May 06, 2014

On The Grid

One way or another, wherever we are, we are always connected. We are always 'On The Grid'.

And with these two sentences a long held dream came to life. A decade of memories. A decade of creating the images that spoke to the memory behind each moment captured. Collected and curated to become 'On The Grid'; the first photographic exhibition presented by my wonderfully talented friend Shu Daniels of SOUL of SHU

Last night was the opening of her exhibition and it was a privilege and delight to share in this special occasion with her. The many months spent pulling thousands of images to select the final few that would make the cut all came to fruition when seeing them larger than life upon the walls of The Bird in Northbridge.

The official start time of the exhibition was 6:30pm but just a few minutes after six the first framed print had been sold. The ball well and truly had started rolling and kept rolling long after the exhibition closed at 8:30pm. If you didn't make it last night you may be disappointed to find sold stickers adorning the walls alongside many images. 

Photo by Travis Hayto Photography

In her own words, On The Grid is a showcase of a selection of Shu's favourite images of her travels through Japan and New York City. The images were cleverly and cutely denoted with a stylized flag of Japan or the US to let you know the origin of each photo. 

Photo by Travis Hayto Photography
Photo by Travis Hayto Photography

For most of the night, The Bird was filled with people enjoying a drink and munching down on a mini hot dog (there was also chicken yakitori but I missed out!) as they checked out the images, with the backing soundtrack provided by DJ Aslan.

Photo by Travis Hayto Photography
Photo by Travis Hayto Photography

The purchases came in thick and fast, so much so that the whiz behind the sales table (that whiz would being me heehee) could barely keep up. As such I don't think it's at all presumptuous to say it was a successful night. 

Photo by Travis Hayto Photography

Given the friend privileges that are in place, I was able to ask her a few questions about her work to put together a small artist feature for you, my awesome readers.

When and why did you take up photography? 
Easy. 2004. I bought a "big black Fuji" that didn't have interchangeable lenses. It looked fancy, so I saved up for ages and finally copped it. 2004 was also the year that I first traveled around the world. I thought I needed to capture as much of it as I could! I wish I could say I started in high school, but I actually failed photography. Got an F. (Note: my maths class was in the room adjoining the school's darkroom. Maths classes always smelt like vinegar.) 

My mum was a graphic designer back in Singapore in the 80s, so she has always been a super massive influence to me creatively. She designed booklets for Versace and even Sammy Davis Jr. I used to go through her portfolio constantly when I was younger and was super inspired by her designs. Also, one of my good friends studied photography at uni and I always used to be in awe of all her gear and work. She is actually a huge reason as to why I started to pick up my camera more often. She always had faith in my eye. Now I've picked my camera up, I haven't put it down. 

How would you describe your style? 
Diverse and candid. I love candid photographs. Especially when it comes to portraits of people. People are more at ease when they aren't being posed. I find that my best photos are of the moments where people don't even know I am in the room. That's also why I don't really like to shoot in a studio. It's hard for people to be their true self when they are put in unfamiliar environments. In terms of style, I really like my images to be dark, but vibrant at the same time. I'm all for really high contrast pictures that are striking to the eye but in saying that, I'd say diverse because I find it quite easy to transition from style to style depending on the subject matter. I'm happy to try all different looks to match what I'm shooting. 

Do you have any particular influences in regard to photography, or any photographer's whose work you admire?
I have so many! One of my favourite photographers is Tim McGurr AKA 13th Witness. His street photography is so smooth and clean, yet so grimy at the same time. He is the son of Futura (graffiti artist) and was born and raised in NYC. He then lived in Tokyo for a few years. I was instantly attracted to his work because I felt like I could relate to everything that he loved and was shooting. I'm also a super massive fan of SO many photographers on Instagram! One of my faves right now is @1stinstinct. It doesnt matter if your photos are taken on a $4000 full frame body  camera or your phone, as long as you are taking photos with heart, it really shows. Some people on the 'gram are churning out some really sick stuff! 

On The Grid is a selection of photographs from your time in New York and Tokyo.  Why New York and Tokyo? 
Two of my favourite places in the world. I've been to NYC nine times now and I will keep going back. It's those damn honey wings I tell you!  Both cities are just so rich and full of goodness. Culturally and aesthetically. 

Any parting words?
 ゴールドステイ (I am told that translates to "stay gold")

On The Grid will be exhibited at The Bird until May 25. If you have any queries or would like to purchase any of the work send an email to

Keep an eye on the Facebook and Instagram pages for Oyster & Pearl (@oysterandpearlblog) and SOUL of SHU (@shushudip) as we will be announcing a special giveaway in the next day or two!

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