2016-02-01 ‘I caught the bridge dancing and swaying gracefully for the viewer’
Being named winner of the Architecture category of the Hasselblad Masters competition marks an extraordinary triumph for Swee Oh, an architect who only started to take her photography seriously from 2011 onwards as a way of documenting her projects.
“I was born in Penang, and studied architecture in Malaysia before moving to the US. I received a Masters in Architecture from Arizona State University and in 2002 moved to San Francisco to work as a designer, specialising in the field of healthcare.
“I was recording pictures of my work using a point and shoot and compact, and it wasn’t until I saw the quality of the pictures that a photographer friend was producing that I realised just how unappealing and flat my own shots were. He went on to show me some amazing images on Flickr and taught me the basics of post processing, and from that point on I was hooked. I’d found my passion and there was no turning back.”
For the past five years Swee has honed her skills by simply heading out with a camera and shooting pictures at every opportunity. She’s attended workshops, watched tutorials and has become an active member of the online photographic community. “Ultimately,” she says, “I learned to create images in my own style, while my background in architecture and art has influenced the way I interpret a building, for both fine art and commercial architecture photography.”
When Swee first encountered the Seri Wawasan Bridge in Malaysia she was struck by how the cable-stayed bridge resembled a ship’s sail, and fascinated by how it presented such a variety of forms when viewed from different angles. “My vision for the winning picture was to show how delicate and elegant the design of the bridge is by emphasising the flow of cables towards the main post,” she says. “To me it’s as though the bridge is dancing and swaying gracefully for the viewer.”
Currently shooting with a high end CSC with a tilt-shift lens, Swee’s dreams of one day of moving up to medium format, are about to come true – as each Masters Awards 2016 winner also collects a new Hasselblad camera. “I dream of all that increase in detail and dynamic range and the magic you just don’t get with a full frame camera,” she says. “The chance to work with a Hasselblad opens up a lot of opportunities to further explore my photographic ideas, and I’m excited by the thought of learning the new platform.”
Facebook: Swee Oh
See all the winning entries in Hasselblad Masters 2016 here
The ten winners will be tasked to create a new and unique set of images, using a Hasselblad Medium Format camera, embracing the theme ‘Inspire’ (coinciding with Hasselblad’s 75th anniversary) for the latest edition of the Hasselblad Masters Book. The Winners will receive their trophy and their own Hasselblad camera to keep at a special photokina 2016 ceremony in Cologne this September.