I’m glad to introduce our newest LomoAmigo, Ryan Cheah, otherwise known as shuttersentinel17. He’s quite the globe-trotter and even has tried the courageous feat of photographing strangers. Get to know more about Ryan as he is this week’s Community LomoAmigo!
Name: Ryan Cheah
Location: Kuala Lumpur (Now based in Cebu, Philippines)
Tell us about yourself. What do you do for a living? What are your interests?
Hello! My name is Ryan and I’m a designer – currently doing an internship at a furniture design studio in Cebu, Philippines. I follow English football avidly, particularly the red team of Manchester. I also enjoy spending time on the internet reading everything from BBC news to 9gag. Jokes aside, I like badminton, swimming and, of course, Lomography.
Why did you choose shuttersentinel17 as your nickname?
I wanted a username that was photography related, yet rhymed with something totally unrelated with the same initial – hence shutter and sentinel. The number 17 was my football squad number during secondary school and it was just something that had stuck with me and my usernames since then.
How long have you been a Lomographer and how did you find out about the Community?
It first started when I found my grandfather’s camera, a Seagull 203, back in late 2010. It wasn’t working but I had it repaired and started doing lots of research to learn about shooting in analogue. Subsequently, I came across the Lomography Community online and I bought my first Lomo camera, the Sprocket Rocket in February 2011.
What Lomography cameras do you use and which is your absolute favourite?
I also have a Polaroid SX-70 which I bid on eBay but unfortunately did not work! It’s hard to pick an absolute favourite as each camera has their own notable qualities. I think I would have to go with the LC-Wide for its wide angle lens, short focusing distance, quick operation and portability. As well, the Horizon Perfekt for its superb panoramas. When traveling, I usually carry both of them. But if we’re judging by sentimental value. it has to be the Seagull 203, you can also always bet on it to be a great conversation starter!
Is there a film you like best?
I love Lomography’s X Tungsten film. The images are just ethereal and I absolutely adore the purple hues. It’s a shame that they are not being produced anymore – I still have two rolls and I just couldn’t find myself to use them!
If you had to choose one picture, which one would be your favourite?
It has to be this shot I took in Venice. I was using the LC-Wide with an expired Fuji 64T II. It had been raining for the past 3 days and finally there was some sun on the day I was leaving. I got this near my hotel in the morning before I left for my flight – I was just trying to finish up the film but I did not expect a shot with expired film could have such an amazing result!
Tell us the most unforgettable, strangest, funniest, or worst photographic/Lomographic encounter you have ever had.
I wouldn’t call it an encounter, but more of how much of an impact it had on me – to the extent where I based my final year project on it. We had to design a lighting piece and I decided to do something related to analogue photography. I chose analogue photography since cameras capture light, but the refraction creates a different form of illumination than standard lightbulbs. I researched more about analogue cameras and eventually got the idea of a camera obscura in a table lamp, which acts like an eye for the lighting unit. I enjoyed the project as it allowed me to combine my passion in it and at simultaneously enhance my knowledge in the process. You can see the project here
You’ve taken many portraits of strangers; do you have any tips and tricks on approaching and photographing strangers?
If you’re using a Lomography camera then perhaps your job is already half done! They generally don’t look as intimidating as those huge DSLRs. For example, when you aim a colourful Diana F+ CMYK, the four essential colours of offset printing is sure to draw the attention of passerbys. Packed with the same features are the original Diana F+, this colourful clone will surely catch everyone’s attention. See the rest of the Diana Clones here!. By the time on-lookers have figured out what your gadget is, you can already capture their “what-on-earth-is-that” look. But then again, the best practice isn’t solely focus on getting the shot. Try mingling with them a bit and show interest in what they are doing. Ask a few questions or try to start a conversation, and then finally take some photos when they are comfortable with your presence.
If you could bring your cameras and film anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?
Ideally, I would like to visit the Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni salt flat) in Bolivia – it is where Muji’s famous panoramic poster was shot. The panoramic poster got me very interested in shooting panoramas. However, for a little more realistic choice, I would love to go to the locations where the Lord of the Rings are filmed in New Zealand!
What tips and tricks would you share for new Lomographers?
Start by shooting outdoors under the sun! Many newcomers into Lomography treated their first Lomographic cameras like a cell phone or digital camera and they take lots of indoor photos. Unless it has a light-meter like Lomo LC-A, or flash, the photos aren’t guarantted to be exposed correctly and Lomographers would give up easily after a couple of unsuccessful rolls. Shooting outdoors using a positive film then cross processing it offers a better chance at getting that kind of Lomographic photos they are expecting, which will of course increase their confidence to shoot, explore and learn more. So give it a go and head outdoors!
You can find more special photos in shuttersentinel17’s LomoHome. Be sure to check them out and perhaps strike a conversation with him and make a new Lomography Community friend!