Where are you from and how old are you?
I am from Singapore and I am forty-seven years old
When did you pick up photography and why?
I picked up photography at the age of twenty-one on my first trip to India. India is an extremely photogenic country and my pictures from India got me hooked onto photography.
What do you like to shoot?
I like to shoot the performing arts in general and dance specifically.
What goes on in your head while you’re shooting?
Blood pumping, electrical impulses…
Is the horizon level?, are the highlights blowing?…
An empty space, an echo chamber, where I can immerse myself in the act of interacting with my subject. A place where all the craft of photography which is ingrained in my practice is actually kept out of my consciousness. This place where I wait for the grace of an honest interaction between me and my subject.
A nonlinear, non intellectual, intuitive search for the beauty that is the truth of my subject.
What was your most challenging shoot?
My most challenging shoot was to ask a beautiful woman whom I was physically attracted to, to come into my room and reveal herself to me, to be vulnerable and let me take her portrait. It was not the photography that was difficult, it was the acknowledgement that I am human, I desire, and still maintain my respect for my subject. The challenge was to capture all the complex human layers in that interaction with abusing the trust that my friend had given me by being vulnerable in front of me. And because of that respect, I cannot exhibit probably the best single image that I have ever taken in my life. She let me make the image on the condition that I would not show the image to people outside my photography class.
Who would you like to shoot and why?
I would like to shoot the love of my life, whom I have yet to find.
I believe that there is an apparent paradox where when one starts to focus on the detail and complexity of a personal situation, it becomes a universal statement by weight of the fact that I am human. So It would be wonderful if I could be in a deep relationship and if I could share this through photography.
What inspires you?
What inspires me is the idea that each morning I wake up and am able to get out of bed, it is a miracle. In this universe which apparently has more empty space than matter, and where according to the second law of thermodynamics, everything should be moving towards a state of chaos, on this earth there has been the exceptional conditions for life. The beauty of the living earth, people moving, their history and their experiences, all these inspire me.
Where would you be in 5 years?
Possibly dead, but if I am alive probably still exploring the truth of being alive.
Tell us about your dream?
My dream is that people recognize the limits of life and come to terms with it. We have so many unrealistic dreams and live like we are immortal and then breakdown in the presence of death. If we accept our mortality, then I feel that we can better engage with what we have. We can live a rich meaningful life and not rape and abuse the world we are on. What does this have to do with photography? Everything. To me photography is secondary to living. As important at craft and technique is to photography and other arts, it is all just empty technique unless there is a meaningful expression of life in the images. Living is the main aim, images are simply a by-product of a life well lived.
In 3 words, how do you feel right now?
Mortal, introspective, hopeful.