LEBIN TEO http://www.facebook.com/lebin.photo
2011 - ‘People Favorite Photo Awards’ by WGIJB group. 2012 - ‘Best photo of the day’ by Canon Malaysia (4 photos) Where in Malaysia are you from? I am from the southern city of Peninsula Malaysia, Johor Bahru. How did you first get into photography? I have always loved taking photos since I was young. Every time I get a chance, I will try to use my parents’ cameras – both film and digital. I still remember my dad’s first digital camera was a square-ish Kodak Camera which cost about RM5000 at that time. I was so excited about it and was totally amazed with the ‘Erase’ function. When I attended my university foundation program, I met a few photo buddies, Yi Ping and Kai Liang. Back then, neither of them were experts in DSLR photography and I was still using a small Canon ISUS Compact camera. After getting along with them for a while, they slowly and patiently taught me about the basics of photography. And there was no more auto-mode for me after that. In the end of 2011, my ‘more professional’ photography career began when a family friend gave me a surprise and bought me a DSLR as a gift. Why street photography? It is all about dynamics on the street. It changes every single second. When you miss a moment, you can never make it up or get the person to pose for you again. And, street photography normally also means that I have no control over the environment, only experience and practice will make the photographer a better one. Everything is spontaneous, therefore only people who are quick observers will get the chance to capture good shots. What are the most interesting aspects of Melbourne for a street photographer? Melbourne, especially the CBD, is a very active and friendly community. Events are happening almost every two or three days, and street artists are performing every day. Also, Melbourne has unpredictable weather. These changes actually make street photography interesting so you would want to keep shooting and find unique scenes around the city. Moreover, every inner suburb of Melbourne also has its own style. Some are more like a relaxing place and some have a hipster style. All these little characteristics are what develop into a photo.
How do you find taking street photos in Melbourne different from in Malaysia? In Malaysia, specifically in JB, people are more afraid of the camera, so I tend to use a longer lens (around 50mm on Crop camera) to capture people. While in Melbourne, I like to use shorter focal length to shoot on street. One of the reasons would be the spaces in Melbourne are always interesting. It makes a photograph look richer with content. Apart from street photography, do you do other photography styles? I like to challenge everything. I am trying every part of photography but not HDR. Apart of street photography, I like doing photojournalism which is quite similar, event photography, and also wedding photography. These are the few styles that I have tried and liked. I hope to explore more in the future. What do you use to take your street images? A basic DSLR EOS 1000D, with any lens but no longer than 85mm (on Crop ) in general. My DSLR is very manual and requires fine tune control. And its response is faster than any phone camera or compact camera. I need a camera that responds as quick as possible so that I will not miss the moment that I saw. Most of the time, I like to use a 28mm lens because it is small and fits into my bag well, but sometimes I use an ultra-wide angle lens. Ultra wide angle lenses give you most depth of field, giving viewers the feeling of ‘being in the scene’. But I also use a film camera to take street photos. Film is very fun. It gives me a better idea about photography and trains me to be a better photographer. For film, I used Praktica TL1000 with a 50mm lens. I hope to get a 35mm lens, but I am still saving for that. Any tips for people who want to try street photography for themselves? Stop talking and start shooting. Just do it. Nothing can stop you from taking street photographs, except yourself. You need not plan with anyone, or plan with the weather, because any weather is good for street photography. And spend less time in post-production. Look at others’ photos to get inspiration but retain your own style.
Culture and Art
The second official issue of JOM Magazine. JOM is the first and only Malaysian community magazine in Australia.