FOR FINE-ART FASHION photographer David Goh, the decision to pursue fashion photography was quite the journey.
About four years back, David who was then interested in character design enrolled into Temasek Polytechnic’s ‘Diploma in Game and Entertainment Technology’ course only to be bombarded with endless tutorials educating the use of programming language. Disinterest coupled with encouragement from his parents and lecturer eventually led to his departure from the course to join LASALLE, College of the Arts’s ‘Diploma in Fine Arts’.
David’s interest in photography grew during his time in LASALLE, where he was exposed to using photography as a medium. He recalled being ‘fascinated’ when introduced to his senior’s fashion photography artworks by his lecturer. He subsequently specialized in fine art photography in his second year and collaborated with one of LASALLE’s most famous fashion design graduates in recent years, Josiah Chua, for his final year project.
It was a book by German fashion photographer, Peter Lindbergh, he had picked up to read at a photography studio which he interned at that made him set on becoming a fashion photographer.
I was totally blown away by what I saw, images that were so powerful in the emotions that it conveyed, the simplicity of it and the passion that accompanied it. I was so absorbed in the visuals for the next few days and his biography made me feel understood. It was as if something rang through in my head – like an eureka moment.
… simple, natural scenes captured in a beautiful moment
These were the words David used when asked to describe the style of his images. Inspired by works of pioneering fashion and portrait photographers such as Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Norman Parkinson, Irving Penn as well as the famed father of modern photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David chooses to produce his images in a less than elaborate setup — one that only involves him, his camera and the model, with lighting courtesy of Mother Nature, all to mimic the conditions of the early days of photography, where simple, strong and memorable images are produced in most simplistic and uncomplicated settings.
To David, creating a photo is an intimate process between him and his subjects. He believes that fashion photography is not always about the clothes or the latest trends in hair and makeup. The models are in his opinion, an important factor as well. He prioritizes building rapport and trust with his subjects before every shoot. He believes that the level of communication and engagement with his subject is most vital and plays a crucial part in deciding the outcome of his shoot.
David demands realness in his pictures. He aims to capture his subjects without and beyond the façade of make-up and ‘untouchable stare’ that they give so usually on magazine covers. In the 21st century where even the most beautiful woman has to go through some form of digital surgery, David strays the pack and avoids post-processing and photo manipulation as much as he can. In other words, what David sees is what viewers get, no frills.
Besides citing works of those by Peter Lindbergh in the 90s and late American fashion photographer, Herb Ritts as major influences in the style of his images, David gets inspirations from old photographs and daily observations, such as the way light falls on a certain object and the surrounding nature. He then interpret these inspirations by recreating them in his own way in his photo shoots.
While waiting to answer the nation’s calling, David will be spending the next two months in New York (and later Paris) — shooting the models from renowned modeling agencies such as IMG Models, Ford Models and Wilhemina Models. In the future, he hopes to pursue photography as a full-time profession and shoot for magazines such as Numero, i-D, Self Service and Muse. On top of that, he would love to, one day, be offered the opportunity to have a photo shoot with a famous actor or actress.