Last Friday, the SAYS team had the privilege of hosting four photographers from Photo Face-Off, a reality TV series by History Channel Asia at our office in Uptown, PJ
Desmond Teoh, Ignitius Kong and Azril Azam are three passionate photographers representing Malaysia this season. Go Team Malaysia!
Desmond is a media planner who has a keen eye in taking photos. An active man who is passionate about photography, he enjoys playing a variety of sports while he is not out under the sun with his Canon 60D.
Ignitius is a cheerful and friendly business development officer whose love of photography was sparked while using a film compact camera when he was 12.
Azril Azam considers photography a release from the stress of his job as a software engineer. He can be seen wandering down the streets with his camera – street photography’s his strong suit, with first prizes for international photo contests such as the Estee Lauder Runway Photo Contest in 2011 and the 2014 Canon Photomarathon Singapore to prove it.
The show's resident pro-photographer is Justin Mott, whose long list of accolades and accomplishments include having his work published by The New York Times and BBC
Justin is an award-winning documentary, editorial and commercial photographer born in Rhode Island USA and based for over eight years in Southeast Asia. His work has featured in publications as diverse as the New York Times, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Guardian, BBC, CNN, Bon Appetit, Forbes and numerous other international publications.historyasia.com
Justin’s work has won awards from the Travel Photographer of the Year, PDN Annual, NPPA, CPOY, and the Missouri School of Journalism. He also has wide-ranging experience on commission for numerous NGO's, including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations, the Red Cross, the Asia Foundation, Asian Development Bank, The United States Government, and Doctor Without Borders.
Throughout the season, the contestants will put their photography skills to the test in a series of challenges - Speed, Theme and Extreme, together with Justin Mott
Back to having them at our office, we created three Speed challenges for them - all with our own twists...
CHALLENGE 1: This Must Be The Most Epic Ping Pong Game Ever
Four of them were divided into two teams via 'lai lai li' - our Malaysian way of dividing teams. One becomes the designated photographer while the other just has to play good ping pong.
How this works: When a team wins a point, the photographer of that winning team will be able to snap as many photos as he can until his team loses a point. When that happens, the photographer of that team must stop snapping, while the other team's photographer will take photos.
Goal of this challenge: We needed them to take photos of the GREATEST, MOST EPIC ping pong Game EVER.
Time limit for this challenge: 3 minutes.
Judge: Our, editor Judith Yeoh.
Here's Justin getting himself ready. A little pre-game pose certainly boosts up the confidence.
The game begins after a quick a warm up session! Desmond with the first service.
After a few exchanges, Justin moves in with a thunderous smash!
Not backing down from a fight, Desmond returns the favour with a 'gaya' smash
Team Justin may have won and were given 10 extra frames to choose from. BUT...
THE WINNING SHOT came from Team Ignitius with THIS photo:
"Desmond's facial expression in Ignitius' photo convinced me that Desmond was all out to beat his opponent and that the plastic orange ball was probably on fire at some point. I mean, just look at him! Epic match indeed!" judge Judith said when she chose the winning photo taken by the underdog team. "They had just 5 frames compared to 10 from Justin's team, but hey, they only needed that one shot to win them all!"
CHALLENGE 2: The 'Fun At Work' Photo Op
It was Justin vs the Malaysian photographers for this challenge.
How this works: Go around the REV Asia Penthouse a.k.a. SAYS office to take photos of people having fun at work.
Time limit for this challenge: 3 minutes
Judge: Our editor, Judith Yeoh
At SAYS, loving what you do and making work a source of happiness is a huge part of our culture
THE WINNING SHOT: It was Ignitius' shot of the tech team, grinning with glee!
"I can almost imagine the conversation they're having. Tracey is happy that Younes didn't roll out a buggy code! Satisfaction!" Judith said, not knowing that she had chosen yet another photo from Ignitius. "I liked how Justin's photo was framed, but I felt like it was more of a 'long day at work' kind of mood."
Okay, so Ignitius is clearly on a roll! Did he win the last challenge too?
CHALLENGE 3: Please Make My Messy Table Tidy Again
The three photographers competed against each other in this challenge.
How this works: You know when you dream that a fairy would clean up your desk with a wave of her wand? Yeah, we told them to do the same, but with their cameras. They could only move a total of three objects on the table if they wanted to.
Time limit for this challenge: 2 minutes
Judge: Justin Mott
THE MESSY TABLE below was desperately in need of a photography trick:
Justin confessed that this was the toughest challenge out of all three - Azril's expression said it all
The key to winning this challenge is to find the 'neatest' angle...
... and work around the ridiculously limited space of this small, cluttered table
THE WINNING SHOT: Where did the mess on the table go, you ask? Ignitius 'hid' it well!
In this shot taken by Ignitius, you can hardly see the books strewn across the table. They are now almost completely hidden in the background, with only the laptop (can't do anything about the stickers on the laptop, though!) and pen holders in the foreground. Smart angle, Ignitius!
After the challenge, we had a quick chat with Justin on photography tips and what he looks for in a winner
SAYS: Hello, Justin! So, this is your second season in Photo Face Off. What do you like about the show and what have you taken away from it?
Justin: I think what I really like about the show is the competition. It has really made photography a sport and that itself is something really interesting. Also, it is the only show that has a pro photographer facing off against amateur photographers, so there are a lot of chances for embarrassment for me! At the end of the day, we've really built a strong community of photographers through this show.
SAYS: What criteria do you think a winner should have?
Justin: I'm looking for a moment, a moment that triumph everything else - if I remember the photo the next day, that's a great photo.
SAYS: If you could only give one photography tip, what would it be?
Justin: I think the best thing you can do to grow as a photographer is to give yourself a project that tells a story. You don't have to go far, start a project where you are. If you can tell a story through your photos, you'll grow to be a well-rounded photographer.
Team Malaysia also shared with us their passion for photography and how it all started for them
SAYS: When did you picked up photography?
Ignitius: I picked up photography at the age of 12 when I bought a digital film camera. Photography is my passion because it's a memory capturing tool.
Desmond: I had a relatively late start to photography, I would say. My interest in photography started back in 2011 when I took up a photography subject in college.
Azril: I first laid hands on a camera almost 20 years ago, back in 1994. I shot a lot of things, but my current focus is on capturing better images for the various competitions.
SAYS: One lesson you've learned from the show?
Ignitius: Always be well-equipped, be flexible and don't stick to just one type of photography.
Desmond: I would say my perspective of photography has changed drastically after partaking in the show. I had the chance of meeting and knowing different photographers and that really helped me to shoot better.
Azril: Confidence is key. The ability to stay compose and be confident about your skills makes a huge difference in the outcome of your photos.
Tune in to Photo Face-Off Season 2 every Tuesday at 10pm on HISTORY Channel (Astro channel 555 and 575)