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Fashion

Spotlight: Meet The Up And Coming Indie Fashion Photographer 

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Nicole Ngai Photo: Aga Kuo

If indie fashion is your thing, chances are you might have seen the works of the talented 22-year-old Nicole Ngai.

A fashion photography sophomore at London College of Fashion, Ngai’s experimental style of work has caught the attention of a handful of industry titles such as King Kong, Staple and Bullet who have all feature her editorials.

Her underground vibe (think hairstyles that range from a nuclear green dye job to a cropped-mullet hybrid) is also primed for her riveting subjects-slash-muses who include rising New York Club Kid supremo Scotty “Sussi” Sussman and the London stylist Luke Smith.

That sort of shtick is exactly what she wants to bring to the photography scene here. “(It’s) a different youthful perspective to viewing things with more diversity in terms of casting,” she says.

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One of the images that Ngai shot for the September Issue of Female.

Her signature dreamy-meets-pulp aesthetic is also the reason why Female was attracted to feature Ngai as one of the three emerging local photographers to lens F/W ’17’s nostalgia-tinged collections in the September issue.

That outing — her first for a local fashion title — saw her interpreting a laid back tropical setting of old Singapura featuring looks from Gucci, Fendi, Marni and Tod’s. Here, we get Ngai to share more about herself and some of her favourite work.

The Female Questionnaire

 A nickname that my friends and family call me by is… I don’t allow any nicknames >_<.

One word I would use to describe my photography style is… “individualistic”.

The last thing I did before this interview is... to have a cup of tea and a cigarette.

My photography hero is… Juergen Teller.

My dream photo shoot would be… travelling around Asia to document individual, unique and alternative people who have been typically shunned by the mainstream collectivist culture. I’m currently planning that for my final-year dissertation in university.

The biggest highlight of my career as a photographer would be… shooting Charles Jeffrey’s Fall’s ’17 lookbook. That would count as the biggest job I’ve done. But my focus tends to be more on the journey of learning and meeting people.

One song that gets me in the mood when I am shooting is… B.F.O.D.A.A.S by Mall Grab.

My biggest inspiration would be… my creative and talented friends.

My spirit animal is… I never given it any thought.

One surprising fact about myself is… I sometimes style my own photo shoots.

If I’m not a photographer, I would be a… painter.

The next big project I am working on is… the cover editorial for the second issue of independent magazine Staple which will be released very soon. It’s a very intelligent and experimental publication and it’s made by Singaporeans too. You can pre-order it now at www.staplemagazine.com.

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“This was from a test shoot with (emerging Singapore model) Layla Ong last year when I was still figuring myself out as a photographer. Layla had just been signed as a model. It’s a nostalgic reminder of how much we’ve grown and achieved, plus this image was featured on i-D which was cool.”
“This was the first ever shot I captured using a medium format camera. I’d left the multiple exposure switch on by accident which resulted in this beautiful mistake. I shoot most of my work on medium format now.”
“This is a Polaroid of my good friends Luke and Borys. They style most of my shoots but this time I was shooting them as my subjects. We get along really well, working together and partying together.” Like this? Meet the documentary photographer exploring a softer side of her subjects, here’s why you need to own the “alien” sneakers, and Tiffany & Co. has a super stylish homeware collection by Reed Krakoff.