Interview #32 - Preston Liew

Preston Liew is born and raised in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. He finished his studies in Kuala Lumpur last year and recently had been hired as an assistant architect in Singapore. He started photography in mid-2014 with his group of friends, sharing the same level of enthusiasm on this field. 

Can you describe your style of photography?

Moody & mysterious with a pinch of fire.

Any photographers/other creatives that you follow?

Big names such as Hideaki Hamada, Aik Beng Chia, Che' Mad and local Malaysian photographers such as Husaini Mustapha, TTFGA, Roshan Menon, Happyfingers & Jseng Soh

 What camera or lens do you use to achieve your work?

At the moment, I only shoot with a Ricoh GRii and my iPhone 5S.

How the social media (e.g. Instagram) helps you in sharing your work?

Social media has definitely turned into a great platform for photographers and muses to reach out to one another and get the attention they need. But for now, I just want to share my passion to whoever's interested and enjoy life!

 What are your aesthetics in photography?

It depends on my mood. My work translates from what I feel during that particular moment. Some days, it's warm and vibrant and some days, it's moody and somber. Photographers are humans as well, we have our transitional period and we have our ups and downs.

Have you received any opportunities from presenting your work in the social media?

Never, but hopefully soon!

What’s your major goal in photography?

Ultimately, my goal is to be happy with what I'm doing and maybe one day, to be able to share more of my stories with friends and family who have supported me along the way.

Every photographer has their own struggle, for example, lack of creativity, not happy with their photos or self-doubt. How do you overcome those obstacles?

My everyday struggle would be time, passion and money.

Working a full-time job in the construction field definitely drains you out. The constant meetings with clients and consultants, amendments of design, revision of drawings, solving problems on site etc. would mean that we have to spend many hours to produce work that can meet the deadlines. It's definitely not a 9-5 job because it requires more than that - every inch of your passion and dedication needs to be present 24/7 including weekends!

If you have architecture friends, I'm sure you've seen hashtags like #architortured or #sleepisfortheweak. It's not easy to find time for shoots nowadays when I'm loaded with work. Work definitely kills my passion for photography.

Not much I could do to overcome this, because no work equals no food on the table! But as of now, I'll just appreciate whenever I have time to hit the streets for a few snaps!

What’s your one tip/advice to those who just started photography?

Stay humble, stay passionate and opportunities will come.

Do you have any preferences with your subjects?

Not really, but attitude and personality are the keys. Otherwise, it's just gonna be a bad time for all of us.

What is the one picture from your work that represents you as a photographer?

I guess it's this one - my mind is fogged up haha.

What is your process during a photo shoot/project? How do you plan? What do you do during the shoot?

Due to my time constraint, I am never fortunate enough to properly plan for shoot. But I do work out some basic ground rules with the muse such as ideas, locations and attires to know what we want to achieve. It's all about the power of collaboration!

It's pretty easy going during the shoot - realizing what we planned for and to find spots and angles to make the muse look good.

How’s your workflow in post-processing?

It's pretty basic, I don’t like to overcomplicate things. For mobile editing, I'll select the photos from my album then upload the photos to photo editing apps such as VSCO and Snapseed.

When I have a bunch of photos from shoots & travels, I'd dump them into Lightroom, apply free VSCO filter and delete the ones that don't look good.

Fun fact: I'll never spend more than 5 minutes on a photo, ain't got time for that!

What is your signature style that people can recognize your work?

To be honest, I've never heard someone saying "This style reminds me of your work" or "Wow! This is so Preston!". I guess I just haven't really developed a style yet. It's fine, it just means I have to shoot more!

Any music that you listen to lately? Movies that you just seen? Books that you read lately?

Been listening to the playlist Afternoon Acoustic by Spotify.

My favorite from the playlist would be Carry You by Novo Amor-

 Any last words?

I know it sounds cliché, but live life to the fullest and enjoy the time spent with your family and friends. Life is so much more than just taking photographs.

You can find more of Preston's work below: