Meet my cousin Sam. We used to sing TLC songs together in the ‘90s. Now he is an artist, entrepreneur and founder of The Gentle Studio, which focuses on fashion, still-life, and documentary photography. I visited him at work on a rainy day in Singapore to learn more about what he does.
Concentration is something that really grips me. It’s that intense focus of creating. The feeling when the world fades away and all that’s important is what’s in front of you. I feel that way when I photograph, and I connect on that level with others and the work that they’re passionate about.
Inspiration is sparked through conversations about the project and the stories told. As I become more and more a part of my clients’ worlds, my mind and my heart tune in, and my imagination goes *pop* *pop* *pop* as the ideas and the vision start becoming clearer and dearer. It’s a very collaborative process.
I believe the best work happens when hearts burn together for a purpose greater than material. It all becomes very exciting when I start to see more than just another subject to photograph, but a story of love poured out. I can’t describe this feeling.
Photography is really difficult. It’s not just about technical knowledge and ability - it’s art. It’s telling a story of trust between photographer and subject, and oftentimes reveals a creator’s heart. It’s a very heavy responsibility, and to be honest, I get afraid most of the time.
My dad passed away when I was 15, and all I have to hold on to him are my memories and experiences that we had together. The greatest impression that he left on me was that he really loved people.
Life is tough. We all face difficulties and challenges, but I find many people often feel they have to put up a front. I can’t blame them, I do it too, but it does make me very sad. With this in mind, I wanted to create an environment where people, and my clients, can be honest and vulnerable with me. I think it’s key to building relationships and trust. It is not always easy though. If you want others to be vulnerable with you, you have to first be vulnerable with them, and that can be risky. However, I think it is a risk worth taking because it gives me the chance to impact lives.
When I was thinking of the name for my studio, I wanted to find a trait that resonates with the brand and it was gentleness. For the work, to be gentle is to exercise great care, and I want to have a relationship that is beyond transactions with my clients.
People have told me that my photographs convey a romantic feeling. To me, I use lights to reflect a serenity I feel inside. It’s like the feeling when you see rays of sunlight peeking through clouds on a rainy day. The way different emotions are conveyed when light hits a subject is very intriguing to me. It sort of becomes therapy.
Many of my clients at the moment are new start-ups who value a picture’s ability to make an impression, and I am always excited to be a part of the growing process with them. Of course, I do hope to work with bigger brands in the future as well.
At the end of the day, the human aspect, the care, and the attention to detail and precision is what drives me and The Gentle Studio.
My cousin Sam is as brilliant as he is sensitive, as conscientious as he is brave and as giving as he is talented. If you are looking for a fashion, still-life, or documentary photographer in Singapore who will capture the essence of your product with care and precision, Sam of The Gentle Studio is the force who can make this happen. And if he likes you, you might be able to sing ‘No Scrubs’ together.
The Gentle Studio