Jamie Ming Ai is living the ultimate dream- an accountant by profession, photographer by passion, foodie by default; browsing through her Instagram is somehow a treat for us after a long day as it is aesthetically pleasing. Sevenpie had the opportunity to get to know her a little more about the gal behind the lens, so here it is!
1. Hi Jamie! Please tell us more about yourself.
I am originally from Penang but have spent many of my teenage years living abroad in Cardiff, Wales. I currently work as a tax consultant during weekdays and on the weekends I am a hobby photographer. Other than photography, I enjoy food, coffee and drawing.
2. What inspired you to get into photography?
I used to watch my dad work as a photographer in his studio when I was young. When I grew old enough, I started to learn editing from him using Photoshop which then got me interested in my own photographs. I became part of the Instagram community soon after it was launched and started sharing some of my photography purely for enjoyment and now I am privileged enough to be where I am.
3. We noticed that you’re inclined towards still-life photography – why is that?
I love being able to plan and style my subject with my own creativity as I wish and still life photography as the name suggests, has fewer motions which makes it more attainable than a living subject (such as a model or nature landscape). I find the different levels of compositions in still life photography very enjoyable, from composing frame to composing props. Each stages of compositions allow me to include my personal style to tell the story or to draw audiences’ attention on a certain object by different forms, textures, lighting, shadow, colours and every other interesting details.
4. Can you describe your photography style in 3 words?
Modern, simple, aesthetic
5. What do you enjoy most about working with brands who appreciate your style in photography?
The amount of creative freedom I’m given definitely. There will obviously be guidelines I have to follow so the brand gets a finished product they’re happy to be associated with but generally I’m left to be as creative as I like.
6. We reckon that being an accountant by profession and a photographer by passion requires a whole new skill sets to juggle between both. What are your usual rituals to “switch” your mind between both? Or rather, were there any instances where you applied concepts from both fields with one another?
It’s nice to be able to switch off after managing numbers all day and focus my attention to something more creative. When working with numbers and calculations, you are required to see things very logically, there is generally a set of rules you have to comply with. Whereas photography, encourages you to approach a subject from different angles, compositions, uses of lighting, lens, with endless possibilities and outcomes. I mean in terms of using accounting skills in my photography jobs, there are times where you will have work out costs and time for a shoot that the brand will be happy with but most of the time it’s all creativity!
7. In your opinion, what makes a great photo?
It’s very subjective. The generic answer is “something eye catchy” but honestly, it’s about the work the photographer puts in so the image has intent. To sell a product or show off a beautiful cafe. When you look at an image and you can understand what the photographer was trying to accomplish without having to read context. That is a great photo. But most importantly the work has to be original.
8. We absolutely adore your Instagram feed! Did you pre-plan all your postings, or you just upload them as and when you feel like it?
Ah, thank you! I have always tried my best to arrange my postings one or two weeks in advance in order to keep my feed consistent but having deadlines occasionally can cause planning to be difficult.
9. What is your go-to photography equipment and filter?
10. Any advices to aspiring photographers out there who are just starting out in this industry?
Find a subject you can look at for hours, be it landscape, street photography, food photography and take photographs, lots of photographs! Reading and studying the work of photographers is great and will really give you tips on how to create great images, but practice is how you improve and refine your own style.
11. Are there any misconceptions towards Malaysian photographers (like yourself) which you’d like to debunk?
As photographers in general, we often are asked to shoot for free. Whether it is a company, organisation or an individual. Sometimes shooting unpaid sessions can be beneficial as it helps to build a portfolio for new photographers but this kind of free service should never be expected. I think our time and expertise should always be valued.
12. Do you have any life mottos?
Don’t wait for the opportunity to come, create it.
13. Where do you see yourself in 2 years?
I mean accounting is a good profession to be in with an endless supply of work, but brand or food reviewing / photography will always be my passion and hobby. Who knows what the future holds!