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Portrait Series : Fuad Alhabshi

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Senior Analyst by day, rockstar by night, Fuad Alhabshi leads a 5 man strong rag-tag outfit that goes by the name of Kyoto Protocol.

When I was assigned to shoot this, I needed a story and a concept. I didn’t want to do a typical guitarist rockstar look kind of shoot. I wanted something different. As I got to know Fuad, I found out that he works in an office like everybody else. So I use that as a base point. I wanted to show the world that side of him but how? After weeks of brainstorming, I got the idea of using the whole Superman Concept. Clark Kent, journalist by day, superhero by night. Everyone knows Superman as the Man Of Steel but no one knows he’s real identity.

I started researching about Superman on the net trying to look for ideas and concept. Then when I got all the ideas I started drawing out my story board. When you looked through this album, you need to start from first picture till the end. Because the way I shot this is like a story. How he transition from working in the office into a rockstar.

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For the first set of photographs, I got the idea of stock photographs from the internet. Typical office stock photos where everyone is happy, pointing at the board, discussing about work, perfect lighting that kind of vibe. But again, I used that as a benchmark and then start putting my own ideas into it. The next important is working with your model. Your model needs to know your vision, what you want and what the mood of the shoot is going to be like. Talk to your model, make them laugh & make them comfortable. If you need them to look stupid then tell them. If you want them crying then tell them. Working with a model who is very sporting and follows instruction very well is also good. Make him or her believe in your vision.

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Superman is famous for the whole pulling his shirt and having the S symbol photograph. So I wanted to recreate that. Heres the finish product.

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They are times that Clark Kent uses the phone booth to change into he’s costume so I wanted to do that as well. But in Malaysia, our phone booth do not have a doors, but that didn’t stop from making him strip in public. Again, working with Fuad was a breeze. I asked him if he didn’t mind taking he’s clothe off, and he was more than happy too! Again make him or her believe in your vision.

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The whole Idea for the last set of photographs is to filled an alley with guitars and amps. I got Fuad to bring he’s guitars and my colleague to get some amps for props. The last set of photographs turned out great. I told Fuad to just go all out with the guitar and be himself.

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One of my most memorable shoots I’ve done. The team I worked with was great! All you need is ideas and concept. Once you have that, see how you can execute them.

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Leica M9 X Nizam Lee

Camera : Leica M9

Lens : Leica 28 f2.8 Elmarit IV

Process with Adobe Lightroom 5

A lot of my friend always asked me this question. Is it worth spending money on a Leica? Yes you pay for the name but compared to image quality and usability. You have so many cameras nowadays in the market that can beat the Leica flat! So here are my opinion since I got to use the Leica M9. This isn’t a review by the way. I would also like to thank my good friend Suwen for lending me the Leica M9. Makes me want to get one for myself!

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For this shoot, I was assign to photograph Nizam Lee, one of the best skateboarder in the whole of Malaysia. This time, I didn’t want to take my Canon 5D MKIII with me. I wanted to challenge myself to be able to capture the moment without having to burst on the shutter button. Armed with the Leica M9, I was able to capture gold moments without having to take multiple photographs.

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For this shoot, I used a 28mm lens. Just nice, not too wide, not too shallow. I’ve seen some skateboarding photographs before which consist of low angle, fish eye, etc. I wanted to try something new by using the background, lines, shape, and architecture. What I’ll do first is frame the background. Then I will ask Nizam to do a trick for me within the frame. Working with Nizam was fun. Being able to ask him to do what I want made the whole shoot a lot easier. The tricks I asked him to do were very simple tricks like Olie, kick flips, pop shuv it. But being the photographer, my job was to be able to make the photograph look great despite simple tricks.

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With the Leica M system, your only framing is the square line in the viewfinder. It isn’t as accurate as a DSLR where you see everything through the lens. On a DSLR, what you see is what you get but not for the Leica. Your framing won’t be as accurate. But after shooting with it for a few months, I got the hang of it quite fast since I’ve been shooting with my Leica M2 for 3 years. Another thing why I enjoy shooting with the M9 is that every time you take a shot, the viewfinder doesn’t blink so it won’t interrupt the scene you are seeing through the viewfinder. I love the Rangefinder focusing. I’m not going to elaborate too much on this. (You can ask google). Focusing with a rangefinder is fun. I’ve been doing for a while so I got use to it. A lot of my friends who tried it hated it. But at the end of the day it comes to personal preferences.

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So heres the question, is it worth spending bucks on the M9? In my opinion, don’t buy the M9 because you want the image quality. You buy it because you want to use it. For example, a honda civic Type R moded can beat a Stock Ferarri any day (Correct me if I’m wrong). But you buy the Ferrari because you want the Ferrari. For its design, engine, leather and the list goes on. If you have the money to spend, why not? If youre not a fan then the Leica ain’t for you my friend. Overall, I was happy with the outcome. I had fun working with Nizam Lee. And i am pleased with the photographs I got from that day.