How did you get started in photography?
I got interested in photography when my parents bought a camera for our family trip to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. That year, I was 12 and it was the first time that I have ever laid my hands on a camera. Since then I started to get interested in photography, on and off. I bought my first DSLR when I was 21 and started to get serious about going out to take pictures and paying attention in composition. I joined Instagram in 2012 and my interest has moved from DSLR to mobile photography.
What role has your iPhone and Instagram played in it?
There are these combined roles that iPhone and Instagram play in shaping my current photography style and sense. Prior to joining Instagram, I did not believethat my iPhone would be up for good photography, nor any other mobile phones. It was not until I joined Instagram and saw what others posted (their iPhone shots) that I was amazed by the quality and aesthetics of their pictures. I started challenging myself to take pictures using iPhone. I wanted to use the constraintsand limits of my mobile phone camera to take good pictures and better my shot each time. I started posting on Instagram and following Instagrammers whose works I liked. Starting from then on, I looked at hundreds of pictures each day and learnt from others. Gradually, I noticed that my photography styles had changed and I started paying attention to everyday details and took pictures from different
angles and perspectives -- i.e. look up, look down, symmetry shots, reflections, puddles etc.
Using iPhone to take pictures also means that I can capture many details of my daily life like my commute to work, my wander around city or my visit to the local café, on the go. I can capture the specific moment spontaneously and instantaneously.
How has London influenced your perspective?
London is a city of many dimensions. It is new yet old, modern yet traditional, but this city is timeless. I love how culturally diversed and vibrant it is. All these aspects provide a very good backdrop for my feed, which pretty much surrounds the theme of “What I see in London.” I like to go wandering in London because it is just like opening a Pandora’s Box and you’ll always find something new around the corner. I can go to the same place at different time of the day or different season of the year and yet manage to capture something new and I never get tired of it.
Where are your favorite places to go in London?
Borough Market! I worked near there and I walked past the market on my way to work, during lunch, and on my way home from work. It’s my local. It’s so lively there when the market is fully open from Wednesday to Saturday. Celebrating its
1,000th birthday this year, the market is a foodie heaven for those who are adventurous enough to try different delicacies, from quintessential local fish and chips to Thai Green curry! There are also quaint cafes, traditional pubs and florists for all seasons, which are all good subjects for capturing shots. I particularly like the brick walls, railway arches and the surrounding buildings, which provide good backdrop for photos.
Apart from that, I also like to wander around Hampstead Heath. It makes me feel like I am out of London every time I go there, with its lush open space and tranquil environment. It is so spectacular in the autumn when the trees turn auburn and the ground is covered with golden yellow leaves. Walking up to the Parliament Hill, you are standing at one of the best spots in London to take in this great city’s skyline.
What are you inspired by?
I am inspired by lighting. Since joining Instagram, I have observed how people took their shots and most of the time, I was told to pay attention to light. I like the natural light by the window in the morning or evening. I like different shades of shadows that are cast by sunlight on a wall, pavement or grass field.
What time of day do you like best to shoot?
I am not an early bird, so most of the time I miss the misty/foggy morning scene and light. My favorite time therefore would be in the late afternoon or early evening, particularly during summertime when the daylight is long. I like to shoot the low light and yellow hues in the evening and the long shadows cast on the ground from the setting sun.
Interview by Jack Sommer