We think we know Singapore, but scrolling through Herwin Johari’s feed, one realises there’s so much on the island that we miss out on, during our daily rush to get things done. Founder of the aptly-named Explore Singapore feed as well, we speak to Herwin about using the EOS M5 for his social media.
Herwin Johari observes the Singaporean moments that most miss.
Your feed features fascinating vignettes of Singapore life. Could you tell me more about why you were drawn to this theme?
It began with my love for the wonderful architecture around Singapore. There are many ways to capture images of these beautiful structures and I chose Instagram as the channel to showcase the various perspectives I could think of.
While architecture can be an interesting subject, it is also rather static. I discovered the joy in capturing candid scenes of people and daily events when I realised these can never be replicated in the future, explaining why I love the latter so much.
EOS M5 | F/4.5 | ISO 200 | 1/500s
EOS M5 | F/4.5 | ISO 320 | 1/500s
You use the Canon EOS M5 for your work. Why did you chose this camera?
I’m a beginner with cameras, and apart from being lightweight and compact, the Canon EOS M5 is a very simple and straightforward device that anyone can start using within a short period of time.
EOS M5 | F/4 | ISO 200 | 1/50s
How has this helped with your work on social media?
Being an ‘explorer’ and a somewhat spontaneous photographer, the compact form of the Canon EOS M5 helps me to bring it along with me wherever I go.
Another wonderful feature of the Canon EOS M5 that I love is the ability to shoot photos remotely via my mobile phone. At times I make use of this function to creatively take photos of myself, and sometimes as a way to minimise camera shake when I’m shooting long-exposure.
EOS M5 | F/6.3 | ISO 1000 | 1/80s
What are some of the strengths of having a Canon EOS M5 over just using a smartphone?
The Canon EOS M5’s ability to be used with different types of lenses is definitely the plus factor it has over a smartphone camera. I also use the Canon EOS M5 to take long-exposure shots that a smartphone might not handle as well.
EOS M5 | F/1.8 | ISO 1000 | 1/40s
EOS M5 | F/1.8 | ISO 1000 | 1/100s
What stories, if any, are you trying to tell with your images and how has the Canon EOS M5 helped with this?
When it comes to street photography, I usually let the captured image tell the story of that moment, instead of dictating what my photos want to say. The Canon EOS M5 is fast enough to help me capture the scene at the right time.
I tend to be drawn towards capturing the emotions of people who are passionate in what they do. This could be the roadside fruits-seller, or someone who has been in his family business for decades. Very often, the lines on their face convey the story of their life.
EOS M5 | F/6.3 | ISO 320 | 1/320s
You have a staggering amount of followers on Instagram. What do you think is the appeal of your work?
I am not too sure of this. But I try my best to stay genuine in the photos I post and stories I tell.
If I had to guess, what makes it attractive is that we very often dismiss these moments around us. And by capturing these photos and sharing it in public, I help to open eyes and minds to those fleeting but interesting scenes.
EOS M5 | F/8 | ISO 200 | 1/60s
With Instagram being all about trends these days, what do you think might be the secret to your longevity?
I don’t really adhere to trends and try to be consistent with my personal branding in terms of content. Perhaps those who have followed me since Day 1 have grown accustomed to the kind of content they expect from me.
I guess my series tells a story of my experiences at that particular moment, rather than just being about expressing my creativity. And perhaps that is how my followers recognise my brand – by its authenticity.
EOS M5 | F/3.5 | ISO 320 | 1/60s
EOS M5 | F/3.5 | ISO 400 | 1/125s
For those wanting to capture some good images for their Instagram feed, what would be some of your advice for them?
If you can, bring your camera along with you wherever you go. Be attentive and conscious of your surroundings and try your best to capture these fleeting moments as you experience them.
The best thing is you can begin anywhere. Even your neighbourhood market can be a haven of interesting “pictories” that you can capture on camera. Just be courteous and ask for permission before taking a person’s photo.
EOS M5 | F/8 | ISO 100 | 1/500s
EOS M5 | F/6.3 | ISO 200 | 1/400s
For more of Herwin’s work on Instagram, you can visit his feed at @m_herwin
First published: Canon EOS World