It’s truly almost every men’s dream to be able to work closely with anything car-related. For Faiesall, what started off as a casual weekend rides with his buddies and his love for encapsulating his journey in motion PLUS constant pursuant of his interests have eventually resulted what we known as TGTR. Read on to learn more about his journey!
1. Hi Ibrahim, please tell us more about yourself!
Hello! I’m Ibrahim Faiesall and I’m 24 this year. I like cars and making videos. So I decided to make videos of cars.
2. For starters, what is TGTR, what is the main reason you started this community?
TGTR is an abbreviation of Tougether – which combines the word ‘touge’ (which means driving up the mountains, sort of) and together. It started back in 2014 when my friend Muzzamel invited a bunch of his friends, myself included, for a drive up Genting. The thrill got us hooked. It became an thing that we’d do over the weekends – just drive up the winding road in the morning for breakfast and enjoy the chilly weather. We decided to name our Whatsapp group Tougether just because it sounded funny but at the same time a clever play of words.
Such activity is anything but new, but we knew that there are people out there who want to enjoy or experience such things but never had the gang to do it with. So we decided to share our passion to the public. We called it The Morning Shift. Muzzamel and I started leading TGTR. I began creating posters and our friends would post them on our Instagram accounts, their followers then posted them on their accounts, and so on.
This is where the whole TGTR thing blew up. For every drive we had, I would create a short video of it. The videos caused a hype and garnered interest. People wanted to see their car in the videos. Back then, there were hardly anyone local that does car videos. I saw the potential and grabbed it. Our drives got bigger each time. I remember the first drive has around 20 cars only. It grew to 70 on the next one, then 100, 150, 200. Our final Morning Shift last year managed to gather more than 250 cars.
But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. With an ever-growing crowd, we feared that it might became dangerous – that, and the fact that we were SO shorthanded. So despite the constant request for the next drive, we decided to end The Morning Shift altogether and proceeded to try out new things.
3. When did you realize about your passion towards automobile, and how did you started to become an automotive video and photographer?
I grew up copying my brother’s hobbies. By the time he got into cars, which he usually buys from our local car dealership, I joined in the bandwagon. He has long moved on, but I’m still stuck. Guess I just like dealing with cars – all the fun as well as the problems (which is a lot!)
As for videos, I’ve always enjoyed studying the cinematography of movies. Then sometime in 2011, I came across videos from Format67. They make videos of cars but with added soul. The videos were so beautifully done; the colors, the sound, the emotions – everything! That’s when I knew I should combine two of my interests and start creating.
4. How is automobile photography different from other types of photography?
I’d like to think that my photography skills are just average. I usually apply my knowledge from doing videos into my photography. But for videos, I guess it’s more or less the same with automotive, to me at least. It’s all about capturing the feel as much as the details.
My car videos are more towards the action side – fast, loud, and energetic, so I don’t really go into the details of the car. That being said, it’s always great to highlight the little details that make up the whole car: the design cues, the features, etc. Different cars have different characters, from the looks down to how it drives. For me, it’s essential to correctly portray those characters in my creative work.
5. What are your go-to gadgets for automobile video and photography?
Currently, I shoot on a Canon 70D and I use a Sigma 30mm, Tokina 11mm-16mm, and Helios 58mm. And of course my beloved camera stabilizer. These things are adequate enough to get the job done. I don’t really believe in a massive, expensive setup. Of course they’re great to have and they do the job better, but at the end of the day, it’s the editing that makes the difference. (It’s also an excuse for not being able to afford better gear as I always spend my money on fixing my cars).
6. Share with us your experience you had when you followed Malaysia Team to 24 Heures Du Mans event which took place in France one month ago?
It all happened last year when Muzzamel pitched to our top lad racer friend Jazeman Jaafar the idea of documenting his journey at the 24 Hours of Spa. We got the gig and he liked the end product. So for this year they wanted to do it again, but bigger; this time with an all-Malaysian drivers: Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan, and Nabil Jeffri. It’s a milestone for our local talents, and for Malaysia. They wanted to share the story with the people. I was hesitant at first since it was during Raya but in the end I just went along with it.
24 Hours of Le Mans to me was nothing short of amazing. The track is beautiful and it’s listed as one of the best tracks, and the race itself has a rich history. The crowd was great too! The grandstands were full, and on top of that people were camping everywhere around the track. They had concerts, theme park rides – it was like a full blown festival but with race cars. It was so lit!!! So to be there was definitely an experience that is one of a kind.
This year, Muzzamel decided to back me up with the shoot as I definitely couldn’t do everything on my own.When we got there, we collected our media passes and started shooting right away, starting with the cars, the team at work, and the whole driver practice. On qualifying day we got some shots of the drivers in action and we started familiarizing ourselves with the track.
Then came the race day. We prepped ourselves for the whole thing, we brought food, drinks and even pillows and kept them in the car. That’s our stay for the day. If the drivers had to race for 24 hours, we had to shoot for 24 hours too. Throughout the race, we went around the track to get the action from every possible angle – we got the media shuttle to thank for that because the track is huge! We took a short nap in the car sometime at midnight and went back to shooting right after. I particularly enjoyed shooting the race during the sunset and sunrise. It was stellar. By the time the race ended I could hardly walk. My legs were worn out from all the walking and running!
At the moment, I’m still in the midst of putting the final video together, so stay tuned for that!
7. What were the challenges you faced in the industry that you’re in, and how did you overcome them?
If anything, the only challenge for me is myself – as in how can I improve on my work. With the rise of many new aspiring creatives, I often find myself trying to figure out how to make my work stand out from the crowd.
8. Other than automotive photography, which other types of photography that you’re familiar with?
As much as I like cars and make videos about them, it was fashion that kickstarted my career. Apart from fashion, I do product videos, travel videos, and event videos. You can say that my work is mostly lifestyle-based.
9. Can you share some tips to those who are interested to become an automobile photographer but not quite sure where to start?
Start right here, right now. You don’t need a proper, full blown equipment to start. Just use your phone’s camera or whatever that you have. Create something and keep at it. Eventually, you’ll find your groove. If there’s anything I’ve learnt from recent events, it’s to not wait for the perfect time or place.
I started doing videos with a GoPro and my phone. Even until today, I still use my phone to shoot some of my videos.
10. Are there any exciting plans from you or TGTR that we all can anticipate in months to come?
We might release our new line of merch, or have a new drive somewhere, or new videos. You never know! Now aren’t we full of surprises? :p
11. What is your life motto?
Real power runs silent.
As much as I enjoy being under the spotlight, I’ve always liked the idea of working under the radar. You don’t have to tell everyone of your next move, or what you’re working on. Be chill about it, appear simple then surprise! Now that’s hot. For me at least!