Red is Not just a colour.
Red is Hot.
Red conjures up a range of conflicting emotions ranging from passionate love to violence and warfare.
Red is Cupid and …the Devil.
Red is a dichotomy.
Red represents power, danger, anger, purity, joy, prosperity and many other symbolism.
Red is the corporate colour of the German camera brand Leica.
And as hot as the colour red, Geoff Ang is a very much sought after photographer. A Singaporean fashion photographer with an artistic flair – Geoff’s surname “Ang” is a dialectic translation to the colour “Red”. Hence the title of the Leica photography event “REDred” is apt.
I was invited to the Opening night of the exhibition on 5th April, and got up-close and personal with Geoff Ang, the “L’Enfant Terrible” photographer whose career spanned almost two decades.
The charismatic photographer smiled and said “I believe that “Looking is one thing, Seeing is something else.”; you know what I mean? Always observe, there is an always new things to be learned. Not just looking and learn nothing.”
Continuing with the interview “I can see that you have been very busy for the past 2 years. On top of your commercial projects – you have set up “School of Advanced Photography (SOAP)” your training school and photography talent agency. Is that the reason why you have not had an exhibition for so long?”
Geoff “It has been a little of everything… a little of family, as the arrival of my daughter 3 years ago has been keeping me very occupied, my commercial works and having to run FEAT. And SOAP is pretty time consuming! Also I don’t want to do an exhibition just because… it has to mean and stand for something that I am passionate about!”
“Personally, what do you think is an ideal (time) interval to have an exhibition? How does an exhibition help a photographer advance their career? Considering there are more channels to showcase ones’ work, since we are in the age of social media.” I asked.
Geoff ”I’d say it would be great to do one every year… but putting up a showing of one’s work is a labor of love… and much of this takes lots of time. It helps a photographer by allowing him to create a world within those walls and to welcome the viewer into that space that is created to take them on a certain journey!
In today’s world with social media u can very quickly broadcast & showcase your work… it’s really instant! So I guess because of that… some people may find that a (physical) exhibition may be a waste of time.”
“You have been in the industry for so long, how have it change from when you start compare to now?”
Geoff “Now I am more confident in my craft and what I can do with my 2 hands… I can better articulate myself to my clients and bring my vision through in a better (and) more convincing way even before I press the shutter!”
“Also how do you view the influx of people who try to get into this industry (Freelance…etc) since the barrier of entrance is lower due to digital photography? Also I understand that your operation is at a much higher barrier of entrance, but what would you advise the Youth?”
Geoff “Yes! The low entry barrier has certainly screwed the market over… with anyone with a $3000 and 2 lights calling themselves a pro… a pro is someone committed to his craft whom has a high level of production, crew and the right equipment with a proper space of business. That’s what I call a pro… a pro is not someone who has a longer lens!
All said and done… it’s always about the “final picture”… that’s what counts! A “final picture” I mean the in-camera shot… not some crappy image taken and rescued by some great retoucher to make the photographer look good! My advice… learns to take good pictures and learn from the professionals who have made it… that’s why I started SOAP… a school where only professionals teach you!”
“Hypothetically IF you did not become a professional photographer, when you were younger, what do you think you would be now? And IF you stop being in this industry, what will you be doing?”
Geoff “I guess I will always be doing something creative with my hands and being on the move… I sure (I) am not someone who sits behind the desk!”
“Tell us something about “Geoff Ang – The Person” not the “Photographer”. What would you or your family describe about you in private, away from work? How does that help you to relax?”
Geoff “Ever since my daughter Lyla was born 3 years ago… I have been very much a family man… best job in the world… I spend all my free time with Lyla and my wife, as I do travel around Asia shooting a lot, what ever time I have in Singapore is always spent with my 2 girls!”
Geoff “I do lots of research of all kinds of things.. as my work demands that I do treatments on the ads before I shoot them… so I do spend lots of time on the web, and through that I get inspired by things!”
“Amongst all of your creations, which is your favourite?” I asked.
“My Daughter!” Geoff replied without hesitation.
The “L’Enfant Terrible” has now grown up and views life in different ways. These changing views on life, influences the way Geoff shoots – constantly changing, innovative and engaging.
When I interact with Geoff, I can see that he is constantly seeing – Observing the changing light in the environment. And in between I sneaked in a bit of personal advices from the master and asked about the Exhibition Direction and Layout, which he explained and taught me something about “randomness”.
Moving on to the showcase of 6 young talents; “So Which Singaporean young photographer, do you reckon, to look out for? And why?“
Geoff smiled and said; “Simple… all my boys and girl in “feat.” (Agency) are the next to lookout for… They are all really talented! Hand picked by me…”
Geoff also created “feat.” To represent young talented photographers. Six of whom are being showcase along with Geoff at the REDred Exhibtion with Leica.
– Kevin Ou, Wei Shen Tan, Mickey Wong, Chuck Reyes, Jovian Lim & Nicky Loh.
I managed to grab hold of one of them, Chuck Reyes. I asked him about how does being represented by an agency helps a young talent.
Before I head off, I asked Geoff one last question “What is your outlook of local fine art & fashion photography industries? And the Art scene in Singapore in general?”
“The local scene has been making a steady constant rhythm… But frankly still lagging compared to other parts of the world… but baby steps I guess…” The “L’Enfant Terrible’ Photographer replied.
“REDred” is on from 6~16 April 2013, at ION Orchard, level 1, Leica Singapore: www.leica-store.sg/