Necessities: Dexter Cheng
Zayyar: Tell us a little bit about yourself Georgia, what do you do and where are you based?
Dexter: Hey! I’m Dexter, I’m 20, born in Malaysia but I’m now based in Auckland finishing off a Bachelor of Communications degree at AUT, I’m also a photographer and videographer as well as that I run a store selling film cameras I source from Japan and Hong Kong called Analog Incorporations.
Zayyar: Where have been some of your favourite places to shoot when travelling?
Dexter: I lived in Hong Kong for a number of years before moving to Auckland and I do several trips back in the year but I have to say every time I go back it still remains as my top photography/shopping destination. Hong Kong is constantly changing so every time I go back there’s always something new to shoot. It just never gets boring. Thailand is a good runner up though!
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How did you personally get interested in photography? How did you first get a camera?
Dexter: I was originally interested in cinematography which I am still interested in till this day but I got given EOS 1000D by my grandmother it was a hand me down from a cousin of mine. When I got it I was really excited to get started on filming, but upon receiving it I found out that the camera couldn't do video so I turned my attention to photography and thats how I accidentally stumbled into the world of photography.
Zayyar: What’s your current camera set up for photo and video?
Dexter: So I have quite a few setups and with running my store I’m blessed to always be shooting and testing something different but there are a few cameras that remain the same.
My go-to film camera has to be the Contax T2, it’s on me at all times. For a lot of my photography work I use a Mamiya RB67 with 90mm F3.5 or if I’m shooting on digital I use a Canon 5D Mark IV and as for video I’m currently using a Canon C200 as my main workhorse. I also use my Nishika N8000 quite a bit for 3D photos.
Zayyar: Do you enjoy shooting film or digital more and what are the differences to you personally?
Dexter: As cliche as this will sound I enjoy shooting film a lot more for the process. It slows you down and actually makes you think about what you’re going to shoot. With digital I find myself shooting aimlessly and hoping that one shot will turn out to be good when I go through them on Lightroom. The main thing I learnt from shooting film is to shoot with intent it makes you appreciate the image so much more. There’s also no better feeling than getting an email with all your scans from The Black and White Box haha.
Zayyar: Where do you look for inspiration with photoshoots, do you have a few favourite photographers you enjoy?
Dexter: I get a lot of my inspiration from the Instagram explore page it is quite a useful tool to keep me away from doing the same thing over and over again, it pushes me to try new styles of photography, I also take a lot of inspiration from movies. There are a few photographers that I look at, @aidencullen1, @charlie__chops, @takubeats and last but not least the homies Geoff @southsides and Tiori @ttspooner, they’ve been crushing the game and I’m always in awe with what they do.
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Zayyar: What would be some advice to someone who wants to get into photography for example what gear should they look at buying to start off?
Dexter: The best advice I can give is to just start shooting! Progression will never happen if you don't start shooting. I've made a lot of mistakes on my journey with photography and I've learnt something new from each mistake. Don't worry about the gear when you start off, I had a $100 hand me down SLR that I learnt everything on. when you're ready to make the investment in gear, always buy the best that you can get! Get something that you can learn and progress further!
Zayyar: So we got you to pick out five of your essential photography/travel items, could you explain what each one is, where you got them from and what they mean to you personally?
1. Contax T2
It’s my go-to travel camera and have it with me everywhere I go! I bought it in Hong Kong as a gift for myself as a replacement for my Olympus MJU and I managed to find one with all original packaging for a good price so there was no way I was going to pass it up.
2. Mamiya RB67 + 90mm F3.8
It’s my main workhorse for a lot of the shoots I do now, I traded another camera for it and it was probably the best decision I've made. This camera will be remaining in my collection for a really long time.
3. Portra 400
I always have several rolls of Portra 400 on me, it’s my go-to film for everything, it’s a really forgiving film, you really can’t go wrong with the way this film reproduces skin tones. Definitely an essential for me.
4. Dickies 874
I’ve always been hooked to straight legged workwear pants and I’ve been wearing the 874’s for the past 4 years. I’d say it’s one of the best pants to exist, I can do anything in them and not have to worry about them getting ripped. Dress it up or dress it down, they still look good.
5. Converse One Stars
People that know me will know that I’m a bit of a sneakerhead, the past couple years I’ve been obsessed with Converse One Stars. Tyler, The Creator’s Golf Le Fleur collab in specific, I’ve been adding one pair of each Golf Le Fleur drop to my collection. The One Stars is definitely an essential silhouette in my wardrobe.
Our Necessities series is for creatives and individuals to share what they carry everyday and why. Think you might be a good fit? E-mail us.
Interview: Zayyar Win Thein
Photos: Andrei Talili