In her interview, Cheryl shares with us the unique perspectives women bring to photography, what challenges female photographers face and some of her favourite works by women photographers.
Even though professional photography has been historically dominated by men, women have feelings and an intuitive side that can play as a strength in terms of photography.
1. When did you first realise you wanted to be a photographer?
I first realised I wanted to be a photographer when I found that it gave me a creative outlet to express what was inside of me; my thoughts and my feelings. To be able to create gives me a form of satisfaction. I also like that photography makes my subject feel that they are beautiful.
My first encounter with the creative medium, photography, was when I worked as a videographer’s assistant. From then onwards, I realised that this was a really fun job and thought to myself; hey, maybe I should try this out as a career.
2. Did you study photography?
If you’re talking about formal education, nope. I was educated in the course of Business and Social Enterprise, and initially wanted to go on to study Political Science! But I think that my education for photography comes from my experience with life; the travels, the different professionals I meet (especially the kind ones that guided me through), the struggles and all the things that inspire me.
3. What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on brainstorming for some ideas that I have for which I would love to materialise in the coming months! 🙂
4. As a female photographer in Singapore, what are the greatest challenges you face?
Honestly, there aren’t much challenges faced particularly being a female photographer in Singapore. We live in a very inclusive society so gender is not much of a problem! I think the only thing is that I am kind of weak and carrying heavy equipments really tire me out sometimes. Heh.
5. What unique perspectives do women bring to photography?
Perhaps, women are much more emotional than men. And while that could be a weakness on a lot of other accounts, I feel that we can play that as a strength in terms of photography. We get to push beyond the technicalities of photography and incorporate our emotional sense into what we are creating. For one, I am nothing without my emotions as a photographer.
Being an emotional & intuitive being helps me to empathise a lot with the subject I’m shooting, and it helps me to translate that into a picture. I think that my best photographs are mostly taken when my feelings are leading my thoughts. It’s not that I completely abandon the logical side of my brain, but rather, I let my feelings take charge while still making sure these technical must-dos serve as a guide. As girls, we should never be ashamed of our feelings or the intuitive side of us! But rather, use it to our strength.
6. What does sexism look like in photography today?
Currently, I have no comments on that. Whilst the world may be unfair, however, I do believe that if we work hard we will all eventually receive an opportunity to help us bloom.
7. Who are some of your favourite women photographers past or present?
One of the women that keeps my aspirations up is Margaret Zhang. I love that she’s a law graduate and yet making her grounds in the fashion world. She’s just so amazing.
8. Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?
I think this one taken in Ninh Binh, Vietnam is my favourite. In the photograph is Christabel Chua, also known as @bellywellyjelly. This was one of the campaign shots I photographed for Fresh back in 2017. I loved this shot because it paints a picture of two worlds coming together. I like photographs that project contraries. I love it even more when the two contraries seem to exist perfectly together in a moment.
9. Where is your favourite place to shoot, and why?
I think the States is one of my favourite places to shoot. Mmm, maybe because that place is filled with beautiful and good memories. More than that, the nature of America is really amazing. They keep me inspired each time and make me realise how small my problems actually are.
10. What would be your advice to anyone wanting to start out in photography?
I think I cannot comment much on the techniques, because different techniques work best for different people. There is not one best technique in photography. We all create things differently. But I can talk about some principles that I hold onto.
- You are a gift to this world
– Creatives need to start believing that they are a gift to this world, they need to start believing in their own good worth. The day that we start believing in that is the day we start making good decisions and start doing greater things. I think that living in this digital day & age, many young people feel that they are never good enough because social media portrays a very ideal image of lifestyle that is almost seems unreachable for most. It makes us think that we are a living mess. But I’m here to tell you that you are not! You are in fact a gift to this world.
– It may take a million steps to reach to the goal, but I always believed that this is the way to begin.
– While I’m at it, I would also like to add that we should not despise the day of small beginnings because one day we will arrive.
2. Recognise & acknowledge the things that you love, as well as the things that mean a lot to you
– They day we start recognising and stop refusing the things that truly mean something to our hearts is the day we start respecting ourselves and also the day we start making better decisions.
– Photography is also a series of decision-making. Knowing what you love will also help you set in style the type of photography you’re going for; be it travel, documentary, lifestyle, fashion or weddings.
– More than recognising, we also need to reevaluate the things we love. Are they good for you? How can you begin to remove some things that may not be good?
3. Spend a lot of time on the unseen
– To me, photography is 80% inspiration and 20% execution. So in a sense, 80% of it happens in the unseen, and while 20% of it manifests itself materially. I would say that he/she should spend a lot of time brain storming, reflecting, and thinking through. Spend a lot of time being inspired. Spend time sipping on coffee, travelling, stopping to smell the flowers and looking up at the sky. Talking to God and be in touch with oneself.
11. How did you find about Klaud9? What is your favourite thing about Klaud9 Community?
Klaud9 first approached me last year to work on a shoot that they were producing. I think my favourite thing is that they give younger photographers a chance and a platform to showcase their work. This gives them a chance to achieve their dreams!
-Want us to feature your creative work on Klaud9’s blog? Talk to us now, we are always keen to meet new photographers and videographers!
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