Meet the photographer who achieved outstanding results in the First Half of B&W CHILD PHOTO COMPETITION 2015! His name is Chee Keong Lim and trough this interview and photographs we will take you trough magical world of inspiring photography and Asian beauty and culture!
Q: First of all congratulations!!! Your work was very noticed by our judging panel. As a result you won 1st Place in The lifestyle category, 1st Place in the Documentary and Street Category, 3rd Place in The Documentary and Street Category and one honorable mention. All we can say is WOW. How did you feel when you find out about this?
A: When I received the email and found out I achieved such an excellent results, my heart felt really happy and surprised, because it’s really not easy to achieve this.
Q: Please tell us a story behind the photograph “Going Home”? Where did you take it? Who is the person in this photograph?
A: “GOING HOME” was taken in Burma during my third visit to this country. I love Myanmar, it’s my favorite country for traveling and photo shoots. This year(2015), I intent to lead other photographers for the forth time to Myanmar to experience this country and photograph it.
In 2011, I was in the very same place photographing 3 women on their way home.That picture won prizes on several photo competitions. Last year I came back to Myanmar, I came to the outskirts of Bagan, once again I came to the same “lucky location”, and the novice monk has become the target for my image.
Q: “Playing” is so dynamic photograph! Stunning moment! Did you tell those boys what to do or you were waiting for perfect moment to be captured?
A: During my family vacation to Bali, the tour guide took me to this place. When we arrived, there were a few children playing with water and they looked like they are having a great time. I did not do too much of arrangements I only asked them to keep some distance between each other. I allowed them to continue playing and splashing water. Then I was waiting for the perfect moment and finally I got this shoot.
Q: You assume we cannot wait to hear story about “Praying” as well 🙂
A: While shooting “PRAYING” I was supposed to do it with wide-angle lens, but the result wasn’t ideal, so I decided to use try fish-eye lens to shoot and the image came out surprisingly good . I like the most how light curve came out on that picture.
Q: Can you tell us more about you? How old are you? Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
A:I am 50 years old. I was born and raised in Malaysia. I still live in Malaysia.
At first, I was pursuing photography on the side, while helping my father to take care of the family business. In 1998, I was able to pursue it as a full-time career.
Q: When we look at your photographs, we see they are carefully calculated and what makes them so powerful is beautiful combination of visual and artistic elements, available light, subject, composition, story…could this be natural talent or you educated yourself in these aspects of photography?
A: I did not attend any formal photography course or school, beside reading or online self-study. Sharing, analyzing and discussing my work with friends helped me a lot. But I think the real benefit is from outting together with other photographer. Willingness to share their knowledge with me, constructive criticism is the biggest reason for my improvement.
Q: Your photographs are complex, yet simple, they speak clearly and loudly. They are “busy” yet calming. How do you balance all this? How do you actually “steal” perfect moments and capture them?
A: I always remind myself “THINK BEFORE YOU SHOOT”! Either about the composition or just the light condition. I think into direction to get the best possible photograph from each photo shoot. So before I start, I scout the surroundings and the light condition. If I have a rough idea in my mind, it is much easier to get a good photograph.
Better you prepare, the easier is to photograph.
Q: When did you start doing photography?
A: I am interested in art and photography for a long time. It began when I was in a high school. That’s when I felt the urge to record the beauty of the world around me, so I started to learn the craft of photography.
Q: So photography is your full time career?
A: Yes , it is!
Q: What was your life before photography? What you were doing? What kind of education you got?
A: At first, photography was my hobby, something I was doing on the side while I was helping to my father taking care of family business. My father was the owner of a spare parts retail shop.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A:“Painting is the art of addition:
the artist adds colors to his painting and builds up the image.
Photography is the art of reduction:
we try to pull out a simple beauty from the complex world around us.”
Q: What’s in your camera bag?
A: I always bring my Canon EOS-1D X ,16-35mm ,85mm, 70-200mm and fish eye 8-15mm.
Q: Do you travel a lot?
A: yes, I like travelling and I go for photography trip at least once a year. In December 2015, I am planning to visit Myanmar again.
Q: Do you often participate in photography contests? Why is important for photographers to participate in quality contests?
A: Yes, I often participate in the photography contests. For me, participating the contest can let us know what’s our level in photography, and we can also learn so much trough other photographers and their entries.
Q: What do you think of photography newcomers? What do you think of today’s photography market?
A:Due to the increasingly low price and widespread popularity of digital cameras, photography is becoming common place all over the world. This phenomenon helps promotion of photography. On the other hand, I find that photographic newcomers often shoot blindly, without thinking.
Some of them lack basic knowledge in photographic and artistic principles, their work cannot achieve the simplifying clarity towards which I personally strive.
Q: Importance of social media in photography today?
A: Social media has become an integral part of modern life. It applies to photographers as well. Social media can make it easier for us to share the joy and success with our friends. At the same time, it allows us to share our work and learn from other photographers from all around the world.
Q: Who are photographers you admire?
Q: What would be your advice to other photographers?
A: Think better , shoot better.