Interview: Photographer Gavin Poh (Australia)
Can you tell us a little about you?
I am originally from Malaysia and my family migrated here in the 80’s. We do visit malaysia quite regularly but i now call Australia home.
How and when did you get into photography?
In my job, I travel a lot. My work mates typically hit the bars and pubs but as I don’t drink, I thought I would go get a camera and take some memories of my travels back with me. That started in 2008 and ive just been getting more and more interest in the art.
What does photography mean to you?
I guess it plays two parts for me, firstly its about escapism. Im quite an introvert and rather shy but somehow, being behind the lens gives me a sence of security and confidence. I can speak to people with a level of authority and they listen! Well.. most of the time….
The other is creativeness. It allows me to try and bring a thought into a printed form that I can hang on walls and relive the moment for years to come. In my previous jobs, there were limitations to this aspect of life, but in photography, I can try to recreate anything that pops to mind.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I’ve been told i am a minimalist. I love low key shots with just the subject as the focus, using light to tell the story. I secretly admire those photographers who are also photoshop wizards that can introduce anything into a photo however i tend to err on the “out of camera” side with minimal enhancements.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Nature… I think the nature is the mother of creativity. I started with some projection work which really stemmed from shadows and how they fall on lit subjects. I did an entire series of projection work that was titled shadow play. The second one I started was titled besubmerged and that was inspired by how things flow in water.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
I’d say 80% of the time, I have an image in my mind I want to create but once I have that I always just see how the flow goes. Most of the time, the quality of images reflects the connection between model and photographer. The dynamics of the two artists can be seen in the results.
Studio, on location or both?
I rarely hire a studio but i have done on some occasions. Mostly i shoot on location, especially underwater shoots as i need to ensure the saftey of the team and having a controlled environment is essential.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I am somewhere in between. I have steady paid engagements but i also have a day job which pays for most of my daily needs. I treat the photography side as a “Serious hobby” which helps fund the equipment.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
I think the most memorable would be shooting our Miss Universe Australia Monika Radulovic last year. I have shot previous Miss Universe Australia winners before but with Monika, she was just so down to earth and super fun to work with. On top of that, BMW Australia gave me a brand new i8 electric super car for a week to shoot with her. It was an amazing experience to work with two of the most beautiful subjects together.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
I regularly look at magazines, creative sites or other photographers to see what everyones up to these days. Its more to keep myself current, see if my work is still in line with what the general public wants to see. I often find myself wanting to recreate others work but i will always try to put my own stamp on things.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
Im a Canon user, i shoot with a 1DX on dry land and use my trusty 5D MkII for all my underwater shoots. Lens wise, i would have to say the 135mm prime or 24mm prime are my favourites. Just super sharp and fast.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Find a niche and get great at it! Cameras are so accessible these days and everyone is essentially a photographer. You need to find a skill that few people have then market the hell out of it!
What do you think of our new magazine?
I think it’s great. The industry needs more collaboration hubs like this to promote and share the beauty our world has to offer.