I just met a model that found the fountain of youth

February 2019 was set to be my last month to clear my model shootings. I was about to embark on a new journey that would drastically cut my personal photography time.

As nature have a funny way of playing tricks, I received a message on my instagram of a possible collaboration. I looked at her profile, Kisstherainne, her images are of a very young asian chinese model, i put her barely at 23 at most.

*None of the images below are edited except in tonal colors.

analogue portrait young doctor
Dr.teh, Porta800, Leica M7

When we did the shoot, I only had the film camera with me, so i bought a Porta800 from BBG in Publika, Kuala Lumpur and proceeded to a nearby cafe. Minutes later, a young girl arrived with her friend. She looks exactly like the images on her instagram so I am happy that she is keeping it real.

After a short chat of the expectations (I was shooting film and didn’t want her to be surprised at the grainy results), we begin shooting.

Dr.Teh, Porta800, Leica M7
Dr.Teh, Portra800, Leica M7

After the shoot, we had a short coffee break where we discussed about when the files will be ready and how would I share the images to her. That is when she dropped the A bomb, she showed me her IC (she probably already knew this was the only way to convince anyone) as Malaysia’s identity card have the date of birth listed as part of its number. The format is YYMMDD-XXXXXX I read the first two digit…87.

I looked at her name card, “Dr.Teh“. It must have taken me around a full minute to process what i have just seen. That youthful looking “23” years old girl, is born in 1987. 1987! that is older than 1991 and 1991 is the milestone age i place on my mind as the year models reach a mature age of freelancing.

Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm
Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm

During our 2nd collaboration, she explained to me that looking young in fact has been a problem in her career. She started a dental clinic and graduated since 2011 yet sometimes clients would find her advice for advance treatments a bit uneasy due to her youthful looks. She has tried curling her hair, no makeup, sleep late and wearing an old spectacle frame to look older without making much progress. I couldn’t be sure whether she was joking or serious (pun intended).

On the 2nd session, I made it a point to try can capture her youthful looking appearance so I brought along the highest resolution camera I had in my inventory, the 645Z medium format. I felt that this story needs to written, this encounter, after all, I been shooting over 9 years myself and this is the first time my estimation of age is so far from right.

Dr. Teh, Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm
Dr. Teh, Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm

During my conversation with Dr. Teh Jing Ju, I realized this is a very dedicated individual to her work and cared a lot about her clients and employees. “Don’t be fooled by my looks, I am a serious person and my nurses knows I am very strict with working ethics” (I cant recalled the exact words so paraphrasing).

Looking back in the 9 years of shooting, what have photography brought me? Adventures, happiness, heartaches, knowledge, total waste of time? None of those are permanent nor matter, it boils down to whether my photography actually helped others in their lives, whether it’s adding that pinch of joy or crossing path with someone in their own personal journey, I felt that I have played a part, no matter how small and photography is meaningful in that way.

Dr. Teh, Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm
Dr. Teh, Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm

I have shared Dr. Teh’s story to a few of my friends and invited 2 of them in separate sessions to validate for themselves if I am exaggerating. Since no online feeds wanted to pick this story up, I decided to just share it here in my own blog.

Dr. Teh, Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm
Dr. Teh, Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm

Lastly, this blog was written with consent from her, including her age stated, if there is anyone who wanted the world to know that she is older than she looks, thats Dr.Teh. So the next time you are in Sunway, Subang or Puchong area and you needed to do that Dental checkup, you can go see for yourself if what i wrote here are true.

Looking professional with that spectacle

Medium format fun with RZ67 {portraiture|film}

When the world first herald the end of film, film gears prices went downhill very quickly. Today, we no longer talk about “film is not dead” as a topic but rather whether one chooses “film” or digital as a choice of medium. The recent Rollei “Vario-chrome” was sold out all most as fast as it reaches the shelves, even if those are virtual shelves sold online.

If you wanted to try film, you should go ahead and try Medium format as those gears are just a fraction of its original cost and being medium format, you get huge “sensors” hahaha. These huge negative size produces really amazing and beautiful results even when scanned by the same scanner that scans the normal 135 film.

For medium format portraiture, i would recommend the Mamiya RZ67 and its legendary 110mm f2.8. So as per the style of my blogging, lets see some of the images i done for the last 2 months using the Mamiya RZ67 and films like pro160NS or kodak porta400.

 

This image barely got any editing, the model is a stranger i bumped into an offered her a makeup with an album. Her name is Kiwami and she is a local chinese in malaysia. Look at those faithful rendering of her hair and the skin tones on her, see how those highlight behind just falls in beautifully into the bokeh.

This is Amanda, a popular makeup artist in Malaysia, aka Mak3upQueen. This scene was shot at a rooftop around 630 pm and some of the sunset light are coming in. Just love those tones!

Notice that in the portraits above, Amanda wore red, a color that is often problematic to digital sensors even today. For film, its just a walk in the park. I must say, i wished the sunset golden light was better.

Blue are gorgeous on film too, even though its indoor. You can find out more about Mamiya RZ67 pro cameras from google and checkout its pricing in ebay/etsy or other online used marketplace. I personally went for the version 1, instead of the more expensive RZ67 proII. Hope you enjoyed the medium format portraiture samples that i took.

 

Bokeh vs Bokehless, the lost art {Portraiture}

angela {bokehless}
angela {bokehless}

I been struggling to master the bokehless portraiture. This struggle has motivated me to force myself to use cameras with deep depth of field and hence inability to produce bokeh photos. One such ridiculous camera is the Casio TR. If you read my previous blog, i took this camera and went walking around Singapore as well as shot my model friends in Kuala Lumpur. Things took a change when i decided to ask Angela Lieche to do a shoot with me. Angela (x.x.angela instagram) have been creating beautiful bokehless images and her fame instagram is rising fast, thanks to her images.
Bokehless portraits, takes a very different set of eyes and mind to capture them. When i had the Casio TR, i tried my best and eventually i admit i could not take any satisfactory portraits with it. You can read about how the model herself could take a better picture here.

angela {bokeh}
angela {bokeh}

I am lucky to be the owner of a Noctilux f1. An ancient lens granted by Leica to possess magical qualities. I maybe exaggerating but the fact that you use a rare aperture, it can only create different bokeh and imagery. So in this shoot with Angela, i use the new skills of utilizing both bokeh and bokehless cameras. The bokehless camera is the Ricoh GR 28 mm f2.8 and the bokeh camera is my trusty Leica ME Noctilux F1 v3.

angela {bokeh}
angela {bokeh}

If i were to be downright honest here, i am one of the best outdoor portrait photographer anyone can find in Malaysia. Not the best, but definitely one of the best.
Well, let me correct that statement earlier, “best outdoor female portrait photographer”. LOL.
I pay my dues with constant learning, practicing and restrain in learning and enhancing my skills, do visit my other articles and photos to see the various themes that i have done and collaborated with. I learn from the best, be it Dragon Chow from HK, Ming Thein of Malaysia or a freelance model like Angela who is gifted, i take my lessons with no prejudice.
Is it profitable? No by a far margin, photography to me is like an art and a gift to me and people that i meet.

Please do enjoy the images below and drop me a comment if you enjoyed my images and lame jokes.

angela {bokeh}
angela {bokeh}
angela {bokeh}
angela {bokeh}
angela {bokehless}
angela {bokehless}
siew may  {bokehless}
siew may {bokehless}
siew may, {bokehless}
siew may, {bokehless}

The beautiful 18mm f4 Zeiss for portraits

This is a tricky lens to use for portrait. The challenge lies in the peak focusing recognition because at this width almost everything seems to be in focus with a slight twist. However it is a beautiful lens indeed. AT 18mm, Zeiss gives very interesting colors and mood to the images. I haven’t have a proper session to do a full model shoot yet, so most images here are just casual images. (updated, check out how its used on portraiture here)
Wide angles such as 21, 18 and even 15, gives the subject a very slim profile, something which almost any ladies would appreciate. Like one of my master says “any lens can be used for portraiture”, its just a matter of recognizing its advantages and using it. One thing though, do not use the hood on the FF Nex. The hood causes an unwanted vignette.

Here are some images taken with it, at 18mm F4. Those “selfie” images are taken from my project of 100 beautiful selfies.

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In fact using wide angle for 2-3 meter of portrait photography is something that should be explored more especially for outdoor photography.

Here are 2 more examples, unedited straight from camera. Using wide angle gives a flattering view of the subject, if used at the right angle and distance, even the skin looks better!

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You can get this lens here: 18mm f4 Zeiss M mount B&H photo

I personally use Fotodiox M to Nex. Its a very solid piece of adapter and the release tab is so much better than those typical china made that i’ve seen. You can get that here from B&H too

* check out more services and my photos at cocoa-dream