One Shot with Simon Tay

One Shot is a new feature where Alex Coghe interviews photographers on one image to gain their insights on it and their photography. Here, Simon Tay shares the story behind an image taken in Singapore with his Leica M6.

Q: Why did you choose this picture to share for this interview?

A: I like the subtle juxtaposition of it. Behind the shutter grill was a women’s only hair salon for conservative ladies and the lady in the frame is quite the opposite. The eyes on the poster almost felt like they were telling me that I shouldn’t be looking.

Q: What camera did you use to take this picture?

A: I used my M6.

Q: Could you tell a little story behind this photo? Where were you?

A: I was walking around Arab St. in Singapore after running some errands. The light was good. I noticed the women’s only hair salon with an interesting poster behind the grill, but it wasn’t enough to make a photo. I lifted my camera up to my eye anyway. A lady walked into the frame at that moment and I took the shot, also putting myself in frame at the same time. It was one of those frames that you couldn’t have planned out and you only have half a second to think before pressing the shutter.

Q: What inspires your photography?

A: The surprises that it can throw at you is what inspires me to go and shoot the beauty of everyday life. And every time I develop a roll or make a print in the darkroom, it really fascinates me and drives me to do more. Chris Weeks, Severin Koller, Cornelia Reidinger and Klara Yoon opened up a new way of seeing things for me when I first started photographing two and a half years ago. They made me realize that you don’t need a dramatic scene to make a great photo. I really like their humanistic approach in their photographs and I would say that their works are part of my inspirations.

Q: Why do you use Leica cameras for your work?

A: The amazing viewfinder. I can see everything clearly and in focus, I won’t miss anything in the frame. Being able to see outside the frame really helps. Take the photo I have presented, for example. I wouldn’t have seen the lady approaching into the frame without the ability to see outside the frame and I would have missed the moment without it. I really like how quiet it is and the light touch of the shutter release button, helps a lot when shooting at low shutter speeds especially because I rarely shoot at above ISO400 even in low light. It’s just so simple and reliable.

Q: How many Leica cameras do you have?

A: I have a Leica IIIf, but I only use the M6. It’s all I need.

Q: If you could ask Leica to create a new camera or make improvements to an existing one, what would you ask?

A: Reproduce the Leica M3. It’s perfect!

Thank you for your time, Simon!

– Leica Internet Team

Alex Coghe is an Italian photojournalist currently based in Mexico City whose professional activity ranges from fashion and erotic photography to events. Learn more about Alex’s nasty project on his website, Tumblr, YouTube and download his guide to Street Photography THE ART OF SEEING here and other publications on iTunes. He is also a member of the international photography collective, noise. Check out their work on Tumblr, Facebook and Blurb.

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2 comments

  • Sometimes the elements just come together to make a memorable photograph! Thank you for this interesting article giving background to the unique photograph.

  • Thank you, Charles. I would like to take this opportunity to invite Leica Photographers to contact me if interested to get a feature for this column. Thanks.

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