INTERVIEW WITH TIFFANY TEOH
Firstly, can you start with a little bit about yourself?
I’m a person that likes and has many creative outlets, I love to write, paint, photograph, graphic design and sew. Ever since I was little all I wanted to do is to create things but I think because I never had a chance to do so then, I’m doing it now with the freedom I get for being an adult.
How would you describe your current creative style?
Moody, seasonal and always in line with nature. I don’t stick to a certain colour theme because colours of the everyday world are constantly changing with the time and day and with the seasons.
Can you give a breakdown of how you begin your creative process?
It was very organic. It started from when my then fiance and I were backpacking. He loved to take photos of places that we go to. I was writing poetry and short stories. He started including me in his landscape shots and I started using his shots with my words. Over time we started creating more and more photographs together, always reconnecting ourselves back with nature.
Where is your favourite travel destination to shoot?
It can be anywhere really as long as there are plants wildly growing. Beaches and seasides are nice too but I think places with lush greenery are my favourites.
Is there somewhere you would love to shoot but haven’t had the chance yet?
A dessert with sand dunes!
Among all your work what is your most memorable piece?
Our pre-wedding photos. We were really particular about how we wanted our photos to look like and since we knew the style we liked we just photographed them ourselves. We shot them at two locations, one up in the alps and another right down at a Gorge. We left the house with hiking boots to get to these locations and changed in the forest. Both were very spontaneous and shot with an APS-C camera and kit lens so while they’re not of the highest quality, they’re raw and intimate and were something we made for just us. We realised we enjoyed doing this. Every fashion style photo afterwards transpired from that shoot.
What inspires your creative flow?
Sunsets! We’re spontaneous people and if we see clouds around 4pm, we’d go out to the beach to capture sunset shots. The best ones are when there are just the right amount of clouds.
Your passionate about sustainability what sparked this important cause?
I grew up in a strict household where we weren’t allowed video games or fluff magazines. The only cartoons we had were whatever was on VHS so we got sick of watching the same thing again. I was given a lot of encyclopaedia's instead of games and documentaries aired more frequently than cartoons. I learnt a lot about plants and animals from them and felt the need to conserve them. I read once that Asian elephants and tigers used to be abundant until poaching and agriculture wiped them out from my part of Malaysia. I felt sad because I couldn’t wander into the forest and spot an elephant anymore. I was born too late for that time. Sustainability is conservation and I guess there are just some things that I want to change, like species extinction.
Who would you say are your greatest influencers and inspirations?
David Attenborough is my forever inspiration. His elegant speeches, cinematic documentaries and passion for flora, fauna and conservation are unmatchable.
He is the whole package and the fact that he’s still doing this in his 90’s is an inspiration that no matter what age you are, passion dictates what you do.
You have a loyal Instagram following any advice for people trying to grow their network?
Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not just to get the followers. Don’t be pushy and make others feel guilty for not being in-line with your values and ideas. Share your ideas but don’t try to change anyone. Instagram is an online community not a parliament. Just be there to share, inspire and create and you’ll find that people who love what you do, will find you.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a creative?
Knowing when to stop. I’m constantly doing something. If I'm to be indoors, I’m sewing or drawing or photoediting. If I’m outdoors a photoshoot has to happen. Ideas are always coming into my head and being an impatient person I want to manifest those ideas as soon as I can.
Lastly, do you have any advice you would give someone who is trying to make money from their passion?
Know your product. You can’t just post pictures of yourself wearing clothes and pitch to a business. If you are your product, then develop your style, tools and work ethics. Show a brand what you can deliver would be beneficial to them. Whenever we create we like to ask ourselves, would I pay someone for this photo/styling/painting/design.