We Are Photographers Series | Ridduan Ismail
Ridduan Ismail is not a new face in the photography and fashion scene in Kuala Lumpur. Having his creative works as a freelance street style photographer featured in several fashion and lifestyle magazines such as JUICE KL, Hanger Magazine, GLAM and EH! Magazine, the 24-year-old has made a name for himself with the in-crowd of Kuala Lumpur. Ridduan is currently involved in shooting editorial, look books and campaigns for local fashion designers and aspire to work with international designers such as Thom Brown and French luxury label, Céline. This week, we managed to get in touch with him for a short interview.
Hi Ridduan! So tell us, who or what inspired you to take up photography?
During the initial years when I first got my hands on an SLR camera, I was inspired by this group of local wedding photographers called The League Of Extraordinary Photographers, made up of Fad Manaf, Fadza Isyak, Afnan Omar & Joe Zakaria. They are truly amazing at what they do, shooting both indoor and outdoor, mixed with cool scenery and all that jazz. I was so inspired that I ended up trying and actually doing wedding photoshoots for a year.
Through Facebook, I stumbled across this boy named Bibo Aswan (local fashion photographer) and his fashion editorial works in his album. I remember the first photo I laid my eyes on is the editorial photograph of a female model posing next to a swimming pool wearing this amazing printed flowery dress and I said to myself, this boy is not messing around. What I saw is of international standard and it could well belong in international fashion magazines like Vogue Italia or i-D.
The thing is I don’t really have any fashion background or anything like it to start with, and I completely fell in love with his work and from that its just automatically clicked that I should stop doing wedding photography and focus my attention on fashion. Another thing that inspired me is by looking at fashion ad campaign in magazines. I always admire a good ad campaign, the way they work on direction, styling, the right casting and all of the other the key factors that makes an effective ad campaign.
Can you share with us a particularly memorable shoot you did?
It has to be my FIRST ever street style shoot which was a contribution work for Hanger ; a bi annual fashion magazine which I truly love. It was a rainy Saturday and I almost thought that the shoot would not happen but to my surprise, the group of good looking well-dressed people which I invited to join the shoot actually turned up dressed to the nines to have their photos taken by me; a total newbie to the scene. It was a heartwarming situation getting that support and it was then that I realized there’s a place for me in this industry. That was really nice.
Would you say Street Style Photography is your forte?
Yes, I would say so. Fashion is number one. Photographing real people wearing amazing clothes and having immaculate style, there’s a real satisfaction in that. I do believe that the street looks influence what we see happening on the runway. As Anna Wintour would say, “the ripple up effect, as opposed to ripple down”. Having said that, I have grown an interest in photographing buildings and sceneries. If you notice my Instagram feed, there’s a good mix of cloud photos in there. I LOVE CLOUDS!
What does photography mean to you?
Freedom. Carefree. Getting lost in emotions. Lifestyle. Religion.
Alright moving on, what do you aim to achieve with your pictures?
To inspire. I do believe that to be inspire and be inspired are two of the most important things in life. I would not be here doing what I am doing if not for the inspiration that I have absorbed from the people around me. And I hope to do the same for other people out there.
Is there any particular model or fashion designer you would love to collaborate with in future?
I am in love with Saskia de Brauw. That whole androgyny look is just too much for me to handle. Juergen Teller as a photographer is another favorite – I adore his work. As for designer/label, I would have to say Thom Browne and Celine.
To sum up our interview, here is a fun question! What is your favourite photography app on your phone & why?
If you follow me on Instagram (@ttfga) you would probably know that I am an avid user of the VSCO app on iPhone. I like it because it’s just the best one out there. Never settle for less.
For more of Ridduan’s works: https://www.facebook.com/TTFGA
Interview by: Erin Riduan
*Images courtesy of Ridduan Ismail
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