For 27 year old Singaporean photographer,
Emir Haziq - the night provides him solace and space for him to take a step back and look at the world surrounding him.
In this documentary, ‘Into the Night’ we follow Emir Haziq as he takes us into the quiet and neon-filled lights of the Singapore streets, away from the hustle and bustle of the city daylights and into his creative process.
Hey Emir! Tell me a little about yourself
I studied VFX for my diploma and we had this basic photography fundamental course on our first year. I guessed that’s how photography began for me at least. And that was 10 years ago! My photography changed a lot throughout the years, and it took me a long time to find my niche and rhythm. But hey! I’m glad I finally did because I feel it resonates more with my character and vision.
My first camera was a Nikon D5000 with standard kit lens which my parents got for me for school and God knows where it is right now or the state of it.
Years and cameras later, I got myself a Mamiya RZ67 and never had I put in so much thought into getting one. Asides from what the camera is well known for its lens and functionality, I was facing this creative block at one point of time, so I knew I needed something refreshing and new. So that is one of the many reasons I thought of giving that camera a go and since I’ve been wanting to get into portraitures as well, I knew it would do wonders for me.
But really, why medium format? I think it’s just how it makes my photos look more natural and the way it renders out the images somehow is a true reflection of how my eyes make out of the scene.
Movies! I love referencing movies that have left an impact on me. I also draw a lot of references from my dreams because I always have very distinctive and vivid dreams/nightmares and I would always note them down the moment I wake up – the series ‘Phantasm’ that I shot for Leica is one of such bodies of work that was a recreation and reinterpretation of a series of nightmares that I had.
Ah Australia! The land with the most surreal sunsets I’ve seen. I had a fantastic time there! Everything there is just so beautiful if you look at it from a cinematic point of view. I’d always try to have my daily stroll around the suburbs from where I lived and I tried to be more observant my surroundings. Almost every parts of the streets with the charming, sometimes vintage looking houses/buildings backed with dreamlike sunsets, I always told myself that this would look so perfect on film. I think that was actually the main catalyst for me to get a film camera there
For a while, you were in Australia working/vacationing. Can you share with me a little about this experience, in particular your experience with the film community there?
When it comes to architecture and landscapes, I tend not to look in the manner of the structures or lines from the buildings or landscapes to create an interesting picture. It has always been more of emotions and the mood I’m getting, or even as simple as how the whole scene just looks unreal. So I’ll gravitate more to the natural lighting or even looking for pockets of lights for nighttime that reflects them in a way. Just imagine an introduction to a scene that just looks pretty or a photo print to be put up on someone’s wall!
Your photographic works often tend to capture architecture and landscape.
What is your relationship with these two areas of genre?
When we met, we spoke a lot about the weight of a medium format camera right, do you remember that!
As much as I enjoy talking a walk, I certainly wasn’t too raring to go with my heavy camera, especially in Singapore’s humid weather. That probably explains why I didn’t go for much photowalks here as compared to Australia. Some people said that you will get used to the weight but honestly if it’s that heavy, it’s just going to be a hindrance no matter how much you try to change your mindset haha! Having your own van in Australia did me a great deal of help too, asides form the weather. I was doing a road trip down the East Coast and it was all about just driving around and stopping at random locations to shoot. I think that’s the typical road trip mentality that every photographer enjoys doing.
Having only 10 exposures in a single roll seems discouraging at the start but it definitely worked out well for me. From shooting 100+ photos to just barely 10 on a single day when on a trip was transformative. Every shot counts as you had to compose and frame your stills as opposed to just spraying the shutter button on a digital cam in hopes of getting the right angle in a burst of similar looking photos. I think it’s the effect of quality control over quantity which I always believed in anyway.