by Vicky Herrera
Who, why, what and how this young lad started learning photography
THE MINUTE you check out Chuck Reyes’ photo blog, you would immediately add his site to your list.
This 24- year-old first started talking pictures in his senior year of high school. “I think one day I just decided to do it. Nobody in my family was really interested in photography, but I wanted some kind of creative outlet so I started using an old camera we had in the house,” he said.
In his first year of college, he took a black-and-white photo of his class and started making prints in the darkroom. “I was hooked from there,” he said.
Eventually, he started taking party photos in 2006, as well as portraits and fashion shoots for some local magazines. After moving to Singapore in 2008, Chuck continued to master his craft and has successfully cranked out an impressive portfolio with a huge international appeal.
From fashion shoots with fly-in models to spending some quality time with influential musical artists, to shooting cultural taste-makers for Singapore’s youth-bible, Juice Magazine, Chuck is certainly on his way to becoming a top photographer. Now you can bookmark that.
So how’s the scene in Singapore?
The scene in Singapore’s great, everybody’s really pushing it in the creative industries, so it really makes you want do great stuff. The art photography seen is growing steadily, but the magazine and editorial work is so great, there’s so much amazing work being put out.
In the fashion world, a lot of models pass by Singapore to get really creative tears for their book before they move on to New York or Europe. That means we get some top-tier models stopping by for two to three months at a time, who then move on to shoot for the huge magazines. And lots of artists and musicians doing an Asian tour stop by Singapore so there’s an opportunity to shoot them, too.
Who have you shot recently?
Aside from working with amazing models, I’ve been lucky enough to shoot musicians like Datarock, the Handsome Furs, the Misshapes, Gildas from Kitsune, Emmy the Great and recently, Little Boots. I also just shot Nigo, the founder of A Bathing Ape, for the cover of Juice Magazine’s upcoming December issue.
Who are your best subjects?
I just love shooting people, any kind of people. I’ve been shooting a lot of models lately so I miss shooting real people, though I’m hoping to do some personal, non-fashion projects soon. Lately I’ve also shot some random still life and non-people stuff, but even those feel like a kind of self-portraiture more than anything.
What’s the most unforgettable photo you took?
I don’t think I’ll ever forget shooting Datarock for Juice Magazine. It was one of my first jobs for them, and I got to shoot them in their hotel room. I asked if I could get them to play their instruments and then all of a sudden they were busting out the song “Give It Up” from Red. It was like a mini-concert complete with mini guitars and keyboards and mini amps. It was amazing! I actually asked myself, “Is this really happening?” I probably had a huge grin on my face the whole time.
How would you describe your shooting style?
My shooting style is pretty relaxed. I rarely shoot in the studio and I don’t use much lighting, just sunlight or the flash on my camera, so I’m moving around a lot. I think I talk a lot, but that’s probably out of nervousness than anything.
If you could shoot a legend, living or dead, who would it be?
Probably Egon Schiele. I think he has an amazing face, and he has just enough internal craziness to make it interesting. It wouldn’t be a portrait session though, I’d put him in Raf Simons suits and do a fashion story. Then I’d shoot my own stuff on the side. Two birds with one stone!
What websites do you like to check out?
I like to check out Fashiongonerogue.com to see what editorials are coming out all over the world. Aphotoeditor.com for work/business related stuff. Clubsnap.com is a great Singaporean website for deals on second hand camera gear, and a bunch of independent blogs.
What’s more important: Vision VS Tools?
You need vision or else the tools would be useless. “Homo-nymetically” you need tools in order to rise above negative criticism, know who your true friends are, and to be an example of who NOT to imitate. Okay, that was a bad joke!
What is your current obsession?
I’m obsessed with finding good deals on photography books. I’m building up a pretty good collection I think. The yearly National Library book sale is amazing. I got Hedi Slimane’s Stage for like two bucks.
Going to photography school: Yes or no?
Photography school: No. Art school: Yes. Interning/Assisting a Photographer: Yes. Photography Workshops: No.
What’s the best advice you’ve received when it comes to taking pictures?
“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” It’s a Robert Capa quote, but it’s also great advice.
To do a really meaningful, really well executed personal project. Or find the time for it.
Published: December 4, 2010 in Inquirer’s 2bu