Yes, the man behind @moderntraditional does go by a different name (although he has been called his Instagram handle more times than he can count)! At only 21 years old, Joe has been steadily making his mark in the field of photography, video production, editorials and more.
How did you first get into photography? Was there a particular point where you thought, "This is what I want to do for a living"?
When I was younger, there was a day my dad came home showing off some photos he took on a motorbike ride. In my mind, it became sort of a challenge to see if I could come up with one better so I picked up my phone and it just went from there. I don't think I ever really decided what to do for a living, but this is what I want to do right now and it's alright. No one knows what the future holds.
What is the biggest charm about capturing people and things on camera?
To me more often than not, the subject of the photograph ends up being irrelevant. It's often just a medium for me to convey what I want to convey, how I feel, what I think.
What are your top 3 tips for aspiring photographers in Malaysia?
Equipment doesn't matter, work on your ideas, learn business.
Your snapshots all have a beautifully muted, almost grungy vibe to them. Is there a particular reason you've chosen this aesthetic?
I appreciate subtlety, I like those photos that just have something about them that seems so simple and natural but also irreplaceable — that's what I strive for in my work. And I think, that look has certain associations with people that I like to hit.
Apart from photography, you've also delved into video production as well (including Cult Creative's campaign video!) — how do you constantly find inspiration for your passions?
The best inspiration is the one that feels like it comes directly from you. You take 100% ownership of that. Research is also really important. I browse a lot of media and it can really come from anything. The hard part is what you do on days where you don't feel inspired and to that I say to take a step back and look at it again another time.
What are some values you absolutely don't compromise on?
Honesty, empathy and good food.
The best inspiration is the one that feels like it comes directly from you. You take 100% ownership of that.
Biggest compliment you received as a creative?
Realizing its a lot harder to remember compliments than criticism! I don't particularly remember but whenever someone trusts you during a shoot and lets you pose them in something different and weird, that's a huge compliment in itself.
Lastly, please list 3 of your favourite local creative crushes and their IG handles that you would like to shoutout!