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Meet Aetll: The Anti-Perfection Portrait Photographer

Wanting to be known only by her moniker, Aetll, this 22-year-old photographer's hauntingly beautiful photos are a signature of her style.

Like many of her peers, this photogenic 22-year-old peppers her Instagram feed @aetll with artfully taken images of herself sporting that curious brand of ’90s cybergoth-meets-street wear chic so favoured by Gen Z creative types. She also prefers to be known by her Instagram handle (it’s her initials), requesting to not have her name published.

aetll photographer

On Aetll: Giambattista Valli x H&M wool jacket, H&M. All other clothes and accessories, Aetll’s own

Before you dismiss her as another social media-weaned alt girl though, her account is equally replete with photographs of unconventional looking – or unconventionally styled – models that she takes in her personal time. The most striking of them: poetic beauty shots in which the subjects are locked in an emotive gaze; their raw vulnerability immortalised and having its own transfixing effect (and it’s got nothing to do with the horror movie makeup some of them are intentionally slathered in). It’s an aesthetic that the Lasalle College of the Arts fashion media student says she has developed through “lots of trial and error”.

aetll photographer

Image: Aetll

Picking up photography at age 19 – she majored in it as a communication design student at Temasek Polytechnic – she has set out to capture intimately that quality so prized by her generation: that of unfettered realness. “I always try to make a connection with the subject before shooting… The aim is to create a space where they feel like they can be fully themselves and that the camera is but an extension of my eye,” says the Petra Collins fan.

aetll photographer

Image: Aetll

It might explain why she’s popular with young Singapore labels as well as friends such as the independent fashion collective Why Not?, for whom she documented its buzzy debut showcase in June. Going by her views on photo editing, expect more to come calling: “I believe in raw, organic beauty and would never want someone to feel uncomfortable in their own skin. We all deserve to feel  beautiful.”

Photography Vee Chin Art Direction Jonathan Chia Hair Leong Lim, using Tokio Inkarami Makeup Priscellia Wong, using Nars Cosmetics

This story first appeared in the November 2019 issue of FEMALE.

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