Peranakan-Style Family Portraits
As a photographer, we would be “hired” for images that we are known for (majority of time).
A few months back, I had a text from my colleague at the studio asking if I am interested with a very interesting project. I was reluctant at first because of the complexity of the shoot that involves a lot of detailed planning. However, I thought to myself, my vision is to create timeless memories for families. If I ignored this, wouldn’t it be in contradiction to my vision?
Due to its complexity, I decide to meet Ian and Angeline to discuss about their shoot. I was presented a very very old black and white image of a nyonya in her glorious outfit. It wasn’t an easy task to re-create the image because of the “backdrop” and the make up that belonged to that era.
Upon many conversation over the phone, I decided, “Well, lets do it and see what I could come out with.”
On the day, I walked into a beautiful and intimate suite at St.Regis Hotel for the shoot. I was greeted with the elegance of the decor, the glorious setting of the Peranakan culture and a pair of eager and anxious clients.
I decided that I would like to shoot the whole set of images using vintage Leica Lenses that I collect, which known to have the classic rendering which I hope will somehow mimic the “look” that they are after.
Of course, being very private, I would have to make sure I take care of their privacy, hence, only 1 image will be shown here… I shall leave you to ponder for the rest of the images…
Ian was kind enough to write me a review…
Review for Tomato Photo by Ian Ng (5/5 stars)
In early 2017, I conceived of an ambitious art project: to sit with my mother for a series of Peranakan-style family portraits. I had a clear artistic approach in mind: as a Baba, I wanted to highlight my heritage by having my mother don the sarong kebaya, along with all her nyonya finery, while I would stand by her side in a western suit–our attire echoing the elegant black-and-white Peranakan portraits of the past. I wanted our portraits to look formal yet intimate, while capturing us in a moment of timeless splendor.
I approached several high-end photographers with my specifications for the project, all of whom failed to follow-through with me. Disappointed, I began to think that my project was too ambitious to achieve. Subsequently, I stumbled upon Tomato Photo’s website, where I was greeted by a series of family portraits that brimmed with a graceful, understated beauty that did not appear overly staged like most modern photography. I was impressed and proceeded to contact Tomato with the details of my project.
From our first meeting, Hart understood all the intricacies of my vision and eventually led us through a successful photoshoot that surpassed my expectations. Hart displayed his keen eye for the subtleties of color, detail, perspective, and light when he maneuvered us (and our many props–mainly furniture and antiques) into the best poses during the photoshoot.
With professionalism and warmth, Hart skillfully transformed my long-held dream into reality, creating images that will bring joy and awe to my family for generations to come.
I admire Hart’s unique artistry and look forward to working with him again in the near future.
I am glad that the shoot was a success; leaving Ian and her mother, Angeline satisfied with the outcome.
Looking forward to work on the many interesting projects with them in the future.
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