Founder, MLC Productions
1. Being an entrepreneur has been at the tip of the nation’s tongue in the past couple of years. What made you decide to come out on your own in 2010 and what’s the one experience you would like to share with others who are striving to do the same?
Well, back in the end of 2009, I was in-between projects in Southern Star, I felt the need to shake up my life a little. I felt I was getting a little too lazy and complacent. Don’t get me wrong, Southern Star is a great company to work in and I had a great time there. I guess I reached a point in life whereby I needed something to call my own, I needed a new challenge, something that could hold my short attention span. So one thing led to another and MLC was started. I guess the one thing which I learnt from running this business is (that) money isn’t everything: when you start a business, your product is everything. So focus all your attention on your product and money/clients would come by as a result.
2. You’re constantly working with new and various teams of people put together either by you or your clients. Afiq Omar worked with you as the assigned photographer for The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi’s Event. How important is it to form the right team before starting a project? What happens if the best person or people you have in mind for the job can’t take on the project?
It is essential to work with the right people. Different photographers and camera operators have different strengths, as a production company it is important for us to know what each individual crew’s strengths are and designate the right jobs to the right people. Well, if the person is not available, then we would have to call on our second choice.
3. There’s less wonder when a videographer picks up and starts shooting with a 35mm camera but conveying different images and mood by that same person switching between mediums, that’s art. How do you know when to use what? Have there been times when you wished you had captured a video on photo instead?
Both mediums have their strengths, a well taken photo can just be as effective as any video, they are both different mediums but yet employ very similar skill sets to capture the right moments. When I’m not working I don’t necessarily choose whether to shoot photos or videos, I just go with the moment. This choice is a lot easier now over the last 2 years with DSLRs from all the big brands that have great video shooting capabilities. and in 2013 onwards we will start seeing video cameras that can shoot videos with 4k – 6k resolution. So essentially we can make screen grabs from those video footage and use them for print.
4. Through this latest showcase of street photographs and portraits, you and Afiq have captured an essence of another culture that some are only fleetingly familiar with. What would define a street photograph or portrait of Singapore for you?
Singapore’s really diverse, I guess a good Singapore portrait would show that diversity but in a contrasting manner. For example, contrast between old and new, rich and poor, the difference races that live here. As for a good street Singapore photograph, anything goes I guess, you just have to be at the right moment at the right time.
5. I don’t think “street videography” could work as well as an artistic genre and concept but someone could prove me wrong. Any thoughts or feelings about working with this idea?
I don’t think there is a genre called street videography. but people have been doing similar things since video started in the form of indie documentaries, mood travel videos, street time lapses etc. you can find a whole lot of them on vimeo.
6. A good portion of your work are in music and fashion, frequently associated with club culture, and not easily recognisable in these photographs. What inspires you?
Everything inspires me, I feel a lot of people spend their lives waiting for inspiration to land on their lap, but that doesn’t happen all the time. Inspiration is found, not given and its everywhere!
7. We’re launching the third edition of our daily menu along with your showcase. Is there any dish you hope will stay on the menu? With whom do you find yourself enjoying a meal or who would you want to have a meal with?
I haven’t had a chance to taste the (whole) menu yet! But I must say so far your soups are just fantastic, every time I step into the store, I’ll make sure I order some soup cos it warms my heart and belly. I would bring my parents there next time *hah*
A video specially commissioned by Martin and in collaboration with the launch of our new daily menu this January 2013. Enjoy!