Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Meet This Week's Judge: Kerry Cheah

This week, Kerry Cheah of Red Bus Photography invites you to share the moments that came in between the ones you planned for. Enjoy her beautiful photos, and her thoughtful remarks on photography!

1. Tell us about yourself...

I’m a mom of two, wife of one, Singaporean living in Singapore, taking pictures and loving it most days (not all days, but enough to have distracted me from endless online shopping).  I have been described by past colleagues as obsessive-compulsive, perfectionist, control freak and serial procrastinator, so in some ways I guess it’s better for everyone that I’m now working solo on my little photography business (I used to be a strategy consultant).  I wish I spent even more time with my kids than I currently do, and less time on Facebook, but let’s be honest, that would make me a bit of a grouch. 

2. What ignited your passion for photography, and what fuels it now?

I used to say my kids, but thinking back I had a liking for taking ‘clever’ pictures even before they came along.  An unusual composition, an arty still life of random objects … ah yes, nothing like looking back at some photos that you thought were the cat’s pyjamas.  Now I am most excited by the challenge of photographing everyday life (my family’s and my clients’) and using perspective and composition to evoke appreciation and emotion for the memories that are being crafted through my lens.  

3. What’s in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least?

I shoot primarily with a Canon 6D with the Sigma 35mm 1.4 semi-permanently attached, and a Fuji x100s that I rely on heavily for outings with my kids and travel.  On client shoots I also tote along the Canon 50mm 1.4 that I never use, and the Canon 85mm 1.8 that I sometimes pull out if I am shooting outdoors.  Other than that … a few SD cards, spare batteries, lens pen, miniature toy London bus.  In the back of a cupboard somewhere lies a Lensbaby Composer.  

4. What’s your dream project or shoot?

I would love to cover a social issue either locally or abroad.  My dream would be to take off for a few weeks and really focus on a social documentary project. 

5. What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?

Definitely time management, or rather finding a consistent, sustainable way of working.  Right now I do not have clearly defined working hours and I still bounce haphazardly between work and household / social life.  My sleep and personal photography suffer the most when work gets busy.  A close second is self confidence, or the ability to not be too affected by what / how other photographers are doing.  

6. If you had $500 to spend on photography...

How should you spend it?  Backup camera body
How do you wish you could spend it?  Administrative assistant!
How would you really spend it?  Lensbaby Edge 80 (i.e. throw good money after bad)

7. Is there any one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey?

Don’t be in such a rush.  Someone actually told me this recently at a photography workshop 1-on-1 and it really hit home.  I think it informs a lot of other ‘bad habits’ that photographers are notorious for - comparing our work to other photographers’ and putting ourselves down, or feeling the need to overly critique the work product or methods of others in order to feel better about our own.  If I could just now learn to stop worrying about whether I will ever ‘get there’ and instead focus on enjoying what I’m currently doing … Unfortunately knowing what you’re supposed to do is only half of the battle!

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