Amri Ginang – An Interview

Interview With AMRI GINANG

Author: Azman Karib Ibrahim
Date: September 2014 (Archive)

Background Info

1. What’s your full name and how are you known as in the photographic community?
Amri Ginang

2. How old are you and where are you from?
56 years old from Semporna, Sabah

3. Are you a full-time or part-time photographer?
Full-time professional

4. When did you take up photography and where did you get your formal knowledge in photography, if it wasn’t based on your own?
19 years old, St Martins School of Art, England-Graphic Studies/Fine Art

5. What equipment do you currently use and what’s your favorite camera body and lenses?
Medium Format – Analog Hasselblad with digital back and four lenses(favorite 40mm Distagon) and Canon 5D Mark II & III
Everyday/Fine Art
Leica M6, Lumix GF1, Fuji X-Pro1, Sigma DP2, iPhone

6. What genre or category of photography do you consider yourself closely associated with?
People/Portraits. Then commercial and fine art photography.

© Azman Karib Ibrahim

Photographic related or specific

1. What does photography mean to you?
Everything. I give my heart and soul into it. My job, hobbies & passion is photography.

2. What attracted you to photography (street photography), and how did you discover it?
Visualization of things. Since young and first encountered it during my studies in England. It’s a lifetime journey.

3. What do you think makes a memorable photograph?
Finding a good subject. It cannot be just a “photo” with no soul in it even if technically done correctly.

4. Who are some of the classic photographers that you admire and how did they influence you, if they did?
Imogen Cunningham, Yousuf Karsh, Richard Avedon, Peter Lindbergh, Paolo Roveri. I was able to work with some of them and this gave me not just the photographic knowledge but the necessary high work discipline needed.

7. How do you know your photos are good? What do you think makes a great photograph?
When people recognize your work.
Develop your own style. Don’t think of competitors but how I would want to do it – for the people.
From a commercial client – technically we must be very good. We must also reach a level that client wants.
From my personal viewpoint – my message is in the photo, also the style and vision. To describe further, you could say that “my soul is in it”. Trust me, once you’ve put in the effort and your own style and vision, there will be people somewhere who appreciates it and will want you to produce it.

Lifetime achievements

1. What was your proudest achievements and why?
I’m not into entering photographic competitions or going after international awards and recognition. However, I’ve undertaken some personal projects which I’m proud of and there are two of them.

Sweden – selected for a major campaign by Jack Wahl.
Australia – “Vision” project, to capture multi-cultural life in Australia (3 months) by Marina Mahathir.

Advice to the future and current generation of photographers

1. What’s your advice to those who’re just starting to have an interest in photography?
Equip basic knowledge first. Develop your own content. Follow guidelines by referring or comparing to the best.
Most important, if you want to develop photography as a career is to build up a strong portfolio or body of work. Take 6 months at the very least. Potential clients need to see your portfolio and this is what that will help to promote or get you the job.

2. What’s your advice to those who’re already amateur photographers?
Learn to analyze the scene, develop eye judgment. Also, learn to develop a habit by viewing or looking at the top photographers.

The difference between just seeing vs analyzing the scene.
The difference between just copying vs producing.

It takes a long time to develop eye judgment.

The Future

1. What photographic projects do you hope to see happen in the future? Please give an example of one and why?
I would like to see more collaboration with Govt, NGO, Ad Agency/Producer.

There is also another aspect that the clients must also learn to understand about photography. They should not judge a photographer by having the best camera but by their vision – artistic vision.
There are opportunities also for Malaysian photographers to go after the foreign markets – USA, Europe, China, Japan, Asia, Australia.
As for the Malaysian Market – we could develop more content suitable to be deemed as Asian content. We have the subjects here in Malaysia.
One way to make this happen is to establish a link and marketing through third parties.

2. How has social media played an importance in your photography? (do you have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram account).
FB, Instagram.

4. How do you promote yourself? Do you have a blog, online portfolio like Flickr, 500px, etc?
Website maintained by son & daughter.

Hot Question

As you may or not be aware, sometime in the middle of June this year, I was afflicted with an allergic drug reaction called Steven-Johnson Syndrome(SJS). I was hospitalized for over two weeks and was in the ICU for 5 days. The severe cases of SJS which can affect anyone from young children to the elderly also result in death. Thankfully, Alhamdulillah I survived and now here today being able to interview and photograph you as well.

My question to you, “if you were in the same situation as I was or perhaps have been in a similar or worse situation, then survived it, what would be the first few photographs would you take and why?”

Family first. Then people, favorite food and cafés.

Parting words – “Look towards yourself first, the fault is at your end if anything goes wrong. Don’t just to blame others.”


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