ISSUE 02 - Rice
Rice is a photographer based in Singapore. She shoots highly conceptual and hard-to-miss works for herself, publications and brands such as Men’s Folio Magazine and An Asylum.
We’ve recently collaborated with her on an editorial for our recent release, Eternity Bracelet. With the reignition of Discover, we’re led into Rice’s inner world, and how she discovered her unique style from shooting through just iPhones.
1. How did you first develop an interest in photography?
I first developed an interest in photography around 2019. Initially, it started off as an appreciation for aesthetically pleasing content that I saw on the internet. I only posted content or artwork that I found interesting on my Instagram profile and I slowly realized that I don’t want to just be making mood boards, I want to be the one making these types of works.
2. Let’s say if an editor in Milan were to anonymously receive three fashion images from three different photographers including yours, what’s a hint to identify the style that’s yours?
3. You have worked with many different brands, magazines, and companies over your career. What are some of your career highlights so far?
I wouldn’t say that I’ve worked with many people as I’m still new in this industry. However, if I could name one - I was approached by Men’s Folio Magazine to work on a contributor piece for their June-July 2021 issue. → link to issue
For this shoot, I had to take on the role of art directing, photography, as well as coordinating a huge team. Such a big responsibility was a first for me. It was conceptualized and done in a short span of 2-3 weeks with quite a number of challenges. I was very lucky to work with a talented team to bring the photoset to life! It was also very nice, or even surreal, to be seeing my creation being printed and sold in bookstores.
4. You started off with conceptual works before receiving offers for editorial work. How has that impacted your workflow, and which do you enjoy more?
Editorials/commissioned work usually have tight timelines and briefs. Sometimes, the brief and mood board given might not be something that I like. Since it's what the client and brand require, I would respectfully follow and tailor the shoot according to their needs.
Personally, I prefer conceptual works as I get to have full creative control of how the shoot will go and be presented. In short, I like being able to do what I want.
5. What gear do you use nowadays? Has your setup changed at all as you've progressed?
I’ve been using a Nikon D850, gratefully borrowed from my dad.
Paired with either an F1.4 50mm prime lens for the charming bokeh and flattering finish it provides for faces or an F2.8 24-70mm for dynamic shots and distortion.
And.. yes! It has definitely changed. I started off with using a simple point-and-shoot film camera and my iPhone X to do my passion projects. The main reason why I have switched to using a full-frame DSLR is due to the fact that most of my shoots nowadays require a higher resolution, especially for catalogs and lookbooks. I feel that, with camera RAWS, I am able to produce sharper and crisper images even after heaving post-processing.
6. How do you develop the story that you want to share through a particular photoshoot? What kind of words do you use in communicating this to your model?
Well, there is always a general idea of what the shoot should look like beforehand. For personal work, most of the narratives come from the shoot day itself or even when I’m editing the photos.
I’m quite fickle-minded and wish to explore more creatively when it comes to my own work. I don’t like to constrain myself to a certain mood board and color grading that I might have referenced from somewhere else.
I like to give narratives to my model during the shoot. Something along the lines of “imagine you’re ______ in ______ place”. This provides them room to interpret based on what they understand or imagine, then for me to further direct with my own thoughts.
More importantly, I like to give affirmations to my model when the pose or image turns out great. Showing them the images regularly during the shoot can help build their confidence, as well as keeping them within the loop of how the shoot is doing.
7. What are you trying to do differently in 2021 – lifestyle-wise, style-wise, or otherwise?
I’m trying to branch out to different types of post-processing and shooting styles, which has been a challenge because I don’t have the luxury of time and energy nowadays to work on passion projects. I have been trying to pick up more on my technical skills as well.
And.. fixing my sleep schedule and relying less on Grab rides (Uber/Taxi app in Singapore) :’(
8. What projects do you have that we should look forward to?
I’m working on a big installation project with a Singapore artist (for the year 2022), fingers are crossed that we get the grant approved!
9. Do you have any words of advice for aspiring photographers?
With the technology available now, even an iPhone can deliver high-quality work with the correct conditions. Vision > Technicalities/Gear :-)
Also, building a creative eye is important. Some people might think that watching a movie or playing a video game only provides as far as entertainment goes, but in actual fact you are exposing yourself to creative work from many others. You’re essentially building your own visual library!
10. Finally, how did you feel about the Floral Cloud photoshoot with Gentle No More?
It was so much fun to work with the team! I like people who know what they want to achieve and Gentle No More had a clear vision of the image that they wanted to portray. The founders have a great sense of aesthetics themselves, who conceptualized and then built the set from scratch themselves. I loved the fact that the shoot for the Eternity Bracelet wasn’t just a generic photoshoot to feature a product, but instead, an artwork that, in turn, conveys and presents an image with meanings/stories to people who would be wearing the bracelet.
For more on Rice's work, check out her Instagram at @ordinary_rice.