Each Monday, weâ€™ll highlight one indie photographer whose body of work deserves special recognition. Please enjoy their photography here, and make it a point to enjoy the rest of their work on their website.
This week the Indie Spotlight shines on Singaporean photographer Justin Poh. Â Justin’sÂ Â style of photography has always been about capturing images that will spark the viewer’s interest and show them elements of beauty that usually go unnoticed. Â Justin takes particular interest in landscape and still life photography because he finds applying his style in these genres achieves a photograph with which the viewer is able to identify, yet, still be surprised at the visual features they have overlooked.
When Justin reaches into his camera bag he pulls out the very capableÂ Â Canon EOS 1Ds Mk2 bodyÂ equippedÂ with the Â Canon 17-40mm f/4L. Â Justin’s other lenses are Â a 70-200mm F/4L as well as a 50mm f/1.8. Â Of his complement of lenses Justin’s favorite is hisÂ Canon 17-40 f4L. Justin finds, in Singapore especially, that people rarely take a moment to step back and admire the big picture. With his 17-40mm, he uses wideÂ anglesÂ to show them what they are missing by capturing images showing the grandeur of nature and the palette of colors that it offers. Â As if it couldn’t get better the lens also produces very sharp images and captures the smallest details in still life photography. These are elements that Justin captures and highlights in his photographs beautifully.
Justin tends to work in natural light because he Â prefers the natural look. Â Once he has captured his image, he uses Photoshop CS5 to make adjustments to exposure, contrast and clarity. Justin sometimesÂ cropsÂ to adjust the framing if necessary and performs minor color and blemish correction to the image. Â Aside from the aforementioned he prefers to present his photographs Â with minimal digital correction.
Tips, Tricks and Techniques:
Justin’s Â style of photography basically involves paying rapt attention to two things. Â The first thing is perspective. Â Whenever he takes a photograph, he never stands and shoots at eye level, this sometimes involves getting down low or shooting from a high position and then zooming in or out to suit his desired perspective; Â the list of alternative angles can go on forever. Â In essence, Justin avoids using the angle from which people commonly perceive their surroundings. By changing the perspective in this manner, different details and elements are accented and it is these details and elements that people normally miss that Justin wants to place front and center in addition to adding an element of difference to his images.
The second thing Justin pays attention to is shadows. He finds that shadows are another thing many people pass by without noticing theirÂ intricateÂ patterns, Justin utilize these shadows in an image to create lines, detail and texture that often goes overlooked.
While on a leisure trip Justin discovered one technique completely by accident. Â He wanted to try creating a blur by zooming the lens while on an long shutter speed, having recently learned of this technique he attempted it; but by accident, Justin rotated the camera body instead of the lens and was intrigued by the circular blur pattern that the image acquired. To this day, he still uses this technique and is exploring other interesting applications of the technique.
Like any great photographer, Justin finds the work others to be a source or inspiration, two of his favorites are UK based Drew Gardner and theÂ omniscientÂ Scott Kelby.
Justin admires the work of Â Drew Gardner. Â because Drew never fails to find the drama in a scene. In particular, Justin finds Drew’s epic fashion photos particularly inspiring. Â Instead of shooting fashion in the usual way, Drew selects unusual settings and with unusual objects to give it a dramatic look and tell a story all the while maintaining the necessary style and grace that fashion requires.
By nature, Justin doesn’t take a dark view of life so naturally, many of his photos donâ€™t have a very dark themes. Â However, Justin does Â occasionally find that a photograph with a dark theme can really tell stories in a ways that his style of photography does not. Â Justin aspires Â to shoot photos that portray the darker side of everyday scenes and objects because, in some cases, this style opens up the surreal side of life.
Justin also has a strong desire to shoot high fashion because, in his opinion, shooting high fashion is all about using photography to capture a dramatic or breath-taking perspective and capturing fashion in its most beautiful or stylish form. He believes that this Â perfectly compliments his style of photography.