Japanese restaurant, you have to decide fast what you want or you would miss it. The amount of people visiting this shopping district can be pretty overwhelming, regardless any day of the week. The nature of street photography is challenging and that’s what I love about it in this genre, you have nearly zero control but you can only act fast.
Street Photography is the most complex genre of all photography, it requires getting the right exposure, composition, focusing, timing, and story all together in a fraction of a second. There is no chance for rehearsal, no room for error, and if you miss it then it would be the next shot.
Capturing people in their natural state involves great depth of observation; especially in human behavior.
Like watching a basketball game, when you know the court layout you will know where to pick the best seat. When you understand the rules of the game you will know the dos and don’ts. When you are familiar with Michael Jordan’s behavior pattern, you will know what to expect when you see he sticks out his tongue; that’s what he did when he was going to score.
I observe speech in action, relationship interactions, facial expressions, body language, and activities. When all the senses are put to good use, photographing people in activities becomes a unique art form and I love it.
Standing in the middle of an ancient temple in Asia built in the late 12th century the feeling is unbelievable because that’s about 1000 years before anyone of us was even born. Today, when you see a little child from the Western world in modern attire set foot into the entrance of this aged structure you couldn’t help but feeling a little incomprehensive, your mind is telling you an image of Back To The Future is unfolding before your eyes.
Built in the first half of 12th century between 113-5 BC, Angkor Wat is the largest monument of the Angkor group and the best preserved. It’s the finest monuments in the world. No matter how many times I have photographed this architecture masterpiece I’m always amazed by the sheer complexity and perfection.