Landscape Category June 2020 Winner, taken in Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, captioned “The land above the cloud”.
As ASIAN Geographic’s annual Images of Asia (IOA) 2020 Photo/Videography Competition looms closer, submissions to our IOA Monthly competition – the precursor to our annual event – are pouring in. We have received stunning photos across the categories, and are now featuring our monthly winners in an exclusive interview!
Below is our interview with one of this month’s spotlight, Yusuf Bin Madi, the IOA Monthly June 2020 winner in the Landscape category, selected from the May 2020 entries.
AG: What is the story of your beginning and journey to creating great images?
Yusuf: I’ve always been interested in the creative arts, especially painting and drawing, since I was 7 years old. My interest in photography sprouted in 2015 as a hobby back when I was in University, which then turned into a freelancing job from 2017 onwards. I picked and brushed up my photography skills mainly from YouTube video tutorials, together with a lot of classes held by experienced photographers. My enthusiasm was fired up with guidance from my fellow photographer friends who shared the same interest as me. Based on my own experience, theoretical learning only is not enough. A good photographer needs to master the technical and practical parts and gain more experience to create a great image in each and every situation no matter how hard. So, what I did throughout the years was taking more and more photos which allowed me to compare them with the photos taken by experienced photographers of the same subject of study. With this comparison, I learned how to improve my images and camera technique.
AG: How would you define your style and concepts you enjoy exploring?
Yusuf: In the beginning, I captured various subjects with different ways of creating stories through images and I found that my passion was more inclined towards nature, such as wildlife and landscape, and also black and white portraiture.
AG: What is great photography to you, and are there any photographers you would like to work with?
Yusuf: I have always loved and been obsessed with photos containing “soul” that can convey stories and create the feelings to the viewers. The truth is, we don’t create a photo with a camera, we create it with our eyes.
I admire the work of Paul Nicken. He is the contributor to National Geographic and the co-founder of Sea Legacy. He is a courageous explorer and conservationist. My dream assignment would be to go with him documenting wildlife animals in the North and South Poles!
AG: What is your preferred imaging gear to work with and why?
Yusuf: I have been a Nikon user since I jumped into photography and now I am using Nikon D750. I am targeting to own my personal Nikon D850 as it has a very high megapixel sensor and the image quality is amazing. The camera was also built like a tank which gives it an edge in bad weather compared to other devices.
AG: What is the next Asian destination you’d like to explore and why?
Yusuf: Borneo and Sumatra, the only places that are a natural habitat to the Orang Utans in the wild. I want to study and photograph the unique behaviours and lifestyles of this marvellous creature.
AG: Can you share more about your current and upcoming projects?
Yusuf: I’m currently working on my project, Perlis: The Hidden Gems of Northern-most of Malaya, which is intended to capture the beauty and hidden nature of the infamous state in Malaysia.
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