A big fan of analog photography, Malaysian photographer Razlan Yusof stays true to film to this very day. In this interview, let's hear about what drives a fellow film photography lover to pursue his passion.
Tell us more about how your journey as a photographer started?
It all started in College. I am a graduate from The One Academy of Communication Design with a Graphic & Advertising Diploma. We had a class on digital photography but at that point in time, I was not too fond of the idea. If I was not mistaken, I didn’t do too well in that class. Nevertheless, my dad told me that photography can be a very useful skill in the future. So I ended up taking his Canon EOS20D and brought it with me everywhere I go. 3 years later, my family moved out of our current house which during that time, we had to stay with my grandparents for a couple of months. That was when I discovered my grandfather’s dry box filled with his old cameras. I took one of his camera which was an Olympus rangefinder camera and brought it out. I didn’t know how to use it at all so my first few rolls came out blank! But that didn’t stop me. I kept on going and going and after 5 years of trying out with different type of cameras and films, and learning how to process my own films, I can say that my skill in film photography has improved a lot. But I’ve never stop learning. Everyday I learn about new things.
What/Who are the biggest influences in your craft?
One photographer I look up to goes by the name of Jonathan Mannion. He is a photographer based in New York and he specializes in Portrait photography. He photographed all the iconic hiphop artists and I’ve been a huge fan of that music genre. Another photographer that has influenced me in my craft would be my teacher Paul Gadd. He owns this Studio / Gallery / Darkroom called The PrintroomKL. And lastly, it has to be my mother. She is a professional dancer in Malaysia and watching her make it where she is now tells me that one day if I work really hard, I can be where she is.
How would you describe your style as a photographer?
I’m always a fan of people & portraiture. Ever since I was young, I’ve always enjoyed drawing portraits of people. I guess I got it from my drawings.
Why do you prefer film photography?
Because of the cameras! (laughs) In all seriousness, film photography has taught me to compose my shots better. Being limited to either 36, 12 or 10 exposure depending on the format you shoot allows you to really think about the photograph you are about to make. Especially in the digital age were living now, film is not getting any cheaper! So if you screw up one exposure, it is similar to throwing money away. That is why I have a full-time job to fund my film photography.
Which of your work is your favourite so far? Why?
It has to be my trip to the Long House in West Malaysia Sarawak. Just being stuck in a long house with no connection to the outside world allowed me to immerse myself in the culture there.
Any tips on how to develop your skills and keen eye as a photographer?
Personally, do not bother going technical if you’re about to start photography. Scrap the whole idea of “I must learn how to shoot Manual in order to take better photographs”. Shoot on auto and train your eyes to see things differently. I know a lot of photographers who shoot on auto and produce beautiful work. Once you’ve trained your eyes, the next step is to learn how to work the camera. My favorite platform to look at photographs has to be Instagram & EyeEm. There are so many talented photographers out there. Be inspired!
Do you have ongoing or upcoming projects that you would like to tell the community about?
Not at the moment. I’ve been so busy with my full-time job and managing the plans for my wedding next year. My main focus is to get married first and travel the world with my wife. And maybe from there, I can start thinking of working on a new project.