Interview With Lee Ching Kai From Malaysia

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Lee Ching Kai

Lee Ching Kai gets his inspiration from several local photographers in Malaysia. Now, he inspires many with his award-winning masterpieces!

Interview with the 2021 MUSE Photography Awards Winner - Lee Ching Kai

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?

I am a freelance photographer, specializes in wedding photography and commercial photography in Malaysia. Other than that, I also take pictures of newborns, corporate, families, prewedding, maternal, and many others.

I only got into photography professionally about 3 years ago. It was due to the inspiration I received from the local photographers’ stunning images and marvelous works. Their works make me want to develop new skills, and ever since that day, photography has been my passion.

As of now, I have managed to win over 30 global photography awards. They are from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, and others. As such, some local news has published my winnings on their radio stations and newspapers. My award-winning images can also be seen at various galleries, magazines, and blogs.

2Where did you study photography?

I learnt photography by myself. I studied the skills from the Internet and hands-on experiences, ranging from shooting portrait images to capturing landscape photographs.

3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?

My first shot was around three years ago. I was experimenting with my skills by shooting some portrait images. It was challenging as I did not have sufficient experience and skills. However, with continuous practice and learning, my photography is slowly improving in a short period. In addition, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who has helped me throughout my photography skills. Be it my friends, family, and models. I truly appreciate your time and effort. I have never been more thankful.

4What equipment do you use?

I am using Canon EOS 80D camera.

5What do you hope to achieve?

I hope to become someone who enjoys shooting images as the process of capturing unforgettable moments. From the joyful smile of the people to the beauty of the arts, I hope to bring joy to people through photographs.

6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?

It would be the compliments I received from my beloved parents. They have encouraged me not to give up, and they offered me wise advice at times.

7What inspires your unique storytelling?

Besides being a photographer, I am also an author, and I have seven published books. I have won multiple international book awards and writing competitions. I have been featured in local news several times as well. Somehow, throughout these few years, I have incorporated the sense of storytelling capability, which I have been using to write books, into photography. From there, I tried to tell unique stories and deliver meaningful messages via images.

8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?

Creative. Different. Positive.

9Congratulations! As the winner of the MUSE Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?

First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to those who have helped me in my photography journey. The encouragement, the words of appreciation, and the positive vibes from these people have pushed me forward. These awards aren't just about me, they are also about the positive sides of the photography community. I truly thank those who supported me during this wonderful journey of me.

10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2021 MUSE Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

One of the winning works is entitled "Fusion of Martial Art and Nature". The series is about the integration of martial arts and the forces of nature. I chose this concept as I started learning Taekwondo when I was twelve. As a black belt holder, I have participated in various competitions and managed to win many district, state, and national championships. With such experiences, I would like to tell a story about how this martial art can fuse with the forces of nature by using the Taekwondo movements, the belt colors, and the growing plant as the significant elements in such a concept. This series has won the Silver Award in the Special Category - Minimalism Photography in the 2021 Muse Photography Awards.

My next winning image is entitled "Multi-angled, Multi-opacity, 360-degree Tree". It is about the concept of presenting the pictures of the trees when from multiple perspectives. I want to deliver a message that anything can become marvelous when viewed from different perspectives. Therefore, if we view our lives from many perspectives, we might see wonders too. Such series has won the Silver Award in the Fine Art Photography - Photomanipulation.

On the other hand, my entry entitled "Singing Bird" won the Gold Award and Silver Award in Fine Art Photography in this competition. I use this image to capture the viewers' attention. I let them focus on the tiny bird while the entire image consists of a river, the bank, and the verdure. Such a concept draws the audience's attention towards the birds instead of focusing on the entire image. This concept is more towards the paradoxical logic of concentrating upon one tiny thing while at the same time enjoying the beauty of the entirety of the image as a whole.

11How has winning an award developed your career?

Winning an award indeed helps me as a freelance wedding and commercial photographer. For photographers, winning the award means they are able to photograph an image that has captured people's attention. The pictures showed the wow factors, essence, and genuineness of photography. Aside from that, they must also develop core values in their careers, such as discipline and creativity.

12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.

Michael Kenna.

13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?

Be bold and be creative.

14 What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?

I would advise them to follow their passion. There are times when things might not seem possible. However, as they move forward, they'll see miracles.

15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Throughout my life journey, I have been learning to focus like a laser upon the things that I intend to finish. As long as I have something in my mind to accomplish, I will concentrate upon it without even the slightest distractions. I also appreciate the words of goodness from my friends./p>

16 How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?

I try to accept new ideas because knowledge is so broad. We can't master and learn everything in a day. Therefore, I try to let the new ideas flow and change them into something useful. I have tried it, and it helped to improve my skills.

17Anything else you would like to add to the interview?

I'm expressing my deepest gratitude to those who have helped me in my photography journey. I also thank the Muse Photography Awards team for organizing a meaningful competition for photographers worldwide. This competition has helped me see more stunning images from winners all across the globe, and I have learned so much throughout this process. All these experiences have helped me grow as a person. Without those people who have selflessly encouraged me all this while, I will never have the chance to get the awards in this competition.

Winning Entries

Singing Bird | 2021

Interview With Lee Ching Kai From Malaysia

The bank is clothed in verdure, but it is the bird, singing loudly upon the rock on the surface of the river, that catches the eye.
(read more at MUSE Photography Awards)

Lee Ching Kai

Lee Ching Kai gets his inspiration from several local photographers in Malaysia. Now, he inspires many with his award-winning masterpieces!