Lights, camera, action. These three words made some sense when one applies them to Geoff Ang, who had a humble beginning when he started to work in his father’s production company as a youngster and now shares his experience in shooting Kali Majapahit martial arts with his Leica SL.
Geoff has an illustrious career as a fashion photographer and now an established regional commercial photographer but not many knows that he started out as a still life photographer. For a still life photographer, light is one the most crucial element as it is the only substance that brings life to an object. Right up till today, Geoff is a master at lighting. His lighting methods are exquisite and very refined. His producer at Geoffstudio, once asked what light equipment he wanted, and Geoff replied, “Everything” and with everything, he creates magic and life. At times, Geoff can be seen holding up his hand up in the air and let the sun light falls on it and sees how it lights his hand and be mesmerized by it. It feels like a private moment for him as a photographer.
He has a passion for cameras and he used to have good collection of Leica until his house got robbed one day, along with his collection. It was devastating to him as a camera to a photographer is like water to a fish. Nevertheless, he wouldn’t let it get him down too much and soon rebuilt his collection. All he needs now is Leica to make a security camera to watch over his collection.
He has also started a Mentorship Program called 2.0 which is set-up to help and build photographers of all levels to become a better version of themselves.
He once said that photography is not just about the photograph but it’s about the journey and the experience that encompasses it.
Please share your interest and story behind Kali Majapahit martial arts. Why did you select this subject for the shoot?
It started with me doing a personal series of images of the sport Crossfit, and that started with me having an interest in putting together a more sports oriented portfolio. I always believe in updating and always keeping up with the times and not stagnating in whatever I do.
One would assume this type of martial art has a relationship with photography, in the sense there has to be a lot of discipline, patience, and practice. Do you relate to these elements for your photography?
For sure, i totally subscribe to that… photography like martial arts is about constant practice and always being a student and to constantly strive for the next challenger…
Being a seasoned TVC director, you have to encompass many action elements and key aspects into a short time frame. Do you believe this applies to your photo shoots? For instance, making sure the sweat and strength of the fighters are evident in the photo?
Being a director is different and the same all together… as being a photographer, the difference being a moment caught vs a scene… but the basis is very much the same in that they both require me to be able to articulate my vision and to draw out that emotion or action for my camera, whatever it may be. A photographer has to have the eye for details more acute in that we catch a moment and that moment is presented to the viewer to digest at length, which to me is an incredible art form.
Talk about the Leica SL, how do you find its versatility, velocity, and color rendering when doing these photo shoots, when compared to other cameras maybe?
A camera has always been but a tool to me, when when that tool comes in a package that allows me to work in a way that makes my job easier… all the merrier, and the SL does exactly that. the speed of the focus is incredible, and no lens in the world comes close to a leica lens, the bokehs and flares it produces straight out of the barrel is just phenomenal… i love shooting straight into the light and leica lens just does it so effortlessly with beautiful blooming and lovely flare patterns… just breath taking to me.
Is there specific lighting you use for these shoots?
I use Profoto flash systems, i have been using them for the past decade and they are just the most elegant and robust flashes, with amazing accessories to compliment my style.
You talk about being focused on creating the photo ‘in-camera’, do you have any practical tips for photographers to make this a reality?
To be able to work in camera one must be constantly practice your craft and to hone it till you are the master of it… i always say to my junior photographers to keep doing that one look or style… keep at it, till you become known for that, so that you can own it and not be accused of being a one shot wonder if u perhaps did that image only once or twice… it might come across as a lucky shot. in today’s world of digital we often shoot a ton of images as they cost nothing… but they are often not quality but quantity… i liken myself to a sniper than a machine gunner. At the end of the day… its all about treating photograhy as a craft… a craft much like the masters of the old days who spend time and effort to make something… not something done haphazardly and saved by technology during post production.
What’s the background for 2.0, the mentorship program?
With my almost 3 decades of experience as a photographer, i have gathered a wealth of knowledge on every aspects of succeeding as a photographer. So i decided to start my 2.0 program to train and mentor photographers much like a coach trains his athletes, i push them and drill them and help them progress… i truly believe that the eye is like any other muscle, and it needs to be trained hard to make u into a strong well toned photographer, i help photographers who are starting out or photographers mid career who have lost their way… i help them find their road and sense of purpose and rekindle their love for the craft.
Lastly, what other projects are you working on, and is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I am actually starting something really exciting as we speak… it’s been a dream of mine ever since i started my 2.0 program some 3 plus years ago… and thats to have a physical location where i can bring photographers together to work and play together much like a community. a space that is based on a communal ecosystem where resources and knowledge are shared with no agenda and egos… a place of comfort much like a sanctuary where photographers can come to rest or to be uplifted. I have just gotten keys to this such space and its called “RAW” and it will be launched end of February.
Thank you Geoff!