Interview #14 - Aun Chua

Foreword:

Aun Chua is a photographer from Malaysia. Starting photography few years ago, he has transitioned well from shooting portraits into doing fashion and commercials in the country. I'd say he has progressed a lot!

You can find more of his work on Facebook and Instagram

Let’s start by introducing yourself?

Hey man, I’m Aun from Aunshots. I’m a 25 year old boy with a camera from Ipoh and currently working in KL. 

What’s happening lately?

Life’s not treating me too bad lately - keeping me busy. Well, I think that’s what you get when you are trying to juggle a full time job as a graphic designer and a part time job as a photographer. 

What draws you into photography?

It’s the challenge of creating a perfect, flawless photo. 

What attracts you into shooting portraits?

The beauty of each individual, I suppose. And it slowly becomes one of the ways of me interacting with people who share the same passion in certain things and yeah, to make it less sugarcoated or cheesy, I get to meet pretty girls & boys (not so much of the boys)

What was your first shoot like?

I was actually thinking to share a nicer and less amateurish photo but f - - k it, here you go. This was my first photoshoot. As you can see, I still have that lame watermark down there. But, I would like to thank Kittie Yiyi who is kind enough to lend me her graduation piece to shoot. 

I remember back then your were shooting portraits using direct flash but not so much right now?

Yeah, I was inspired by Terry Richardson back then. I love the raw & sexy feel in that kind of shooting style. But right now, I guess I want to experiment more on lightings, not just direct flash. 

How does the environment influence the way you shoot?

To be honest, there aren’t many but there are still hidden gems here that makes you want to improve and become better. 

What is the photography scene like over there? Is it welcoming, competitive or intimidating?

I think it’s a little of these three. But that’s what this industry it’s like, everyone wants to be the best.

How do you prepare before doing a shoot?

Research and prepare a mood board or at least a few reference photos. It’s to guide myself and my talents, in a way I think it’s fair to them as well because they are taking their time to collaborate or to work with me. 

Do you have specifics on models or subjects?

I am actually open to any sorts of models or subjects but the chemistry is very important between me and the models, that’s why I talk a lot to my models during the shooting process. 

Go through the process of doing the actual shoot

Preparing a mood board, getting the right model, the suitable outfit, the right location and - bang! -  shoot the model. 

You have transitioned into doing fashion. Your work is pretty legit too. What made you decide to do fashion?

I think doing fashion has more value in the photos because it goes from top to bottom - the hair, the styling, the make-up and the mood that it brings to people. 

And I think I’m tired of being labeled as the photographer who only knows how to take sexy photos. Don’t get me wrong. Who doesn’t like looking at hot, sexy girls? And yeah, the feedback from my viewers is good and I get a lot from other guys like “Hey bro, I wish I could have your job man - always meeting half naked chicks and so on” 

I just want to get out from that circle and create something that let people appreciate my work more than just the girls.


So shooting fashion for magazines/publications. Is this something that you wanted to do?

Definitely.

I read somewhere you work for Duogigs. How do you feel working under those amazing pretty twins?

It’s actually great working with them. They know what they want and they have great sense in fashion. They inspire me a lot. Rather than just two pretty faces, they are actually putting a lot of effort and doing their best in their work, not just “cincai” on handling jobs. 

Any works of other photographers that you follow?

For locals, Jewel Ling from Prounited & Danny Lim, who is currently in NYC. Their works are breathtaking as always and they don’t mind sharing their experience with me. I still keep track on Terry Richardson’s work from time to time, looking at what crazy things he is doing. 

Do gears or camera apps matter to you in creating images?

Yeah. There are times when you know that the gears you are using can’t satisfy you anymore and it’s rather frustrating but you have to make use of what you have and give it your best shot. 

Are you earning enough as a photographer?

Oh well, I am working as graphic designer as a full time job. I think you know the answer. 

How much you think people will value your work?

Not too much, but a fair amount I think. But I am thankful that there are people out there who don’t mind sharing their experience and giving me chances in this industry. 

How do you deal with the attention you get as a photographer?

I need more attention. Give me more. Notice me, senpai! 

But nah, there’s not much to deal with, because there will always be haters and stereotypes, saying to you this and that, but just be true to your work and shut them up by keep improving. 

What do you want out of photography?

Good photos, the kind that inspires people. 

Any music you listen to or movies that you watched recently?

“Power” by Kanye West and I’m currently watching this TV series - Sense8 by The Wachowskis. It’s really awesome and beautifully shot. 

If you’re not shooting, what do you do to wind down or relax?

Coffee, shisha & anime (yeah, I’m an Otaku!)

Do you enjoy the process of shooting or just the end results?

Both. Finding the right lighting and angles in the process and keep experimenting different editing in post-production.

Anything else you want to say

Keep striving!