Featured Artist: AikBeng Chia (ABC)

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Photographer & Cinemagraph-er 

Also known as ABC, AikBeng Chia started photographing in 2008 using an iPhone 2G.  In 2009, he began taking photography more seriously and has been actively shooting since; mainly on a mobile phone, but more recently with his digital or occasionally film cameras. ABC is a key contributor to EverydayAsia on Instagram, where he has a growing fan base that includes photography fanatics. His images have been exhibited and published internationally, and ABC currently works at a digital-centric global advertising agency in the Southern hemisphere, or as he likes to call it, “a little red dot on the map called Singapore.”

Photography

With a passion for street, portrait and urbanscape photography, ABC’s style is distinct and carries across all genres. “Some of my favorite photos explore the relationship based on the concept of, The Space Between Us.”

Diptic ABC
The Space Between Us is a musing on the bond between the living and urban spaces. One part loud, rash, unpredictable. The other, subtle, calm, emcompassing. Both always a part of each other but in one moment, this space forms a connected whole.”

Cinemagraphs

Describing himself as an extrovert, ABC has mastered the art of photographing people on the streets of Singapore. He has an affinity for capturing the essence of people; their emotions and beauty expressed in a single shot. This unique style comes through in his newest passion, cinemagraphs.

ABC discovered Cinemagraphs in 2011 when he first saw the work of NYC fashion photographers, Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck. He describes how, “Back then, to create a cinemagraph was not easy. It was a lot of work and time consuming. Only recently, about a year ago, I learned about Flixel.” ABC began creating cinemagraphs in mid-March of this year, and since, has become one of the most dynamic creators in the Flixel community.

When asked what interests him about living photos, ABC says, “Cinemagraphs are very hypnotic. In many ways they are calm, but they can be creepy too depending on how it’s made.” Check out one of ABC’s creepy cinemagraphs below!

Heap Seng Leong Coffeeshop

Located at Block 10, North Bridge Road, Heap Seng Leong Coffeeshop is one of the oldest remaining coffeeshops in Singapore.

“As the country progress, more and more hipster cafes are popping up all over Singapore. Having a coffee there is like going back in time; nothing has changed. It’s filled with characters from all walks of life.”

ABC created a series of living photos shot at Heap Seng Leong Coffeeshop (HSLC), capturing the intricateness and unique vibe of the restaurant. “The idea came about one day when I was documenting the Coffeeshop. I saw an old man and his son preparing coffee and toast. Little details of the coffeeshop caught my eyes, like the condensed milk can lid that they use it to scrape off the burnt surface on charcoal grilled bread. The lind was spinning by itself, hung from a string. The scene was perfect and captivating.”

In ABC’s cinemagraphs, patrons are found hunched over tables and leaning against tiled walls, reading the newspaper and drinking coffee out of plain white mugs. Orange and red chairs add pops of colour to a rather grey scene. Each cinemagraph tells it’s own story, and when woven together, they create a beautiful masterpiece. Each person is a unique character; their personalities exposed through the camera lens and highlighted through subtle motion.

Heap Seng Leong Coffeeshop from AikBengChia on Vimeo.

One word to describe ABC’s style, would be raw. He captures real emotion and real moments. He shows the beauty of humans in their everyday lives. With a distinct photojournalistic style, it’s almost shocking to see these images come to life.

DBS Marine Regatta

HSLC isn’t AikBeng’s only cinemagraph project. The DBS Marine Regatta is Singapore’s biggest water sports festival. In partnership with the Singapore Dragon Boat Association (SDBA), the event is over two weekends long, in conjunction with the South East Asian Games 2015’s dragon boat races.

 

ABC has been commissioned by DBS BANK for the past years to cover the event annually. This year the committee loved his most recent cinemagraph work, more specifically, his cinemagraph short film, which he produced using Flixel Cinemagraph Pro. So, this year, ABC covered the event using cinemagraphs. He created a collection of sea inspired cinemagraphs just for DBS, highlighting the best in a video compilation, including images of t-shirts and flags billowing in the wind, flowing water and busy paddlers.

DBS Marina Regatta 2015 from AikBengChia on Vimeo.

Inspiration

What inspires ABC? Everyday life. The little details in our surroundings that we normally miss or take for granted. His creative process is highly based off of observation. He spends most of his time observing details, subjects and objects that he can connect with. Though he has been commissioned by corporate companies, models and couples to create cinemagraphs, he loves to use Flixel for personal projects and short films as well.

ABC’s tips to other cinemagraph creators: Frame your cinemagraph like a photo. An old friend of mine, Sion Fullana from NYC, once said.. “Look around you and fall in love with little details.”  Lastly, a tripod is very important. Don’t leave home without it. With his iPhone 6, Leica Dlux (Typ 109) and tripod, anything is possible.

 

(Flixel Marketing Manager)

When Cassandra was six, she was asked to share a story with her class…and hasn’t stopped telling them since. Now she does so through photography, video and writing, but with the same sense of wonder - and love for glitter - as her inner kid.