Capturing life

TAKING photography to new heights, 22-year-old Ivan Lee is relatively new to the photography scene.

Yet his eye for shot composition, symmetry and colours has the young, self-taught photographer developing a growing cult following on social media.

“People know me for my work, and that’s something I’m proud of. You don’t have to know who I am, who is ‘Ivan’. If you recognise my work, I’m proud enough, because every artist has his or her own style,” Ivan explains.

“As an artist, if you work to the level where once your audience sees your photo and says ‘This is Ivan’s photo’, then no one can alter or copy it. You’ve already made it”.

Posting under the alias @kosherunit on Instagram, Ivan has begun to take his exploits to the skies with a Phantom 4 drone, resulting in stunning aerial photographs of Penang.

The extroverted Mass Communications graduate with an introspective view on life, art and photography recently took the time to speak to theSun.

How did you get into photography?

When I first started out as a photographer, last year around June, I started with an iPhone 6. I wasn’t really into photography, but life had a plan for me.

Before that I was a dancer, until I got appendicitis. So I had a major operation that made me stop dancing.

To me, I live and breathe in art. I love everything that has something to do with art. So I discovered that photography is one way for me to express myself in art form.

At the time, I was capturing images on an iPhone, and my parents encouraged me on. There was this one time I took a photograph of a really nice sunset in Batu Ferringhi, Penang.

And I told myself “This is one of the most beautiful pictures I’ve taken.

How am I going to overtake this picture next time?” Because when you do something, you want to get better.

How do you find locations for pictures?

I scout for it myself. In Penang, usually when I drive, I don’t really drive but I look around a lot. I’ll tell myself “This place looks really good”.

It’s just that I’ll have to be there, find the right angle and take the most beautiful picture I can get. So, I wouldn’t call myself a photographer, because he or she just takes normal pictures. I call myself a “visual creator”, because I alter my images into an art and style of my own. It’ll have my own colour grading, my own composition, etc.

How do you decide on which combination of camera, lenses and/or a drone goes with what you want to capture?

Before I started out, I did a lot of technical research. I would say my teachers were Youtube and Google; it was a lot of self-taught knowledge. I got most of my inspiration from Instagram, as it’s a community for artists. To get the picture I’m inspired to get, I need to know the technical aspects of a camera; the aperture, the light, shutter speed, lenses.

What is your creative process like when it comes to taking pictures?

Three months ago, I got a drone. In the beginning, I practised my drone for the first month, and the second month was for scouting. Whenever I’m driving around in KL, I would imagine, “Ivan, if you can fly on top of there, how would it look like if you looked down?”

To me as a photographer, I’m very drawn towards lines, geometry, and patterns. If you give me a line, I would figure out something that would make it look good. Be it from the top, side or bottom.

What is photography to you?

To me, photography is about creating something that will live forever even after I turn to dust.

Do you think social media and drones are changing the way pictures are and can be taken?

Yes, they are. Drones enable you to take aerial photos, where its technology is continuously advancing.