The emerging of new age, creatives of the world.
We live in a time and age where everybody is fortunate enough to venture into the many interests of our realm, photography today, drawing tomorrow and film-making the day after. People's enticement towards picking up new hobbies peaks simultaneously, breeding false senses of accomplish in the "touch'n'go" culture. However, how many beings out there actually devote their time and focus towards chasing their passions? This is where this project comes in, introducing the ones who plant their roots, soil-deep; the creatives who took a chance and are here to stay for the long run.
Arabelle is a budding freelance photographer who specialises in portraiture, fashion and documentary photography. With a heart for adventure and travelling, she hopes to document different parts of the world, provoking thoughts, making positive changes and sharing perspectives of the world behind her lens.
Arabelle graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic with a Diploma in Mass Communication and is currently pursuing a Degree in Press & Editorial Photography at Falmouth University. She has come a long way from doing music photography at gigs leisurely, to exhibiting works in several photo exhibitions and Magazine launches in Falmouth, Cornwall. Here's an interview with Arabelle on how she got the ball got rolling...
G: Hi Arabelle, please tell me more about how your interest in photography started. When did you uncover the desire to pursue it and what evoked it?
A: I think when it started was in my third year in Mass Communication. I chose an elective called photojournalism and specialised in it, that was when I started finding stories and people who are of interest to me to photograph and document. And then I went to Hawaii for my internship, that was when I knew I wanted to pursue photography. I was just travelling and that was the kind of life I wanted, travelling, documenting and photographing all the beauty. So I think that was when it all happened.
G: Before furthering your studies in the U.K at Falmouth, you took a Diploma in Mass Communication. How do you translate the skills you’ve acquired from past experiences into the work you do at present for Press & Editorial Photography?
A: In Mass Communication, we took up modules such as news writing, radio, TV and touched on design aspects. Currently, I am very interested in social documentary/photography — which is a combination of journalism and interviewing people about issues, skills I’ve acquired from Mass Communication.
G: How is it like studying in the U.K? Do you think that pursuing photography in Singapore would give you the same access to experiences and opportunities in the U.K?
A: It would definitely be different if I studied photography in Singapore. First of all, there wasn’t a course like that to begin with, which is why I went to the U.K. I’ve done my research and the courses in Singapore are more generalised. There aren’t really options out there for specific degrees that touch on Press and editorial photography and photography is often only an elective of an arts course. I can’t draw or paint so I won’t be able to do well in it. But, if there were to be a course like this here it would be great.
However, it will definitely be different studying in the U.K where the arts scene is much bigger. We have a lot of guest lecturers and industry practitioners that have experience overseas coming in to give us talks, exposing us more towards the art scene.
How is it different, well I think that it’s the people I hang out with in the UK, everyone is so outgoing and it really helped in building my confidence. People are also more open to being photograph. It is so normal you could just go up to people and they’ll be like yeah sure whatever and if they were to refuse you can just move onto the next person. As for Singapore, based on the environment I’m in I think I would have been more timid. People are generally more afraid to speak up to you about things and there might even be tendencies of getting ticked off for photographing people on the streets. For example, there was once when I tried photographing people at our local Pasar Malams and they were so unwilling and responded with “buyao buyao”.
G: Studying in one of the Top universities of the Arts in the U.K, I presume that competition is high. Was it difficult finding your style of photography/niche to stand out from the rest?
A: For my course, I think that everyone is different and stand out in their own way. We have people doing sports photography, photo documentary and fashion, but not so much of fashion, because there is a course on fashion photography in Falmouth. Which I think is competitive, because everyone is doing photography revolving the same thing even though there may be different variations of style, fashion is still fashion.
As for my course, we can do whatever we want so I dabble in fashion photography, social documentary and landscape. I don’t really have a niche but if I were to choose, I would stick to fashion and social documentary. I started out with music and landscape photography and that is what got me into Falmouth.
I think it takes time, a lot of research and playing around with to find your own style of photography. I don’t think I’ve found my exact style yet and I don’t think any photographer has a definite/fixed style. We’re always growing and wanting to be better, get better. As compared to a year ago when I haven’t found a specific genre I’m interested in, I think I’m slowly getting better. Now I know that I rly like fashion and social documentary.
G: How do you get inspiration for shoots? Once an idea/ pops up how do you tie it all together to translate it into an actual concept?
A: I think I get most of my inspirations from platforms like Instagram, where I follow a lot of photographers and pinterest, where I get to curate moodboards especially for poses and everything. I think that it is quite difficult to come up with concepts on the spot which becomes repetitive.
For instance, I have this shoot called oriental clash, a brief for school where we had to pitch our ideas to 4 different magazines and I wanted to pitch for ID, Wonderland and Dazed. ID ties in political issues, societal issues with fashion, so me being a Chinese, I wanted to tie in the Asian cultural and bring in something different to the table. For my project I wanted to dress my models in oriental pieces like kimonos and Cheong sams together with current ongoing trends. For this project, I focused more on the styling aspect of it and took photographs in a studio. As for Location shoots, I usually think about the colours I want to incorporate. I’ll usually go about creating the concept through coming up with moodboards, the outfits and just get my models to do whatever and then direct them. I’ll usually show them pictures of how I roughly want them to pose without restricting them because if you restrict them it won’t look natural. Most clothes belong to me or my friends, i’ll usually work with whatever is available and come up of something with it.