Calling the shots
Article from the Sun daily by Jeremy Cheong (posted on 6 September 2016)
WHEN it comes to Ting Yang Shan’s photos, the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” doesn’t quite cut it.
Ting, who goes by the name Poopeson – a moniker with a history that we never quite got to the bottom of – has a portfolio (www.poopeson.com) of uniquely composed photographs, consisting of breathtaking landscapes, meticulously crafted fashion shoots, energetic live performances, and candid captures of people that exude a wide range of emotions.
Even so, you’d be surprised to know that photography wasn’t exactly Ting’s first choice for a career.
“I was introduced to photography when I was doing my diploma in advertising and marketing. I chose Photography, TV Commercial, and Visual Communications as my majors because none of these required any studying or reading.
“I wasn’t a very bright kid, if you haven’t noticed already,” joked the 29-year-old.
Initially, Ting had his eyes on videography, but the interest in photography soon outgrew it simply because he found the latter more challenging. He spent plenty of time learning and reading up on the art, and what started out as a hobby then became a viable vocation.
After leaving his job at a carpet company in 2011, he worked as an assistant photographer for about a year, and shot events on a freelance basis in between to gain more experience. Soon, he found himself shooting full-time for a local publishing house. Having stayed for two years – armed with confidence, experience and knowledge – Ting decided to strike out on his own.
“The first year as a freelancer was pretty difficult as I didn’t receive many jobs, and I still had plenty of bills to pay. I almost gave up a few times, but I told myself that if I do, I will form a habit of giving excuses and giving up on more things in the future.
“I’m glad I soldiered on,” said Ting.
Do you ever feel burned out from having to constantly come up with ideas or concepts for shoots? If so, what’s your go-to method to get out of the slump?
Yes, definitely! Before every job, I ask myself, “What needs to be done? How can I achieve a certain look? What if something goes wrong?” Because most of the time, it happens. So I tend to cover all the bases before heading into a shoot so I know I can give my clients the very best.
As for burnouts, I love travelling so I would take short trips or holidays as often as I can to relax and hopefully, gain some inspiration.
Looking at your website and Instagram profile, we can tell you’ve worked with many notable individuals and been to some very exotic places. What has been your favourite moment or achievement so far?
My greatest achievement would be this interview (laughs). Jokes aside, my favourite moment to date has to be meeting and shooting my favourite band, MEW, for an interview they did with an online magazine. It was the first and only time I shot with my hands trembling. It was just a simple photo but I guess it’s the experience that I remember the most.
For those looking to pursue photography as a career, what’s a good tip or advice that you’d like to share with them?
To be honest, I’ve never gotten any proper advice from my peers. But if I were to give one, I’d say go for it but stay humble. Whatever criticism you get, take it with positivity and change or improve what you can instead of having a “but this is how I view my art” mindset. Surround yourself with photographers who want to grow with you. You’ll learn much more.
So what’s in store for Poopeson for the rest of 2016 and the near future?
I am starting to venture into videography again but it’s just for fun since I have the time. There’s actually a project that I’m working on now, of which I’ll update on Instagram when the time is right. As for 2017, I’d like to teach and share my knowledge on photography with others.
Favourite type of photography: Fashion and people.
Biggest source of inspiration: Everything and everywhere.
He also enjoys: Futsal/football.
Most prized possession: “My car definitely.”
Photographers he looks up to: Alexi Lubomirski and Ben Von Wong.
What he dislikes about photography: People who do it for the wrong reasons.