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Beauty in expression

Chan Sze Yuin wants to push boundaries and explore new genres in photography

01 Dec 2020 / 09:06 H.

CHAN SZE YUIN’S venture into photography was initially unplanned, but she soon turned it into a process of natural self-discovery, instead. “A camera was lying around at home and I just took photographs and discovered my true calling,” she explained.

In her mind, a photograph is an expression of creativity.

“Every photograph has its own representation of identity, a portrayal of a narrative, and creative expression that is very personalised to the photographer,” said Chan.

The 26-year-old never fails to challenge herself by stepping out of her comfort zone to develop her style, which she described as “leaning towards a delicate balance between soft exposures, warm and intense colours”.

Chan, who specialises in portrait photography, shoots her subjects with a particular identity, narrative, or expression.

Through her lens, Chan seeks to capture the beauty hidden in expressions, inspired by the various shades of light and her well-chosen backdrops.

Her work, which often resembles fashion photography, can be viewed on her Instagram page (@szeyuin).

What kind of photography do you specialise in?

“Currently, I specialise in portrait photography but I would say I am only at the beginning stages of expressing my original voice or style, as I intend to expand my experimentation palette.

“Recently, I have also been exploring product photography and pre-wedding or wedding photography.”

What do you want to convey through your work?

“My photography is based on a simple idea of conveying beauty. I visualise aesthetic concepts in my head and share them with the world.

“I like to uncover a new vantage point and bring my subjects to life, by giving a certain quality of warmth and intensity of colours. I love experimenting with different tones, poses and lighting to draw out certain concepts which I have in mind.”

What are your favourite subjects to photograph?

“I love taking portraits with flowers! I will always try to include flowers in every photoshoot. I turn to flowers for their simplicity that adds a lot of sophistication value to the subject, as a whole.

“As simple as it sounds, flowers are pretty as props; just like how a material or another person brings out the best in us, I want my audience to appreciate the beauty in its barest forms.”

What is the most challenging part of a photography shoot?

“A photography shoot often takes weeks of prior scheduling with all parties. The more complex or ambitious the shoot is, the more things need to be nailed down.

“I remember spending weeks scheduling with the models, arranging with the makeup artist, ensuring the timely arrival of props and the process of selecting the right location to fit the concept, for one of my photoshoots. I had to check the weather and also observe if the lighting was ideal.

“The trouble with my line of work is having to embrace a certain chaos and turn it into a creative advantage, and the constant challenge of breaking out of my comfort zone. The other challenge is the hours put into editing the photograph into the version which I visualised in my head.”

Tell us a story behind your favourite photograph.

“My personal favourite is a photograph that represents the growth of my photography journey. Looking back, I would have never have imagined being able to connect with and do a shoot for the lovely girls I have been watching on YouTube for years.”

What is your goal or dream in your life?

“I started off working in the corporate world, but I decided to take a chance on life and pursue my passion. As cliche as it sounds, it’s a decision that requires a lot of courage many people aren’t willing to make.

“As of now, my goal is to achieve ikigai (a Japanese term meaning ‘a reason for being’) by turning this passion into a sustainable lifetime job, while advocating for a greater appreciation for all Malaysians creatives, as I wish to celebrate the diversity, talent and creativity that surrounds us.

“Another goal would be to publish a photography book, in which I can share my passion for portraiture beyond the squares on Instagram.”

$!One of the portraits shot by Chan, titled Rose Thorn.– Courtesy of Chan Sze Yuin
One of the portraits shot by Chan, titled Rose Thorn.– Courtesy of Chan Sze Yuin

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