His Story: Henry Nathan

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Henry Nathan and I’m a photographer and videographer based in the south of England. I’m currently studying at the University of Leeds majoring in film, photography and media.

Tell us something interesting that was part of your childhood.

Spending parts of the summer in Jamaica with my family, getting to know all the staff at the resort out there and going back every year. Also, I started to learn how to water ski when I was 7 and have done it every year ever since.

What is your favourite thing about England?

I would say the culture and sports such as watching and playing cricket in the summer and supporting my football team, Arsenal throughout the Premier League.

You’re currently studying Film, Photography, and Media at the University of Leeds. Tell us about your choice of study?

Basically, I really love the city of Leeds and wanted to study here. Not only that, I wanted a good university and a good film course. I looked at a lot of film courses and quite a number of them are practical based. I wanted a good mix of theory and practical just to get that degree while improving the skills that I already know

What is one fond memory from your entire university life thus far?

Probably going to the Otley Run with my friends.

Editor’s Note: The Otley Run is a pub crawl that was started from Leeds.

What’s your take on ‘passion’?

I love creating something that looks amazing and particularly love the post production stage when it comes to photography. Also, I love to meet up with other photographers and work with them to create something incredible.

How long have you been shooting?

I studied photography at school, so I would say I have been shooting since A levels ( around 16 years old). That is also the first time I got my DSLR.

What equipment do you usually shoot with?

At the moment my Canon 5D Mark II.  I also use a Sony a7s full frame camera for videos. I do quite a lot of video works as well. But camera wise, I always use a Canon.

How would you classify your style of photographs?

I would say it is quite a mix. Mostly landscape based but I also love portraits and urban. Yeah, I do climb on roofs to get night shots.

I love using a shallow depth of field and precise composition to get my style of photography across. The rustic analogue look is the kind of style that I am striving for. However, I do prefer a low saturation compared to a strong one and gloomy look. Mainly, I compose my photos to look good on Instagram rather than displaying them on the walls. My thought process when it comes to that would be “Would that look good on Instagram? How would that work?”

Originally when Instagram only allow me to post in square, I would have to think whether it fits and looks good in a square even though now I can branch out a bit thanks to Instagram, for making it more flexible.

What makes an ideal location for your shoots?

It really depends on what kind of scene I go for. If I am going for an urban kind of landscape, I will try to find brick walls and puddles along the sidewalks to compose my photos. An important point would be that I always shoot during night fall for urban photos. If I were to travel to a city with amazing landscapes such as mountains, the golden hour is the style I am going for. Yeah, I really do chase sunsets!

How do you normally edit your shots? Any tips?

I normally use Adobe Lightroom.

I would always bring out the details more and sometimes I would lower the saturation. I use the tone curves quite a lot as it is a good tool to use. Also, I do love to create the faded effect to bring in the analogue look.

If I am posting a photo on Instagram, I would sometimes edit it on Lightroom first before transferring it to my iPhone. Then comes the second round of post production using the application, VSCO Cam. 

Who are your biggest inspirations and/or role models in this line of creative output?

I love works from Henri Cartier-Bresson. His style of composition and capturing the decisive moment really intrigue me.

Some instagrammers I look up to are @robstrok and @andyto. I do love how they manage to capture light in their photographs and their post production is simply breathtaking. I actually do know some instagrammers and have have met some of them in New York. 

You took a year out to work to travel and visited countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and Thailand! Care to tell us more about this entire trip?

Yes, I did! There were so many great moments!

I did a road trip from Los Angeles up to San Francisco in a Ford mustang with my friend which was one of the highlights from the trip. We worked our way up across the coast all the way up to San Francisco and back down to Los Angeles. On the last day of the trip, we had a little accident in the car park. Someone hit the back of our mustang while my friend was reversing. We went through a bit of a dodgy company and there was no way of getting it back so we had to pay a hefty fee for the damage.

New Zealand was probably my second favourite place because it is a country that is so different from what I have experienced during my travels. You can be at the beach for a moment and then down south where you get to be amazed by the glacier formations. The landscape of the entire country is simply amazing! It is a very beautiful country.

When I was in Peru, I met these two guys that are my age and my last trip to Barcelona was for a reunion. That guy is currently studying in Barcelona so I went out to meet him. It was mainly to chill and have a bit of fun. Oh and also, I went up to Montserrat in January by train and then a cable car. It was all good fun.

Since we are on the topic of travelling, do you have any other countries/cities you plan to travel to?

I'm going to Budapest in April, which is quite exciting as its a city I have yet to explore.

In June, I am probably going to California, all across Nirvana and up to Vancouver, Canada. It is all the way up the West Coast. This trip is still in its planning process because I am working with a New York company for that and they are sponsoring the whole trip. My frequent trips to New York as you many have noticed on my Instagram is for a meeting with the company, Adorama to shoot and create a mini documentary. The entire trip of meeting various photographers out there and just the whole experience would take about 12 short episodes.

Every July, I will be in Jamaica because my family owns a house there. I frequently travel to Jamaica, probably once or twice a year, for that reason. It is a place I love to photograph with its outstanding and symbolic culture. The locals there are amazing especially when I try to photograph them. I can capture the authenticity of the person really easily.

What do you think of Instagram as a platform for creative work?

Instagram is such an amazing platform to be able to share your work with other people and get instant feedback. I think that is the main thing really. From the feedback, you actually start to get better with your photography techniques. Instagram allows users to get inspiration when they browse feeds like @canon_photos where I started.

Why did you start @canon_photos?

I started @canon_photos alone with an ambition to create a community of photographers where they can share their photos and also gain inspiration. This feed also particularly helps those avid photographers to build up that kind of standard. It has grown over the past few years and is also a platform where I can share my own work too.

I have teamed up with a company about 6 months to a year ago and we are currently building a website for it. However, I am still the only person that runs the Instagram account.

How do you build your audience for both your personal and @canon_photos accounts then?

The main thing is content. You have to put your content out and if you stop, it kind of slows down. When I was travelling, I realized that I was getting a lot more followers than when I am in Leeds where I'm barely shooting. Also, I think interacting with instagrammers is really important like commenting on their accounts like “I love that. How do you do that?” This will help you build up the audience for sure.

Besides media, film and photography, do you see yourself dabbling in other forms of work additionally?

Originally, I got into photography through art at my last school near Eastbourne called Bedes where I boarded. While I was there I studied art, photography, media and business at A level. I actually got an Arts scholarship.

I love drawing. I can draw but I think photos and films are for me.

Regarding film, when and why did you started dabbling in that?

I started doing media studies at school and a good part of this required me to produce a film trailer and a music video. I just really love that so I took it seriously and researched it to build up my kind of style.

At the moment, I am working with up and coming music artistes to produce music videos for them. That is why I am travelling back to London once or twice a week to film. It is quite a lot of effort for me but it is all worth it because of my passion for filmmaking.

Do you ever consider yourself working for brands?

I do work with some brands on my canon account and one of which is Harper & Brooks, a watch company. They contacted me and I do quite a lot of work for them.

If you were stranded on an island and can only take 3 items with you, what would they be?

My camera, laptop and hard drive.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Hopefully in 5 years, I would love to be travelling around the world and doing what I like such as photography and filming documentaries. I would also love to see the website of my Instagram account @canon_photos up and running. That is the main goal at the moment to get that fully functional and have that be successful. 

His Story: Stefan Kuhnigk

Stefan Kuhnigk, or @thecoffeemonsters as many may know him, doodles with the help of a coffee stain. With just a bit of improvisation, Stefan is able to create quirky monsters using a good stain- one that has "much structure, a well placed body and some funny streams on the outside. "☕️ Other than talking about the coffee monsters that he creates, Stefan also shares his views on improvisation and ink blot tests.

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His Story: Connor Leimer

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Connor Leimer and I’m a 19-year-old singer/songwriter from Kansas City. I write songs and dabble with multiple instruments when I’m not seeking inspiration by spinning vintage vinyl, reading autobiographies or engaging in deep conversation with a friend. I’ve recently moved to Nashville, TN to work with a producer on new material. “Postcard”, my new album, was released to digital stores worldwide on the 2nd of October this year. I have also just finished up a successful Dorm Room Tour of the Northeast and parts of the Midwest that I booked myself.

Share with us how growing up in Kansas City was like?

I grew up in a city just south of Kansas City called Leawood so it was always hip to drive downtown to the Crossroads district, Westport or the River Market and explore the area and restaurants. Downtown is where I do most of my recording and it’s where I’ve been able to pursue music the most. I participated in a program put on by the Grammy Museum in L.A. around my junior year of high school that allowed me to commute downtown everyday and network with local artists, experience studio settings, etc. All in all, Kansas City has been a great starting point for my music career and has inspired me to really pursue my abilities to write, perform, and entertain.

What is one most embarrassing moment growing up?

Nothing too embarrassing comes to mind really. I’ve had a few awkward shows where you’re just starting out and not really sure what to do on stage. I tend to block those moments out and focus on the good moments. 

How would ‘A Day in the Life of Connor Leimer' be like? 

I love to write songs and dabble with lyrics and melody lines so my guitar is always out if inspiration sparks. Most of my friends are involved in music so I’m always getting together with them to collaborate, whether that’s designing artwork for an album cover, creating templates for CD packaging with my graphic designer friends, or just rehearsing and writing with other musicians. I see being an artist as more than just being a musician and I enjoy bringing friends into the creative process to contribute their talents to my work. Ultimately, I think it makes for a better album and something to be proud of as a team of artists. 

How do your parents and friends feel about you taking the music route?

My parents are very supportive of what I’m doing and I think that stems from the belief in my songs and my songwriting ability and the idea that pursing your passions in life is the ultimate and most meaningful goal in life. When I decided to take a year off of school I remember calling at least 15 friends and asking them “What the hell do I do?” and if school was the route I should take or if I should just move to Nashville and network and pursue the artist side. My friends and family are my biggest supporters and they really keep me motivated as an artist.

As a talented young individual like yourself, you are sure to have many suitors! Care to share with us a little about your take on love and relationships?

Of course, I knew this question had to come up. Rumor has it that I’m in love with a girl named June, which is basically this idea that I’ve conjured up about the summer and the month of June being the best days of the year, the best time of the year, and therefore something worthy of a relationship. So it’s safe to say I’ve had a love affair with the summer since my debut EP “Like It’s June”. In terms of true relationships, I’ve only had a handful of girlfriends (if you can call them that) but I love writing about the feelings experienced during those times and as of late I’ve been really intrigued with this idea that Swedish songwriter Jens Lekman talks about – which is the idea of marrying for citizenship rather than the vague and often temperamental feelings of love. It’s this concept of a relationship that doesn’t lie about its intentions and has a purpose bigger than love (if you can imagine that). Listen to the song “I Know What Love Isn’t” by Jens Lekman for further details! But for now, I’m still dearly in love with June.

We’ve seen you on a couple of instruments. Name all the instruments you can play!  

Guitar is my instrument of choice. But I dabble with piano, harmonica, bass, and a range of percussion instruments. My first instrument was drums at age 7 of which I’m highly proficient (if anyone needs a drummer, please don’t hesitate to ask).

How would you best describe the style and genre of your music?

I like to say my music and style is unique because of my songwriting. This new album “Postcard” is truly a glimpse into the numerous styles and genres I’ve grown up playing and listening to so there’s a variety of genres featured. But as of late, I really think my style is all about the songs and lyrics and that tends to resonate best when it’s just my acoustic guitar and my voice. I like to say my music is Justin Timberlake meets Mumford & Sons meets Jack Johnson meets John Legend. I truly love all styles of music and continuously find inspiration from a number of artists.

Who are your biggest music influences?

My influences change constantly but here’s what I’ve been listening to lately: Dispatch, John Legend, Lake Street Dive, Del Water Gap, She’s A Keeper, Justin Timberlake, Jens Lekman, Pete Francis, Chadwick Stokes, Bahamas, Scott James, etc.

What spun you into a music career at such a young age? Describe some ups and downs you faced in your journey so far.

Music has always been my greatest passion and something I derive so much joy from. The biggest up of my career has been these past few years networking through the Grammy Project and meeting local musicians to collaborate with. I really enjoy being in the studio so making this new album “Postcard” was a huge up for my career. The biggest downs I’ve experienced are the moments you record a song and it doesn’t turn out how you envisioned so you scrap it or have to redo it in the studio. I hold my music to the highest standard and I continually reach for making a better album whether that’s on the production side or the songs themselves. 

As a songwriter, how do you get out of the inevitable writer’s block every now and then?

Songwriting has always been about experimentation for me so if writer’s block occurs I can usually find new inspiration from listening to new artists or switching up instruments, trying to write on piano rather than guitar.

We understand that your new album, “Postcard”, has recently been released! Tell us a little more about “Postcard”. 

“Postcard” in a sense is a culmination of all the songs I’ve written growing up and the numerous styles that have influenced me. In that sense, it’s truly a postcard from each genre or style of song. The title track “Postcard” is about my personal strife with figuring out what path I wanted to take with education, music, and even career wise but the overall message is universal: the idea that living in another state or country would be so much better than where you currently reside. It’s this idea of realizing the greatness around you amid dreams of living in a city like Paris where things would be better, or purchasing a sailboat and living out at sea along islands, or living on the coast where there’s better weather. It’s a concept I’ve gone back and forth with in my personal life quite frequently and still do. Everyone wants to lead the best life possible and sometimes it seems that maybe there’s a life going on somewhere else that you want to be part of yet you’re stuck in a small town or area of the world that you feel isn’t what you want to end up living. 

How does this album differ from your previous ones?

This is my first full-length album and it’s my most professionally produced album to date. The album was mastered in New York City by a Grammy Award-winning engineer and features a guest appearance by Gracie Schram who just released an album produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars, The Lone Bellow, Ben Rector, etc.) It’s a top tier Connor Leimer record benchmarking an era in my songwriting while building a foundation for future albums to come.  

How would you describe “Postcard” in one sentence?

A personal memoir on love, desire and personal strife with homage to the mail systems that at one time controlled the communication pathways of generations of people. 

Which self-written song do you hold closest to your heart, and why?  

The title track “Postcard” is the nearest to my heart. It’s about my decision to pursue music despite pressure to attend school and an orthodox career, and it also dispels these notions that I’ve had that I won’t ever be good enough or do great things being from Kansas rather than living in New York, Los Angeles, or a city with perhaps more opportunities than the one I currently reside in. It’s a very personal memoir in a sense.

Some of your friends lent their help and efforts for the making of this album and it is very well put together! How long did it take altogether for these 10 songs to be perfectly arranged?  

We started recording in November of 2014 and finished by May 2015. So by the time I got the masters back from New York City (for mixing/mastering) it was late July 2015. I’m extremely proud of all my friends who lent their time and talents making this album. Everything from the album cover to the CD design to the very musicians playing on the songs are all just friends helping me out and lending their talents.

You’ve been touring for gigs and concerts for a few years now, and have recently finished a successful Dorm Room Tour for “Postcard”. Tell us what’s it like to perform in front of a crowd. 

It’s most likely the most fun I’ll ever have in my entire life. That’s just a guess but I have yet to experience anything greater than sharing music to an audience that’s grooving to it. 

What are the differences between playing huge shows, and playing smaller, intimate ones? Which do you prefer?

I’m really inspired and motivated to play intimate shows because I believe my music is catered towards that style. I’m hugely inspired by the theatre tour Jack Johnson did in 2013 where he played in all these beautiful theatres across the US. I’d love to do something similar. I prefer small shows, which explains my recent successful Dorm Room Tour of the Northeast and parts of the Midwest that I booked myself. I just want to foster lifetime fans that connect with the music and lyrics. That’s what success looks like to me. 

Do you get nervous before performances? What are your pre-show rituals?  

I’ve never been too nervous really, I’d call it excitement, if anything. I’m an enthusiasm driven type of person so I really fuel off of the moment and energy of the audience.

Most memorable performance?

I opened for my favorite local band, She’s A Keeper, in 2014 at The Granada Theater and it was the first time I truly felt that I could make it in music and that I was a part of this hip, chic scene. It was also my first theatre show playing on the big stage (with fancy lights & monitors).

You’ve been touring mainly in the U.S so far, are there any plans to tour out of the U.S in the future?  

No plans of yet to venture to other continents or countries but my dream tour is a European (mostly Scandinavian) tour. I’m a bit of a romantic and lately have been in love with the architecture in many of Europe’s oldest cities. I’ve been fortunate enough to see many of the cities in Sweden, Denmark, France, etc. so that is surely to blame. A European tour would be a dream-come-true for a kid like me.

The American music scene and the indie music scene have evolved a great deal ever since indie music became a thing. Was there any pressure for you to constantly better yourself and how do you do so?

I don’t feel too much pressure in music really. I think every artist/band has something unique to offer and that’s the most important thing for me. My competitive advantage is my songwriting and melody style so I just look for opportunities to share the stage and collaborate with other artists.

What are the challenges in sustaining this music path you took?  

There’s constant pressure to write great songs, but I’m never too caught up in that because I’ve been writing for so long and it tends to come naturally. The biggest challenge for me is to continue reaching out to people who can help further my career to reach the next level. I want to be successful more than anything and have been reaching out to just about everyone I know (and don’t know) for advice and guidance.

Who is one musician that you would love to share the stage with?

I’d love to play an acoustic living room show with Chadwick Stokes since he just completed an entire tour across the US playing in living rooms and has been a huge inspiration for me being an unsigned artist.

If you could only choose one artist to listen to for the rest of your life, who would it be?

That is such a hard question… I wouldn’t ever get sick of listening to "She’s A Keeper" if we can say it that way.

If you could turn back time, is there anything you would do differently?

Not at all. Carpe Diem. Live for today. Don’t look back!

Any advice for aspiring young musicians like yourself?

Meet musicians and artists in your town and collaborate with them, play shows with them, share your music with them and act as support for each other. You really need the support of great friends and other bands/artists.

Where do you see yourself five years down the road?

Hopefully leading a successful career as an artist. Releasing albums, touring, etc.

Lastly, name three things you would like to be stranded on a deserted island with.

An unlimited supply of letters and postage stamps, my 2006 iPod nano, and banana bread. 

His Story: Mathieu Beth Tan

Tell us more about yourself?

My name’s Mathieu Beth Tan. Besides photography, I play rugby since secondary school, and am still playing in a local championship league. I love the sport and I love photography too – I picked it up when I was about 18. Beth is not my real name, it’s a nickname everyone in my rugby team calls me.

I’m 24 now, and have been serious with photography in the past 1.5 to 2 years. I started off with film photography (35mm and medium format), and have ventured into digital photography now. My whole family is in the finance sector, while I’m just the odd ball trying to be different. I also like beer. I like combing my hair and doing it up too, I have a collection of combs and pomades!

Could you tell us a personal experience that made you realise you have a good eye for photography? 

I wish I could say I have a good eye for photography (because I don’t think I do), but since you said it, I guess it could be people or strangers telling me that my photos and its concepts are interesting and different. Or maybe, I dislike photos that majority of people adore, and vice versa.

Complete the sentence: “People always tell me I look like…”

People always tell me I look like a brown bear.

What’s a quick fuel for you when you are hungry and out shooting?

Kopi ping sui dai and dao sa pau (iced coffee with lesser sugar and red bean bun). 

Do you have any countries that you dream of residing in? 

Hawaii or Iceland, because they have volcanoes and I love volcanoes!

We see that you have finished your tertiary education. Since you have recently graduated from university, what are your plans for the future?

For now, I want to get a job in the industry that I studied in university, get a little experience in the working world, save some money, and eventually turn my girlfriend into my wife. We are both interested to start an education centre that teaches children art and photography, simply because we love children! 

Describe your entire university life in one sentence.

50% photography, 40% rugby, and 10% studying.

Could you share some of your best takeaways from university? 

University really taught me how to work with people from all walks of life, and that people-relation skills are really, really important. A person’s EQ is more important than his/her IQ.

What was the biggest trouble you have gotten into, in university?  

I took a feminine geography module and found myself in a class with 19 girls and myself as the only guy. I got sabotaged to do everything and then got scolded by my professor, who is a female, for being “sexist” on the first day of class.

Any advice for undergraduates? 

No doubt that you should study hard, but if you love doing something, do it to the fullest extent! Don’t hold yourself back because you “need to study for exams”. Also, if possible, get a part time job and earn some extra money while studying so that you can lighten the load of your parents if you’re taking money from them.

Let’s say if you were to further your studies overseas, what would you most fear leaving behind? 

My comfortable Singaporean accent and Singlish (a distinct Singaporean slang), assuming I’m going to an English country lah.

In general, what do you feel about the arts, and the art schools in Singapore?

Singapore, in my opinion, underplays the arts and creative track, and tends to overemphasize academics and scoring good grades in subjects such as Math and Science. More can be done for the arts to remain competitive and to have a decent standard, especially for our children who will be the next generation. I feel that Singapore needs to expand its opportunities for the artists who hope to influence and promote their love for the arts, to creatively showcase their work. Well, even the arts schools are controlled and have to follow a system like other mainstream schools; but nonetheless, it is still improving.

In your opinion, do you think that students who were enrolled into art schools since young have an edge over creative individuals who were not?

Definitely. Children’s minds are the most creative between 4 – 10 years old and if nurtured to their potential, they can be really remarkable when they grow up.

Besides photography, are there any forms of creative outlets that you would love to explore or venture into next? 

I would be interested in moving pictures and cinematography.

Why do you have a stark interest in film photography compared to digital photography?  

I started off with film photography, so that was my first love. It gives a ‘raw’ feel, we have to control and work for our photos (i.e. light, focusing etc.) I appreciate the effort behind film photography, the ‘art of creating’ a photograph from a film camera based on pre-defined settings and environmental factors, that if not done properly, may ruin something beautiful. While digital photography is magnificent on its own, I think film has a value that cannot be replaced by digital photography. I also love the ‘grainy’ texture of film photos.

What is the key component in film photography that you love?

I love the tones and texture of the different types of film that can be used, and its grainy ‘effect’. Its medium format picture quality is also outstanding 

How many years have you invested into photography thus far?

2 years and counting!

What equipment do you use to shoot? 

I use a Hasselblad 500cm and Canon 5D3. 

As with your portraiture and human relation photos, who are usually the models? Why so?

I feel that the word ‘model’ can be really tricky. Many would say that a model is someone who is good looking (or probably looks good in front of a camera). But how I see a ‘model’ is not whether they are good-looking, but one who looks unique as compared to everyone else. He or she may not be the most good-looking like Kim Kardashian or Justin Bieber (apologies for my poor choice of examples), but he or she has a really interesting, if not, quirky look or features. Most importantly, they look the most comfortable on photographs.  

Thus, many of the people I shoot are my friends whom I feel has a really interesting look, one that sets himself/herself apart from everyone else.

How do you decide on your shooting locations and where do you go to find them? 

Locations have always been a headache for me, because Singapore is so small. We don’t have the luxury of great mountaintops and valleys. However, I really enjoy urban structures with textures, stone and grid. When I’m driving, I keep a lookout for malls or buildings that are publicly accessible. It would also be great if those places have a nice old look to it. Old carparks, rooftop carparks, flora and fauna etc. are what I look out for. Other than shooting in public, I love studio photography too.

We noticed that you have a swell VSCO grid as well – how often do you use the VSCO app for editing, and when do you decide that VSCO filters would look good on your photos?

The VSCO Company is my favourite! In my opinion, it is the most awesome company that portrays the true idea of photography and the concept behind a photograph. They have excellent content, great selections, great products and a powerful platform to connect with likeminded people around the world.

However, while most of my photos are taken by my digital camera and uploaded on Instagram or my VSCO grid or journal, I do most of my edits on Lightroom using my Macbook Pro. I don’t usually use VSCO filters as I create my own filters based on the colour schemes in Lightroom.

As to using the VSCO app for editing, I use it for minor adjustments before uploading to my Instagram or VSCO grid. The minor touch-ups will ensure that my photos look just right on the phone! 

Who are the photographers who have given you inspiration for your current style of photography?

There are a few!

The one-and-only Christopher Hainey from Chicago, the brothers Chris and Jonathan Schoonover from Brooklyn NY, Neil Bedford from UK who supplies photographs to Kinfolk, and finally, Gladys Soh from Singapore.

What is your motto that you live by as a photographer?

(Referring to my own photographs) “If you like it, it definitely sucks so badly that you have to change it.”

Tell us about an easiest shoot and a toughest shoot you have done before?

They are all tough, there’s not yet an easy one.

What is the most gratifying thing about working with each other?

We are both experts in our own ways, and this is good for us because we complement and fill in each other’s gaps.


Share a few favourite moments from working together!

I love making Gladys do things she doesn’t like and I can get a photo out of it. I tend to ‘bully’ her a lot and I’m not sorry about it!

How do you and Gladys motivate one another?  

We always come up with new concepts and share them with one another, because we see things differently and we open up each other’s eyes to different beautiful things.

In the face of conflicts, if any, what is the best way to resolve them?

To learn to put down our pride and see the real deal. 

If you could go back in time, is there anything you would change?  

I would go to photography school in NY.

Any tips for young aspiring photographers like yourself?  

Do not settle for less and always improve yourself! Never let an obstacle stop you from achieving your end goal.

Share a favourite quote!

Shut up and do it  -Mathieu Beth Tan (2015)

Her Story: Alexandra Lhermite-Schwass

Tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I was born in Australia, of Swedish-German parents, and grew up in Switzerland. Coming from an international background certainly sparked my passion for travelling. Also, my husband is from France and I met him while I lived in New York for a year after I finished my studies. I think “international” truly defines me! I have studied business management, and after obtaining my Master’s degree I gained solid experience as a Social Media Manager in the luxury industry. I currently work freelance, and dedicate my time to another passion of mine: photography. 

So, how many languages are you fluent in?

I speak English, French and Swedish. My German is a bit rusty, but I fully understand it. And I do understand Spanish rather well.

Where do you currently reside in?

I have been living in London since the end of 2013. I moved to the UK from Switzerland for my husband’s job, and it has been a wonderful adventure so far.

What do you love about this place?

London is such an inspiring city. There is always so much going on here – the opportunities for photography are endless. Also, I have met so many friendly and interesting persons from different horizons. Moving to London has been very fulfilling in terms of creativity and personal growth.

Any secret locations that you love to shoot in?

There is this very quiet residential neighbourhood just off Notting Hill Gate, which I love to shoot. It has about a hundred different pastel-coloured facades; it is pure eye candy!

What is something you cannot live without?

I cannot live without tea! I need my black tea in the morning, my green tea in the afternoon, and my night time tea before getting to bed.

What made you start photography while you were doing your Business Management degree in Switzerland?

I have always been drawn to beautiful images. As a teenager I would buy postcards of magnificent landscapes, store them in a box, take them out once in a while…and daydream. Later, when I was a university student and digital cameras started to appear, I read an article about Flickr and I signed up. Hence, I began to play around with a very basic camera. It was a lot of experimenting, and from then it has evolved into my passion.

What would you consider your style of photography?

I would describe my style as eclectic because I do not confine my pictures to one single theme. I love bright colours in photos, but I do not mind photographing something more neutral or darker from time to time. I am very much inspired by nature and love shooting landscapes, but I also do urban shots with elements of architecture. I love including people in my pictures and would love to do more proper portraits. I think all of this comes from my love for beautiful images and the desire to experiment with different styles.

What are your inspirations behind your photographs?

I am inspired by the people I meet, the places I visit, the details I observe… I find inspiration everyday, everywhere! I just love being able to capture forever a wonderful scene, a fleeting moment, a peculiar detail.  Many artists, photographers and filmmakers also inspire me. I fall in love all the time with images I see on Instagram or elsewhere.

Recently you have been experimenting with short videos on Instagram, would you ever consider producing a short documentary/film?

Yes, ever since Instagram launched the video feature, I have been experimenting with mini videos, and I enjoy it very much! I love the process of filming, editing the video and adding a soundtrack. I think there is a big difference between 15-second videos and a short documentary, but yes, it may be something I would do if I find an inspiring subject.

Alex, you seem to travel quite often, where are some of the countries you have been too?

Yes, travelling is my biggest passion along with photography. I have travelled quite a lot so far in 2015.

One of the highlights was discovering the beauty of the Faroe Islands. It is a remote and small country, with such extraordinary scenery. It is a very green land, with no trees, countless of waterfalls and hundreds of thousands cute Puffin birds. I absolutely loved spending a week there!

I also visited Scotland for the second time in 12 months. It was a great feeling to be back on the Isle of Skye, which has some of the most impressive and peaceful sights I have ever seen.

After spending time in green pastures up north, it was great to get a feeling of summer in Italy. I went on a road trip from Venice to Rome, stopping in Cinque Terre and Florence. Italy is such a charming country, and so visually pleasing. I really enjoyed photographing the washing lines strung outside windows with the laundry out to dry.

Also, I have taken pleasure in exploring places that are closer to where I live, such as going on road trips to Wales and Dorset in the UK. The landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful there.

This year, I also fulfilled one of my childhood dreams: to visit the Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France. It was magical!

Who embarks with you on your travel adventure?

I mostly travel with my husband and/or my family. I have family in Switzerland, Sweden, New York City, Berlin and Lyon so I get to visit these places regularly.

What is your current travel bucket list?

I want to go everywhere! But at the moment I seriously dream of visiting Canada and Iceland. And Mongolia, and Morocco, and Peru, and Portugal… Ah, so many places!

Would you rather be able to travel for the rest of your life and not do photography or be able to do photography and not travel?

Without hesitation, I would rather be able to travel for the rest of my life and not do photography. I would just keep photographing in my mind!

Do you have any travelling quirks that our readers do not know about?

I cannot remember how it started but when I was 15 I got struck with fear of flying, although I had been travelling extensively with my family since my youngest age. So now I tend to get anxious when I am on a plane. But I always force myself to do it otherwise I just would not go anywhere. Last year, I decided to face my fear one step further: after sitting in aisle seats ever since my fear first began, I found the courage to take a window seat and to keep my eyes open for takeoff. It felt amazing! I realised that the views from up in the air are breathtaking. Now I always make sure to book a window seat and I am learning to enjoy flying again, just like when I was a kid. And I have become that annoying person who takes pictures and videos during the whole flight!

If you were to be an animal for a day, what would you be?

I love dogs very much, but I would love to feel how it is to be a bird and fly.

Finish this sentence, "Hey I just met you... "

Will you please go stand there and let me take a picture of you?

Your current singer/band obsession?

Lately, I have been obsessively listening to ‘Kings of Convenience’, an indie-folk duo from Norway. Their music is so delicate and poetic. Unfortunately, they have not released anything new since 2009. I am also a big fan of Florence + The Machine.

Italy - Alexandra Lhermite-Schwass (copyright) (5).JPG

Currently, what equipment do you use to photograph?

As I became more familiar with the fundamentals of photography, I upgraded to a proper DSLR and felt my pictures became more qualitative. But then I discovered Instagram in 2012 and started shooting with my iPhone. Until May 2015, I had always kept my feed ‘iPhone only’ as I have come to realise that there are so many possibilities with the iPhone and all the apps available. It is interesting to observe how mobile photography has created a new generation of photographers. I find that shooting with the iPhone is less intimidating; it is just so easy to take out my iPhone from the handbag and quickly shoot anything that catches my eye. But photographing with an iPhone does have its limitations, for instance in terms of printing quality or depth of field. So, this year I decided to get back to shooting with a compact digital camera and got myself an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. I am so happy with the results I have been getting with this camera! I also had the pleasure to be invited by Olympus UK to a trip to Scotland to test different lenses for my camera. It was a wonderful experience!

What is your favorite editing software?

My favourite tools for editing are Snapseed and VSCO Cam. I have recently discovered that the iPhone’s native photo editing tools are excellent. I also find Instagram’s editing tools useful. The Retouch app comes in very handy when you want to get rid of a small detail in the picture.

How do you edit your photos?

The process is never the same; it really depends on the picture in general, the colours, the light… You have to play around with the different tools!

Any tips for our readers?

 ·     Pick a good username or your real name, but avoid numbers.

·       Polish your photos with the right apps.

·       Use a few relevant hashtags, but #do #not #overuse #hashtags.

·       Follow, comment, reply… Interact! Instagram is all about community.

·       Stay genuine.

Lastly to conclude, what can we expect from you in the near future?

One thing for sure: many more pictures!

His Story: Calvyn Dylin Justus

Tell us more about yourself?

Hello! My name is Calvyn Dylin Justus and I'm 19 years old. I was born in Benoni, Johannesburg on 14th December. I have 2 sisters, Cherisse and Kayleen. An interesting fact about myself would be that I have a brown belt in Karate.

My passion? Well to be completely honest I’m still trying to figure out who I am, therefore, my interests are constantly changing but I guess the most consistent things about me is my love for swimming and content creation!

What do you love about the place you reside in?

I’m currently living at home in Durban, South Africa. I love the beach lifestyle and laidback community although I don’t see myself living in this city forever.

Do you have any favorite location you love to film and photograph in?

Two of my favourite locations would be cities and forests. Cities definitely being my absolute favorite!

When you view yourself, what is something that you hope to change but probably would never happen?

I think I could be a lot better with time management, I always find myself running out of time. But hey, who has time for that anyway! Hahaha ;)

Share with us an awkward moment in your life that you have lived through to tell the tale?

In middle school, I was convinced I would get the part of Tin-man in The Wizard Of Oz production. Of course, I told my friends and teachers to watch me audition. However,  come the day of auditions and it was my chance to get up on stage in front of the class and sing a song, I completely froze and resorted to doing the robot off stage with tears in my eyes, definitely not my finest moment!

“I love art and I hope to one day reach a level where my work is some what considered as "art". How do you define this? 

I don’t think it’s for me to define but rather the audience that view my work and how they choose to interpret it and whether they would consider it as “art”, which I can only hope one day they do.

If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, who would that be and why? 

Kurt Cobain (lead singer and guitarist of the rock band Nirvana) when he was alive just because I think it’d be so interesting. 

Okay, moving on to your love for swimming. What made you decide to become a professional swimmer for your country?

I just want to achieve the goals I set out when I began the sport. 

Do your family and friends support you and have they attended all your meets?

Yes! I have huge support from friends and family, but they don't attend all my meets! I like just going by myself and then letting everyone know how I did after.

What are the sacrifices you have to make you successful in what you do?

You sacrifice a ton in the sport- late nights, parties, weekends, holidays and sometimes even college/university.

We understand that being an athlete requires you to have a strict diet so that you can be in your best form. What do you consume daily to maintain your healthy body weight? 

With swimming you can basically eat whatever you want and as much of it as you like due to all the training we do, obviously we try stay as healthy as possible but you’ll find me at MacDonalds or Burger King every now and then. 

If you could have any occupation in the world other than being a pro-athlete, what would you be?

Maybe a singer? But if you heard me sing you’d know why that’s never going to happen! 

What is your best stroke and how long did you take to master it?

Freestyle. I think I’m still learning, only the world record holder could say he/she has mastered a race. 

We understand that you train at Seagulls Swimming Club with coach Graham Hill. How is he like as a coach and has your team pulled a prank on him before?

He is one of the best in the world and by far the best in South Africa. To be honest, no one would dare pull a prank on him unless they feel like swimming butterfly with no rest for 2 hours!

Who are your role model(s) when it comes to swimming?

I look up to my team mates Chad Le Clos and Myles Brown as well as Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Cameron Mcevoy. I wouldn’t say I idolize any of them though; I just respect them as sportsmen.

We watched the entire swimming event during the London 2012 Olympics and one of the highlights of the competition was the swim that Chad Le Clos did! He was able to beat his idol, Michael Phelps.

Ever since then, the South African swim team has been performing really well at international meets. Do you think that win has kept a good morale in the team and motivates everyone to work even harder to excel?  

Yes definitely! I think it made the country realize that we’re just as good if not better than the rest of the world!

 Did you watch that race back in 2012? What were your thoughts then?

Of course! We knew Chad had a shot but obviously when it happened I was ecstatic, it still hasn’t sunk in! His win has motivated me and increased my determination in swimming!

Oh before we forget, congratulations on your medals for the Men’s 100m and 200m Freestyle relay at the 2014 Commonwealth Games! Was it very tough preparing for the competition?

The training was really tough, I really enjoyed the Commonwealth Games though, it was a huge moment in my life. Before meets, I train, train and train some more! Having Olympians on the team helps a lot in terms of advice and experience as well!

What is your go-to routine before each of your races (individual and the relays)?

I don’t really have a routine, I like to stay calm and chilled whilst not really thinking about the race too much.

When it boils down to the competition, do you enjoy positive rivalries with your opponents and teammates?

I love the pressure and atmosphere of a big race, at the end of the day its supposed to be fun so I try not take it too seriously and focus more on enjoying it.

Could you shed some light on your experience at the Games and the athletes’ village? Also, have you forged any new friendship(s) with athletes from various countries? Who are they and how are they like?

During competition its fairly normal, everyone just rests and eats but when it’s over, well It’s as crazy and wild as you’d imagine it to be! What happens in the village stays in the village ;).

As for new friendships, I probably have a swimming friend in each country! I’ve met and competed against almost all the best swimmers and have gotten to know a couple quite well but I’d definitely say my team mates from South Africa are my best friends.

While you were at training camps, you must have been hanging out with your teammates quite a fair bit, who do you normally chill/swim with?

I was rooming with my teammate Myles Brown majority of the travels this year and also Kevin Paul and Chad, I also room with Clayton Jimmie often. We all hang out though; everyone on the team is my friends.

Caspar Lee was one of your inspirations for the creation of your YouTube channel back in 2013. What did he do then that inspire you? Do you have other Youtubers that you watch religiously?

I just loved the idea of being able to connect with people throughout the world, I also loved the idea of being able to entertain millions of people at the same time and Caspar did all these things.

Of course, they would be Casey Neistat, Jacksgap, Will Darbyshire and Tim Kellner. 

Could you share with us the story on how you ended up collaborating with Caspar Lee?

Our version of “Spring Break” held a competition to stay with Caspar and feature on his channel, the requirement would be to create a video about the festival. I won and stayed with Caspar for a week, the video and everything involved was all up to him as it was for his channel!

Do you think there would be a collaboration with him soon?

Yea I’d definitely love to, It’s a bit tough with him living in London and me in Durban so we haven’t seen each other since then but we keep in touch, he’s a great guy.

Why did you decide to change your style of filmmaking in 2013?

I just felt like it wasn’t me and that I wasn’t being true to myself so I decided to ditch the style I had and try create a style that best represented me and that I loved creating and I’m still busy with that process but I’m definitely enjoying my content as of late a lot more! Right now I’m in my experimenting phase and trying out what ever comes to my mind.

It is pretty cool how you incorporate your passion for swimming in your filmmaking, why did you decide there is a need to create such films?

I just create films of stuff I want to share with the world or ideas and thoughts I want to express, I felt like I could make some pretty relatable swimming videos being a swimmer so I thought “why not” – I enjoy making them as well. 

For the film, I thought of all the funny things swimmers do and how it would be an interesting video for people outside the sport to watch. It would almost be like a behind-the-scenes of some sort, so I got some friends together and wrote down all the stuff we think swimmers do that they could also relate to.

We loved your film “Solivigant”! It showcases a different type of film not normally seen on channel.  Why did you want to create such an abstract film? Could you talk us through your creative process on this film?

I was inspired by a film called “Sunday” by Will Darbyshire and absolutely loved it; it’s still probably my favorite video. I wanted to create something like that of my own and add my own style and ideas and so “Solivagant” was created.

What equipment do you use to shoot and film?

Canon G7X and iPhone 5s.

Why did you decide to improve your photography skills and how do you capture your beautiful images?

I just discovered a passion for photography and put more effort into capturing photos I thought would be interesting to see.

Also, I guess practice and taking photos of everything you think looks “cool”. I can sometimes take up to 100 photos in a day and only like 1 or 2.

What do you want to convey through your photographs?

I would love for people to see them and feel as intrigued and fascinated as I feel when I see a great photo.

Among your Instagram feed, which photograph is your favourite and why so?

It will be this one of myself standing in front of the 2010 Soccer World Cup stadium in my city: Durban.

Do you have any Instagram accounts that you look up too?

Tons! Here are some of my favorites: @ameliamiya, @bernaleeviljoen, @minimal_people, @bydavina, @artofvisuals, @samalive, @catherinekhom and 100s more!!

In terms of your creative outlets (YouTube channel and photography), what are your future goals?

I’m still so new to both fields. I feel like my goals at the moment are just to grow and improve as much as I can! 

What are you looking to accomplish with your swimming career especially since next year is Rio 2016?

Qualifying for the Olympics is my number one goal, after that well we will see, but right now that’s my sole focus.

His Story: Andrea Dal Soglio

Tell us a little bit more about yourself. We are really curious about your name, Andrea (Normally, the name Andrea is common for ladies and Andre for men).

I’m 23, and I come from Milan, North Italy. My nickname comes from the band Slipknot. I work for A&F, I used to model for them for two campaigns in California, and this helped me to meet good people and grow to be more open with them and new experiences. My passion for photography started 3 years ago, when I bought my first and my current DSLR camera for my trip to Thailand in 2012. It was an amazing experience, and since then I bring my camera and my passion in every single trip I go.

Well, my name is actually used for girls in Germany or in north of Europe, but here in Italy it’s very common for guys too. I really thank my parents for choosing this name, I love it. Andrea comes from “andréia” that means strength and courage, a valiant warrior. I think is a cool name, simple, short and understandable in every country.

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What makes you love Slipknot so much that you decided to use it as your username for both YouTube and Instagram?

When I was around fifteen, Slipknot was my favorite band. I was a skater boy at that age and I used to listen to heavy metal or any heavy music, you know it’s the mood when you’re a kid. Anyway I just mixed my name with the band and there you have it. Then I never changed, I think out of laziness. My favourite songs are Duality and Wait and Bleed.

What makes you special?

Answering this question is not easy. I think I’m humble, I always try to do my best in what I like and I appreciate every little thing. I don’t need big things to be happy.

Why do you love Milan, Italy?

I actually don't like Milan. I used to be there so much that I’m almost going to hate it. It’s too chaotic, too busy and in summer it’s definitely too hot. But I think it’s a great city for tourists, full of history and things to do. Sometimes I wish to see it like a visitor, like I’ve never seen it before. For visitors, I suggest taking a 24 hours ticket of the metro and checking out every single little corner to find patterns or cool spots to shoot.

Where are you currently studying in and what do you study?

I’m studying Architecture at Politecnico of Milano, hopefully graduating this summer.

What and how has majoring in architecture and design has impacted your perspective of the world?

Studying “environmental architecture” made me love nature more, and also gave me a different way to see everyday things compared to the world and the environment. It also gave me the ability to compose images in my mind; images of everything: a building, a room, a photograph… I learned also how to use photographic memory. For example, a funny thing is when I study, I hardly remember what I wrote, but I remember perfectly the layout and the disposition of the photos.

How important is the innovative mind when it comes to being an architect student?

It’s the most important thing, but you need also to be able to take ideas from others’ project, mix them with your idea to recreate something new. Everyone needs a starting point.

What’s a building in Milan that captures you?

Since I love modern buildings and nature, I like the new “Bosco Verticale”, a perfect example of nature mixed with a social house.

What challenges do you face in your life?

My main challenge now is to stand out from the crowd in the field of photography.

We see that you are a very active person; playing basketball, skateboarding and snowboarding. Which is your favourite?

I played basketball for 10 years, since I was a kid. I quit in 2012 because I was too busy with my university, so I’ve started to work out to keep myself fit. Honestly I really like skateboarding but here in Italy it’s not easy to do it, so I prefer spending days on mountains during the winter season, shredding the slopes. I hate soccer.

Any hippie locations that you love to shoot in?

Skate park in Lambro park, you have graffiti but also nature, nice for blurry (bokeh) backgrounds.

How did purchasing your first and current DSLR, for a trip to Thailand in 2012, stir your passion for photography?

Buying my first camera was a big step for me; it brought me to where I am now, having hard disks full of photos taken by me, pretty insane. I was a noob actually in Thailand, I knew few things about my camera but that trip was really important because I learned how to better use my camera in different situations.

Did you encounter any awkward/funny situations in Thailand?

A funny moment? Well there was once I was swimming in the ocean with my camera in a plastic bag to get to an island. In that moment I thought I was losing my baby haha.

What do you love about photography?

The photographs remain forever and you’re the God that decides what to include in your little world (photo). I want to make photography my main job, not just a hobby.

What would you consider your style of photography to be?

My style is my style. Lately, I’m really loving street photography, but I also like lifestyle and minimal shots and mixing landscapes.

Why not stick to a single style/theme?

I guess changing from style to style makes you more interesting and able to shot in different situations. It makes you versatile. But I try to keep colors and edit almost the same.

Which model is the DSLR you’re currently using?

Currently I shoot with a Canon 6D, but I have also a Canon 600D. I’m always on Manual mode, but I like AV too.

Do you use your iPhone to shoot too?

Mmm not really, like never.

Tell us about a moment that you wished you captured on camera, but missed the opportunity to. 

After my graduation I was having late barbecue on a lake with friends, and there was a sky full of stars above me. Unfortunately, I left my camera at home.

How do you think dabbling in this form of art (photography) has influenced you as a person?

Photography and art in general made me a better person. It helps to have feelings and emotions in front of everything, it helps me not to be superficial.

Do you have any favourite Instagrammers you follow? We love a good feed.

Of course, everyone needs to copy. I follow: spencercotton, desillusion, finn, msalisbu, jayscale, samevanslife

How did you get casted to be an A&F model?

I was actually hanging in the store, buying few clothes, when a manager approached me asking if I would take part in the family, and I said yes, why not? I never thought I’d become so “important” for them.

What was the experience like?

Well, being an Abercrombie model is pretty different from being a real model, they are two different worlds. I honestly don’t like the fashion industry, but A&F has been like a big family for me. Being an A&F model includes the opportunity to travel the world for opening stores and doing campaigns, and the best thing is that you get to always meet amazing people.

What do you love about modeling with A&F?

Well, modeling for A&F just in the store is pretty boring, but I’d always worked with the idea of travelling or a doing campaign, and fortunately I got 2 campaigns in Santa Barbara for their Back To School collection in 2011 and 2014, and 3 overseas trips on top of that. This is the main reason why I love to work in that store. Now things are changing - they removed the greeters so it’s becoming like a normal store, with no more big openings like few years ago.

What one article of clothing from A&F that you have worn the most?

Jeans, without a doubt.

You are the brand representative when Abercrombie decides to open new stores across the world. What are some of the cities you have visited?

I did two big openings in Asia, one in Seoul (October 2013) and the second one in Shanghai (April 2014). Both of them were amazing, big crew, lot of fun and great memories.

Do you think we will ever see you walking for the International Men's Fashion Week?

No, I don’t think so.

When you are travelling, are there any locations you look out for when you photograph?

I always look for the most breathtaking landscape.

We saw the film you did while you were in Shanghai. What makes you love Shanghai so much? Do you always bring your penny board with you when you travel?

I love big cities, not to live in, but to travel and explore with my skateboard. Shanghai was definitely very big haha, lot of lights, people, big buildings, a city full of cool spots. Also I love to shoot and live the nightlife in big cities, and the experience I had cruising during night in Shanghai was one of the best in my life. I still feel the vibes when I watch my video.

I actually bought the Penny in Shanghai, and I left it there cause I hadn't enough space in my luggage...dang. But I have a small board now, so I can always bring it with me.

What other items do you bring with you when you travel?

My GoPro, DSLR camera, hat and Vans. I’m never without them. ;)

Why did you decide to film your experiences in Shanghai?

I decided with a friend, Douglas Parker, a guy from England that I met in Seoul. My passion for filming grew after that trip. He’s a filmmaker, so we were both down to do an “aftermovie” trip, and we did it out of the same passion for skateboards.

Do you plan on exploring more of China or would you prefer to travel to other parts of the Asia-Pacific?

Of course, I love Asia. I’m planning to visit Bali in September!

What can we expect from you in the near future?

More amazing and cool photography. :)

Her Story: Sara Brull

Tell us more about yourself?  

Hi!! My name is Sara, known as @sarenabee. I am the youngest of three, originally born in Connecticut. I’ve lived in a few different states growing up, but spent most of my life in Florida. I went to college in Jacksonville, and earned a degree in Graphic Design and Digital Media. I studied abroad twice during my time in college, once in Rome, Italy and then in Dublin, Ireland. If you have the opportunity to do this, I HIGHLY SUGGEST IT! 

Traveling sparked my interest and love for Europe. Directly after graduation, I knew my fascination with traveling was not over, so I applied for a visa and moved to Ireland this year. I am currently living with my boyfriend, who also moved here. I will be here for at least another year, before I figure out the next chapter(s) in my life.

Do you have any interesting facts that people are not aware about?

My real name is Sarena, but I go by Sara. I’m honestly not sure why anymore; it just stuck when I was a baby. I think it’s a little too late to be called a different name now, but that’s where my Instagram username came from. 

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? 

I would have to say my parents. They’ve never told me “no” and have always encouraged me to chase my dreams. I started traveling so much, because of them.

Currently, where do you reside in and what do you love about it?  

Right now I’m in Dublin, Ireland.

I love living in a city. Dublin is small enough to feel like a home, but big enough to feel like a city. There is always something going on here, which is one of my favorite parts. It’s also amazing in the year that I’ve lived here, I’ve seen about 20 different friends and family members. I guess Dublin is a popular destination! 

Since you are living in Dublin, are there any places to visit?

There are so many amazing places; you can get lost looking at all of the street art in Dublin. Outside of Dublin, I love Belfast. There you can stop at The Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Both of these have stunning views of the coast, and you get a taste of some huge Irish cliffs. Of course The Cliffs of Moher are fabulous. Another one of my favorite locations is Cobh. The buildings are all colorful and there’s some Titanic history to learn.

Do you have any suggestions on good café or restaurants?

One of my favorite places right now is the Church Bar, on Jervis Street. It used to be an old church, so you can still see the original artworks and the pipe organ. The Blind Pig is a local speakeasy, which is super fun, yummy drinks and food. The atmosphere is great! You can also find me sipping on tea at Clement and Pekoe, a trendy little shop in the city center.

Where do you love to shoot in Dublin?

One of my favorite local spots is the Howth Summit. The view is killer! It’s a small fishing village, with a super cute weekend market, and not to mention, great fish and chips.

What is a typical day like for you?

Right now I work from home for a company in California, so my schedule is very flexible. I have plenty of time to go out and meet new people in the community and take some time to photograph around the city.

If you were a city, which city would you choose?

I honestly cannot choose just one! At this point in time, I am a HUGE fan of Amsterdam. My boyfriend is Dutch, so I spent plenty of time there. It was great to see the city and everyday life as a local, instead of a tourist. I love the canals, tulips, windmills, and everything Dutch. The feeling of old architecture, mixed with such a modern lifestyle, makes it one of my favorite places on earth.

Have you ever put something unusual in the refrigerator?

This one made me laugh out loud. I have put my roommate’s socks, shoes, and car keys in the refrigerator.

If you could invite four famous people to dinner, who would you choose and why?

I would invite Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, and Jimmy Stewart to dinner. I really enjoy old classic movies; these people are some of my favorite icons. I think that I would have to host a murder mystery dinner. It would be so entertaining. 

You have mention that you have travelled to 15 countries, where are some of the countries you have been to? 

I’ve obviously been to The United States but I’ve also been to Australia, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Wales, Monaco and The United Kingdom. I plan to continue my travels, so if anyone suggests somewhere else, I’m all-ears.

Why do you love to travel?

I love the thought of being completely immersed in new cultures. I love to see the way the world lives. It’s so inspiring. This year I hope to visit Romania and Hungary, because of my parents. I also want to see Iceland one day.

Who do you travel with?

It really depends on the adventure sometimes family and friends, sometimes my boyfriend, sometimes alone. One of my travel partners is my cousin, Kim, and another is one of my best friends, Brooke. I can call either one of them up and they’re at my door with their luggage 15 minutes later. 


What is in your luggage like when you travel?  

Oh my gosh, I am not a light packer. I admire anyone who can go backpacking! I tend to over pack, I think mostly because I’m a last minute kind of person and don’t know what I’ll need. I’ve learned to just wing it.  

Do you bring any particular items?

I cannot travel without my iPhone, because that’s where I do most of my photography. I’ve started to use my DSLR lately, but everything I post is always an iPhone shot. Also, I always bring about 3 different charging batteries because it’s impossible to find an unused outlet at the airport. Oh, and a conversion travel plug.

We would think that there are some funny/awkward moments while you travel, are there any interesting stories to share while you live abroad?

I had a funny/awkward moment while I was on the subway in New York. I was editing a photo, so that I could post it when I got service later, when all the sudden I feel a tap on my shoulder. A young girl said, “I know this might be weird, but are you @sarenabee on Instagram? I follow you.” At first, I was so caught off guard. It was unbelievably awkward. We laughed it off, and come to find out, a few months earlier I remember responding to her comments about where to visit in New York. It’s a really small world.

We noticed that you have received an invitation to the White House. How was the experience like? 

Yes, I was one of 20 people chosen to visit The White House. I guess there were a few thousand people that signed up! I was so honored! Unfortunately, my flight was delayed from Dublin, until the next day. By that time, I would be flying into Washington DC a few hours after the Instameet. :(

What would you call your style of photography?

I really am not sure. I suppose I would call it ‘travel/lifestyle’ photography. About 99% of my photos are taken on my iPhone, which would make it ‘mobile travel/lifestyle’ photography? I dusted off my DSLR about a month ago, and now I’m experimenting with stop motion. I’ll be uploading them to Vimeo in the near future.

What is your inspiration behind your photography?

I think my inspiration changes every month. I get so set on someone’s style and learn a lot about it, and then try to incorporate a piece of the style into my own photos. One of my favorite tools is the explore button in Instagram, because I’m constantly running across new accounts and finding new people to follow and talk to. This world is full of amazing talent.

Why do you love to photograph?

I love photography because it’s given me a sense of community. It’s a place that never sleeps. I can be posting at midnight my time, but get responses from people that see my images in the middle of their afternoon. I’ve been able to connect with so many various photographers around the globe, as well as keep friendships with these inspiring people along the way. I feel like I’m constantly learning and trying to improve. It’s really challenged me to capture all the moments in my life, and is a way to help others get to view different places in the world that I’ve been so lucky to travel to. With the help of Instagram and Steller, it encourages me to hold a visual diary.

How do you want to express your images to your audience? 

I mostly share my photos for people that haven’t traveled as much. Or that are looking for places to explore. When it comes to captions though, that’s a struggle for me. I can’t quite figure out the correct words to make a photo look as pretty in words as it does in a photograph.

What equipment do you use to shoot your beautiful photographs?

I mainly use my iPhone 6, however I do own several Nikons. I was a mobile ambassador in 2013 for Polaroid Fotobar, so I absolutely love all of my Polaroid cameras! I always keep an Olloclip on me and a Gorillapod, too. Just in case.

When did you started posting photo on Instagram?

I started posted on July 4, 2011! I downloaded the app before it was a social media platform. My first photo was of a candle. It was so random!

Have you met anyone interesting on Instagram?

I meet new people all the time. In Jacksonville, I have a solid group of people that I chat with almost everyday. We are referred to as #ThatJaxCrew. These guys are where Instagram started becoming an everyday thing for me, way more than just an app. If I ever have a question or just want to tell a joke for that matter, they’re the guys I look to first. So much talent! After I moved to Dublin, I rounded up some fellow Irish friends and have hosted an InstaMeet. There will be more on the way!

How has Instagram allow you to take on more photography projects?

Yes! I’ve had companies reach out to me and people writing articles on me. It’s crazy, like how did you even find me?

Do you have any upcoming photography projects that you can share with us?

I do have some upcoming projects in the works. As of right now, they’re in the beginning stages. To find more, you can follow my feed!

Lastly, what can we expect from you in the future?

More adventures! And lots of photos.

His Story: David Thomsson

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She's an amazingly talented lady with a passion for both the visual arts as well as performing arts. 🎨💃 Also, since London has a great art scene, she discloses her favourite shooting locations and places to visit! 😁✈️ Read more about her in our article! Link in our bio 👆
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His Story: Adrian Seetho

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He enjoys capturing crucial and precious moments of the athletes and was able to be part of the photography team during the 28th SEA Games held in Singapore last month. 🏊💪
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"I believe with each adventure, you give a little part of yourself away, but you also acquire bits and pieces of the world around you."

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His Story: Christopher Grant

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Her Story: Gene Png

Tell us a little bit more about yourself?

My name is Gene and I’m a 20 years old undergraduate. I’ll be starting school at Yonsei University this fall. I love creating things, which is why I take photographs. I also love collecting vinyl records and museum hopping.

Film Camera // Leica Minilux 

Film Camera // Leica Minilux 

What do you love about the country you live in?

I live in Singapore. I love it because it’s a tiny country but there’s plenty of local talent for you to discover if you make the effort to do so.

Are there any particular locations you love to shoot in?

I can shoot anywhere. No specific location, but I do like shooting near where my subjects live. I think it makes it very personal.

What is your motivation in life?

The goal of becoming a better artist motivates me. Also, my mother.

What challenge do you face in your life?

Feeling inadequate is my greatest challenge and greatest motivation. The works of others always humbles me, and it makes me strive to create better things that can move people.

Do you have any countries in the world where you would love to someday reside in?

I’d love to live in Japan for a little while. I went to Japan on my own recently and fell in love with it. Did not have the chance to explore some places that I’d originally planned to visit, so I’d like to go back. Also, I am a huge fan of Japanese photographers; it would be a good opportunity for me to learn.

Share with us about your experience over in Japan.

I loved Japan. The only Japanese I spoke was the word ‘すみません’ (sumimasen) but that was enough to get me around because the people went out of their way to help me. I don’t have a particular story. One pretty funny incident was when I was in Shimokitazawa. I was searching for my camera in my bag and did not realize a cutie looking at me. When I looked up, I thought I’d gone to heaven. HAHA! He’s the best-looking boy I’ve ever seen. I must’ve looked like such a dork.

You have mentioned earlier that your hobby includes collecting vinyl records. Music must have played an important role in your life. How has music inspire you in your photography?

YES! In a huge way! I got into music at a very young age and I have always loved watching music videos (probably was too young to watch MTV). The different concepts and vibrancy of music videos are something that I’ve always been inspired by. Music always puts imagery in my head and I’ll try to recreate that in my photographs.

What would you classify your style of photography?

I am not sure if I have found my style yet. It’s still too early to say. However, I can say that I am drawn to simplicity.

As a photographer, tell us about a story about a moment that really captures you?

I shot with my friend, Amos, the other day, and when I showed him the photographs, he told me that he’d never seen his natural state as beauty until then. That really touched me.

How do you select your subjects for your photo-shoot? 

I am quite selective with the people I shoot. I have to be comfortable with them, and we have to be able to connect emotionally and artistically. These people are usually my closest friends and they are also my greatest inspirations.

Film Camera // Leica Minilux 

Film Camera // Leica Minilux 

What is your motto that you live by as a photographer?

You can only show what you know.

We understand that you are a film photographer, what equipment do you use to capture all your beautiful images?

I have a few film cameras that I use but recently I have been using my Leica Minilux a lot.

Why do you love to shoot in film and particularly the 35mm?

I like how you have to put effort into making pictures when you’re using a film camera. 35mm’s a good format because I cannot afford 120 films (True life of a girl with student loans)

Do you edit your film photographs?

I don’t edit my film photos!

Are you planning to try any other mediums in photography?

I don’t have plans to, but given the opportunity, I would!

Film Camera // Leica Minilux 

Film Camera // Leica Minilux 

Now moving on to Instagram, what is your new account - @pngprints all about?

I started printing my photographs and selling them in the store where I work. They were selling pretty well, so I thought having a separate account solely for my film photographs would make it easier for people to see my work without the distraction of 100 food pictures and silly selcas (selfies).

Do you plan to keep a theme going?

My personal instagram feed is a mess. I’m trying to keep @pngprints nice and neat. Knowing me, it will be tough to do. Also, like I mentioned, I haven’t found my personal style yet. I’m hoping that watching my feed grow can help me figure that out.

How do you think Instagram has allowed you to connect with your audience?

It’s a great platform that’s very easy to use. I try to incorporate bits of my daily life into my captions so hopefully; people can get to know me better.


Are there any new concepts that you are planning to venture into?

Recently I’ve been putting in more effort into styling my subjects. So, maybe fashion?

Lastly to end of the interview, what can we expect from you in the near future?

Random, but I might be doing a little acting for a short film. Also, expect more photographs!