Here at Outlet, we're all about supporting emerging talents and creatives. Our latest feature focuses on Malaysian photographer Adam Mikhail - check out our conversation with him below.
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as an aspiring photographer?
I started photography using no more than a phone camera as I couldn't afford a designated camera. At that time, I tried to learn more about photography. I learnt most of it from YouTube and some friends I met along the way. With the lack of manual controls on the phone camera, I tried to strengthen the fundamentals like composition, lighting and colours of my photography so that I could understand what makes a picture beautiful. I still am learning a lot now.
From then on, I started focusing on the emotions and feelings I want to portray and emanate through my photographs.
In the early stages of my photography journey, I looked up to great documentary photographers like Jimmy Chin, a National Geographic photographer. His photos are absolutely breathtaking. I can feel the story from the photos he takes. From then on, I started focusing on the emotions and feelings I want to portray and emanate through my photographs. I was tired of just making "aesthetic" photos with no feelings to portray. I was lucky enough to travel to a few different countries such as Kazakhstan, Australia, America and the United Kingdom where I got to practise my photography and see the kind of stuff that my favourite photographers like Willem Verbeek, Sean Tucker and more, would take photographs of. I analyzed a lot of their photographs, to search for what makes them attractive to me. To no surprise, most of them struck an emotion, a feeling of happiness and loneliness. I also draw my inspiration from painters like my mom, Claude Monet and Edward Hopper. After exploring various techniques and styles, the one style that resonates most with me is minimalism. This technique mainly focuses on what you want to say in your photographs by eliminating unnecessary objects and elements, but I'm no expert, this is just what I've learnt. I like how with just a few elements, you can give a strong and calm feeling to the audience.
2) There is an element of light and shadows in your photography. What is it about these elements that you are drawn to and what do you hope to exude through your photography? When I look for something to photograph, I always look for something that is splashed with light and shadow. For me, patches of light & shadow act like Ajinomoto ( a popular seasoning or MSG in Malaysia) in my photographs. It just gives this extra kick to photos, even though it's just a photo of a wall.
Besides that, I've always liked the feeling of warmth and calm (actually, who doesn't?). I think light and shadows add those feelings to my photographs. It gives me a feeling that I'm being hugged. That's also what I try to exude through my photographs, photos that make the audience feel safe and the feeling that you have when everything's under control. 3) What are some of your current goals as a photographer?
Even though this sounds quite a cliche, this is true, for now, I don't have any big goals for my photography. I want to continue having fun with photography, I don't want to put much pressure on having a little fun. I want to just let it be and see where it takes me. I may make a few zines once in a while, I also want to create more elaborate stories to accompany my photos maybe some sort of short stories.
Follow Adam on Instagram here