Street/People Category Februrary 2020 Winner, titled “Sadhubaba, a holy person of Varanasi who has renounced his worldly life”, by Chong Keng Loy, in Varanasi, India
As ASIAN Geographic’s annual Images of Asia (IOA) 2020 Photo/Videography Competition looms closer, submissions to our IOA Monthly competition – the precursor to our annual event – are pouring in. We have received stunning photos across the categories, and are now featuring our monthly winners in an exclusive interview!
Below is our interview with one of this month’s spotlight, Chong Keng Loy, the IOA Monthly February 2020 Winner in the Street/People category, selected from the January 2020 entries.
AG: What is the story of your beginning and journey to creating great images?
Chong: I am just a self-taught photographer, grew up and based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I am a Sales Manager by profession and photography is my one and only passion. I knew nothing about photography until I got my first beginner DSLR, Canon 550D way back in 2014. It was literally tough and challenging when handling the camera for the first time. I continue to pursue my dream by watching photography tutorials on YouTube, magazines and taking inspiration from other photographers’ work.
Honestly, YouTube and Google are the best tools and best friends of mine. Till today, I still rely on them. As a photographer, I do not limit and confine myself at one thing, but learn as much as I can about Street, People, Portraits, Macro, Cityscape or Landscape photography. Moving forward, I have won several photography competitions and winning the Grand Prize of “Best Photographers of the Year” in 2016 for Nikon Annual Photo
Awards was my biggest achievement ever.
My philosophy is pretty simple and I always believe that “Practice makes Perfect”. Everyone is not born with perfection, but we try our best to create perfection. Only hard work will pay off at the end of the day!
AG: How would you define your style and concepts you enjoy exploring?
Chong: I would say each one has own unique identity and genres on how to carry the image to live. For me, I love to travel and photograph at my own ideas and expression of what image I wanted to bring out. One of my favourite elements are documenting people, anything that related to human with the expression, the lifestyle and cultures, such as those are working in dying-trade work, traditional, culture and classic arts. There are many dying-trades still exist today and many are from decades of generation. The saddest part is mostly young people nowadays are not keen on taking over this trade. Therefore these trades will soon die off and no one will remember their contribution. So, then using photography will able to retain the memories forever, especially when they cease to be part of this world.
AG: What is great photography to you, and are there any photographers you would like to work with?
Chong: A great photography always comes from the photographer and the subject, and the ability to connect the depth of feeling and expression to the viewers. In fact, there is no such thing an expensive or high-end camera would only produce the best quality images. It is about the image composition, light, balance, perspective and rule-of-third applied together.
For now, I do not have any specific photographers to work with but only to admire and inspire with photographers who have the genuine and quality of works.
AG: What is your preferred imaging gear to work with and why?
Chong: I am a Nikon D750 shooter and it is one of my favourite gears at all time. At present, I have 4 Nikkor lenses of my preferred choice which could cover all area, be in travel, documentary, portrait, street or landscape, even to the extent in wedding and certain events. However, if within my budget, I will definitely upgrade for body and lenses.
AG: What is the next Asian destination you’d like to explore and why?
Chong: My next Asian destination would be Myanmar, Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, and Nepal as they’re countries of diverse cultures and unique lifestyles. Traveling to other parts of the country is the only way to expose and explore wider in photography, and a way to establish a deeper knowledge and understand of each country’s history and culture.
AG: Can you share more about your current and upcoming projects?
Chong: I am planning to document the lifestyles of old folks in care centers into a series of their daily activities in the center – from the moment they wake up till the last hour before going to bed. I am curious about their daily lifestyles and how they live in the center, some till their last breaths.
Congratulations once again to Chong Keng Loy for being the Images of Asia (IOA) Monthly January Winner in the Street/People Category! You can check out Keng Loy’s Instagram page here.
Read about the other February Photographer Features of Images of Asia Monthly Winners:
1. Black & White Category Winner, by Ho Yin Chan, Scofield at Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
2. Street/People Category Winner, titled “Sadhubaba, a holy person of Varanasi who has renounced his worldly life ”, by Chong Keng Loy, in Varanasi, India
3. Photojournalism Category Winner, captioned “Muslim travel on overcrowded trains after attending the final prayer of Biswa Ijtema at Tongi near Dhaka, considered the world’s second-largest Muslims congregation after the Hajj of Holy Mecca”, by Md Rafayat Haque Khan, in Tongi, Bangladesh