Creativity often starts – and flourishes – with community. Just ask these four Sony creators in Singapore. Whether it is filmmaking or creative design, these homegrown creators have found that the power of community has enabled them to scale to new heights and also connect with other creatives to create a strong support network.
As part of the Sony Alpha Creators 4.0 Photo and Video Contest, we’ve got four creators, who also happen to be Sony ambassadors – and judges for the contest – to share their creative journeys, stories and passions, as well as dispense some wisdom and advice to other budding creatives – especially to those who are looking to join the contest.
Aristelle Siew, Creative Designer
Gear of choice I use a Sony Alpha 7 III camera which is a full-frame camera with incredible autofocus and high ISO performance. With great eye AF function, it just makes my life easier as it auto-detects and focuses on the eyes when shooting. My favourite camera lenses are the Sony’s 16-35mm F2.8 G Master Lens when shooting street photography and the Sony’s 85mm F1.8 Lens for capturing beautiful portraits of people. It is also good for shooting in the night as the aperture is great for low-light conditions.
Creative design has always been my passion as I want to create something out of the ordinary. Since young, I've been brainstorming many crazy ideas and trying to craft them. I took art, then animation design during my diploma years. I guess the reason why I love it is that design can be a form of communication that gets through impactfully without the need for explanation. Sony has been a great influence in my work and craft as it helps me to draft out my design inspirations through photography.
Sony's purpose is to get closer to people to create emotions and experiences, and I think that being in a creative community is very important to me as I get many different feedback and perspectives of my work, including people's way of life and insights that might inspire me. It is eye-opening as we know every individual is different and unique which allows us to exchange fresh ideas.
As a creative, don't be afraid to try different ideas even when people do not agree with you! Trust your own thoughts and always strive to do something different and who knows, it might turn out great. Be comfortable with sharing your work even if you don't think it's perfect.
Gear of choice I am currently using three systems from the Sony Alpha series. Sony’s Alpha 7R III for print, Sony’s Alpha 7S III for commercial videography projects and Sony’s Alpha 7C for casual cafe outings, or everyday spontaneous moments.
A great photo is when you can feel emotions and one that tells a story. It has body to it and composition is key to crafting something that evokes a certain reminisce in the viewer’s eye. One of my most iconic shots would be the one I took in Varanasi, where I was on the Ganges River taking a tour down the river of life. There were kids playing in the river, bathing in the holy waters of the Ganges and as the boat trailed down, I saw ceremonies of holy rituals worshipping the gods. At the end of the river, I saw this cremation site; where the dead bodies were burnt in the ghats of Varanasi.
The feeling of inspiring someone when they look at my photographs would be my greatest motivation whenever it comes to creating art. I aspire to be someone that can achieve great images and at the same time encourage viewers to gain perspective and think, "Hey! I want to shoot more now!"
A community of creatives is essential to encourage new individuals that are interested in photography to the scene. I can say that because I was one of them before. When I first started, I had no one to go to and meeting like-minded creators at photo walks or online discussions helped me improve my work and at the same time, network with different creators that I now work with. This community that Sony built has made photography more enjoyable and less intimidating for new enthusiasts with an interest in photography.
Gear of choice I'm using Sony’s Alpha 7 III which is a versatile full-frame mirrorless camera that excels in both photography and videography. Recently, I've been using a little more of the Sony’s Alpha 7C as it's more compact while still producing great quality images. My go-to lens is always Sony's 24-70mm F2.8 G Master Lens because of its really versatile range and the amazing bokeh it produces when shooting at a wide aperture. Also, its ability to capture greater details and colours is amazing for the final image it produces.
Having a community is really important, it helps with forging connections and exhibiting our work while inspiring others to do the same. A single upload of a photograph can be like a domino effect, inspiring others to go out and shoot. It is a continuous cycle of inspiration made available through a like-minded community. Even for myself, I do find new photography spots and new ways to shoot through this community that Sony has created.
I do not have a creative process when it comes to shooting but I do strive to create something new or different. It'll be best if it's a perspective unnoticed by others or if I haven't seen anyone capturing from the same angle or style before. If I must talk about a process, then my creative process would be to make the best out of nothing and to look out for interesting details, be it colours or creative lighting in your surroundings. I draw a lot of inspiration from the weather. It really inspires me to shoot if the weather is unusual or if it is depicting a moody or epic scenery.
An important thing I learnt was to keep shooting. You have to constantly go out to shoot and seek unique angles. Find your own source of inspiration but do not copy! Create your own style and flair, only then would you shine in a crowd.
Gear of choice I currently use the Sony’s Alpha 7S III as my main camera workhorse, along with a couple of lenses - Sony’s 16-35mm F2.8 G Master Lens, 50mm F1.4 ZA Lens, 70-200mm F4 G Lens.
Sony’s cameras have been an integral part of my work, and my constant travel companion. I'm able to document my adventures in the highest quality possible while maintaining a seamless filmmaking process with its technology. I'm generally inspired to discover more of the world and myself, document unique experiences and tell them in my own narrative. Sony is constantly innovating, which is something that I'm always rooting for.
Often when it comes to vlogging and documenting experiences, the mind has to be constantly alert and ready to capture fleeting moments. On top of that, I have to be mentally prepared to capture and tell an interesting story, and roughly know how I am going to deliver it in terms of the structure and feel. So as spontaneous and fun as some vlogs look, plenty of prep work goes on behind the scenes.
We are no longer just 'customers' of the brand, but creators who use these tools to tell amazing stories and in turn inspire more to do the same. Having a community of people with the same interest is definitely important, as we can provide support for one another, grow together and not treat everyone else as competition.
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Sony’s Alpha Creators contest is back for its fourth edition this year, with the theme, “Our World In Colour”. For the first time, it will be a photo and video contest where content creators are invited to capture and celebrate the beauty and vibrancy of Singapore, especially after a year of extraordinary change in 2020. Entries are open till September 26, 2021.