I’ve fallen in love with these botanical portraits from the shop What I See When I Run. Francis Ooi takes excellent photographs of what he sees during his runs with the intention of putting the photos up on his empty living room wall.
I was a bit curious about how the shop got started so I asked Francis a few questions.
Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
Singapore. I am a Creative Director at DDB Singapore, an ad agency. I take care of brands.
How and when did this photography endeavor started? How long has this been going on?
I have been fascinated with the shapes and structures of plants since I was a student in art school. But I didn’t really give it much thought. I did occasional shots here and there just to fill up my wall. I love plants but somehow I do not have the green fingers to grow them. Even a hardy cactus died on me.:)
I shifted to my new home 4 years ago. It is situated near one of Singapore’s nature reserve. And I love the forest trail there. It is quiet and peaceful, different from the hectic office demands and away from the city buzz. All you hear are the birds, insects and occasional monkeys.
I started noticing how beautiful the fallen leaves were. “The Plague” and “The Last Dance” were my earlier work. My intention was to fill up my empty living room wall. But i ended up filling the wall in my blog instead.
I am still trying to sort out my living room wall. Got a bit distracted and side-tracked. :)
When did you decide that it’s time to open a shop?
Neil Johnson, my boss and a good friend, saw my print on my office wall and asked for a copy for his home. I gave him a copy and didn’t think much of it. Years later while we were having our regular coffee session, he suggested that I sell them. Again i didn’t think much of it. One day he bought me a book by Hugh MacLeod, “Evil Plans”. And that kinda kick-start everything.
What camera do you use?
I started with the Lumix GF1 but now I am using the Olympus OMD. To be honest, that is not important. The equipment is just a tool. What’s more important is to have your own style.
What three words would you say best describe your work?
Keep it Simple. :)