It’s not every day that you get a call from technology giant Apple to take part in their latest campaign, but that’s exactly what happened to Singaporean photographer Mathieu Beth Tan. “I love doing night photography and I was very excited when I was approached to participate in this campaign,” Tan quipped. The result is the beautifully captured portrait above that plays on the notions of light and dark. Read on to see what inspired Tan and find out his favourite thing about working on the shoot.
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HBS: What was the starting point for your photograph?
MBT: I wanted to create something really bright in the dark. Something that shines and catches the eye. I also always had a thing for fireworks and sparklers. I decided that I could use these firework candles to light up a face. This would make the person looking at the photo to focus on the details of the subject’s face and the sparks from the candle. This would also allow some part of the subject’s face to be focused on (e.g. eyes, nose, light) while the other features are hidden (e.g. ears and hair).
This photograph was taken with the iPhone 7 plus native camera and edited on the native app.3.
HBS: How did you settle on this photo?
MBT: Out of all the photographs I took for this project, this series was one of my favourites and I was happy that it was selected.
HBS: What do you like about working with a mobile phone camera?
MBT: I love that my iPhone 7 Plus is compact, light and easy to function. Take your phone out of your pocket and snap. Simple. DSLRs are heavy and bulky, they tend to weigh you down if you’re out for long. The low light function works very well an I’m very impressed by new features such as 2x optical zoom and Portrait mode.
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HBS: What are the drawbacks?
MBT: Compared to DSLRs, there is still room for improvement in capturing superfine details and there can still be noise when it’s very dark. However, it’s really how you handle your photographs and your camera. You need to know what your iPhone can and cannot do for you. Work with that and you’ll achieve a great shot!
HBS: What is your favourite function of the iPhone 7 Plus’ camera?
MBT: I like the added optical image stabilization feature. Really important if you want to do night photography. Also the ability for the iPhone 7 to capture more light with the f/1.8 aperture.
HBS: Who are the photographers you’re following on Instagram now?
MBT: Some of my biggest inspirations on Instagram are Christopher Hainey from Chicago (@chriscreature), Chris Schoonover from New York (@cschoonover) and Gladys Soh from Singapore (@gladyssoh). All of them are conceptual photographers.
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HBS: What’s next for you? Any exciting projects coming up?
MBT: I would love to think that every day is a new project when you bring your camera out for a walk. Inspirations would come and I hope to make something out of nothing, and I’m always on the look-out for more exciting and interesting things to do!