Corner Member Close Up: Andrew Kua

We've got another Corner Member Close-Up photographer interview this Friday, as we get to know Andrew Kua (you may simply know him as ndroo). While the answers are mostly short-and-sweet, the interview features almost two dozen photographs. Andrew is not a 'typical' photographer, so enjoy his unique perspective on photography, along with his creative images (and enjoy the weekend - especially if it's a long weekend where you live!).

Name: Andrew Kua
Username: ndroo


Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm Andrew and I'm just a simple soon-to-be-40 guy residing in Singapore. :D I pound on computer keyboards for a living (aka software programming).

What does your username mean?

'ndroo' is just another way to spell 'Andrew'. I thought it was a clever way to spell my name when I was in secondary school and it got stuck with me since. My website's domain name used to be (still active though) but I changed it to after I fell in love with toy/plastic/analogue/Lomo cameras.

How old were you when you took your first picture with a camera; any camera? Was it any good?

Gosh. My memory is failing me! Anyway... I was in secondary school when I saw some awesome macro photos taken by a tuition teacher. What I didn't know was you need a SLR and macro lens etc to get such shots. I was inspired and went spend some pocket money on a film compact camera... went home and fired away real close at flowers etc. Needless to say that I sold off the camera when I went to the lab and was told that all the photos were blurred. Hahaha! That's how my first love with photography died (almost instantly).

What was it about photography that made you want to become a photographer? Why do you take photographs?

I needed another way to kill time apart from gulping down tons of beer. Really. It all started in a Mexican pub. I was gulping beer and saw a bunch of guys next table fiddling with SLRs/dSLRs. I went home telling myself that I wanna pick up the hobby and the rest was history. Why I take photos? It is cheaper (and healthier) than beer! Okay... seriously... in the beginning it was just to pick up where I left off (refer to the above question). I used to try very hard to get good/better photos and wanted the photos to impress people who look at them. Then later I hated myself for that and now... I take photos to satisfy myself. If others love them... that will be a big bonus. I've had people asking me why I don't give a damn about not having those perfectly focused, exposed and composed photos anymore. Hahaha! Well... I still love those but let's just say that I love imperfect ones better. :D From the photos accompanying this interview... you probably can tell that most of them are done using Lomography/analogue/toy cameras. :D

How long has photography been a passion for you? When, where and how did it start?

It started at the end of 2003. When, where and how... refer to the above question. :P

What is your background/training in photography?

I've not attended any training in photography. When I started, I just lurked around online photography forums trying to pick up a thing or two about the basics and spent more time fiddling with the buttons and dials on the camera to figure out what they do. I'm a lazy bum who spend more time snapping away without knowing much of the technicalities and functions. :P


What was your very first camera?

Forget about the film compact I mentioned in question 3. My first camera was a Sony DSC-P1 that I bought for holiday snapshots. My first camera when I got into this hobby was an Olympus C5050z. My first camera when I went into analogue/toy/Lomo photography was a Lomo Frogeye (that I hate).

What equipment is in your camera bag now? What pieces of equipment will be added to the collection next?

In my bag? Hmmm. It varies. Usually I'll have a digital (either my Olympus E-P1, E-PL1 or my Pentax K-x) and at least 2 analogue cameras. It is hard to specify which analogue ones but most of the time... the Lomo LC-A+, Holga/Diana and another plastic 'toy' will be in the bag. Next camera? Hmm... I'm drooling over the yet to be available Fujifilm X100 but I'm broke! Hahaha! Well... I do have a Diana F+ clone (Parisian) from Urban Outfitters on the way to me while I'm typing this.

You are asked to choose one lens from the following group: 14mm wide angle, 50mm prime, 200mm telephoto, 105mm macro. You could only use one of these for the rest of your photographic life. Which would you choose and why?

It has to be the 50mm. I'm not into shooting landscapes, birds or insects anymore... so a 50mm will be just nice for my random shots. :D Oh and of course more photos of my son. Can I choose to use a Lensbaby instead?

Bonus Questions

Tell us your set-up, thoughts and tips/tricks of a particular photo.

Hmm. I can't answer this because for the type of photography I love (and spending most time with)... I don't really think or spend much time composing. I'm talking about toy cam/Lomographic cameras. I will just load the film depending on the type of lighting available and snap away happily. Okay... to answer this question... maybe I'll just pick one that I can remember putting more effort into...

One of the very few photos that I actually put more effort into getting. I saw this guy (in Japan) walking and suddenly had the idea of doing multiple shots and merge them together. The problem was ... I was using a Lensbaby! I had only the Lensbaby 2 with me during that trip (a crazy idea of using only the Lensbaby for the trip) and it wasn't easy to hold the lens (and camera) still that long. Somehow I made it (perhaps I didn't drink too much the night before) and it wasn't too hard to blend the images together with the guy in different positions. :D

Have you ever Photoshoped/edited a photo but told others you haven't?

Nope. I don't see what's wrong with editing photos. It is just that I'm lazy and usually do very simple and fast edits to them. I don't see any need to hide the fact (of a photo being edited).

Do you like your photos most of the time or dislike them most of the time? Why do you think that is?

In the past... I used to dislike most of them (when shooting only digital). Then when I went into toy cam/Lomo stuffs, I find that I love most of the stuffs (except when a roll of totally under/over exposed film appears) I do. I find blur is beautiful! Hahaha! I find messy, overlapping, badly composed photos beautiful! Okay... now call the doctor!

Have you ever taken the EXIF/exposure info from any of the critiques and tried it yourself?

Nope. I'm just too lazy. :P

Do you think that photographers take photos because they can't paint; or do painters paint because they aren't good photographers?

They are two totally different things and don't see the relation. Sorry.

What are your favorite places/subjects to photograph? Why?

I love doing street photography in Japan! Japanese are very camera friendly people and after maybe 4 (or is it 5) trips there... I'm still dreaming of the next.

You are given a dream assignment to photograph one location in the world. Where/what would it be? When would you shoot it? Why that place and that time?

Japan! When? Ermmm... anytime! I'd just go around doing street photography. Why Japan? See answers to the previous question. :D

You are given a dream assignment to choose one person in the world that you can photograph. Who would you choose? Where would you photograph him/her? Why that person and setting?

Hmmm. How about a Playboy model? Hahaha! Nah. Just joking. I'd pick the Chinese singer/songwriter/actress Faye Wong. She has the kind of style and 'coolness' that I love.

Who are your biggest photographic influences? Why? What about their work influences your work?

None in particular. All the wonderful photos I see... in print or online from anyone in the world... inspires me.

What are your goals for your photography?

Ermm... owning more cool cameras? Hahaha! I do not have any goal for this hobby of mine. I just live and enjoy every moment when there is a camera in my hands.

What photo did you take that you are the most proud of up to this point in your photographic journey?

Tough one! I've never been really proud of any photo I took. LOL. If I really have to choose, it has to be a photo I took of my newborn baby back in 2007. I was so excited and my hands were trembling when I first saw him. I had with me a compact camera and snapped a couple of grainy photos but each time I look at them... I can still feel the excitement. Hahaha!

Apart from that... it has to be some of the Holga (and sometimes Diana) cameras that I 'dressed up' through these years. I simply love working on such things but it is hard finding time to work one now that my little boy is taking up most of my time. All these cameras were sold in a charity sale some time ago.

You can check out photos of the cameras in my blog here.

What was your most embarrassing moment while taking pictures?

It has to be this situation years ago when I first bought an old Diana camera. Never shot 120 film before... I took the newly acquired camera on a trip to Shanghai. I was squatting in a corner... in a temple... trying to figure out how to load the film into the camera! Hahaha! My friends were wondering what was wrong with me.

What was the most dangerous thing (or worst thing) you ever did to get 'The Shot'?

I skipped a yummy short buffet lunch and walked pretty far to get this shot while I was in Hokkaido years ago. By the time I got back to the restaurant, the rest of the tour group were boarding the bus.

What do you do with your photographs?

I used to sell some of them as stock photos but now most of them just sit in my hard disk, published on my blog... and those of my little boy are printed.

The Corner

What initially drew you into Corner?

Friendly people! Yeah. I find most of the people in the Corner are friendly, helpful and nice. Really. I swear!

What keeps your hanging around the Corner?

Tim told me to. Hahaha! Nah. Joking. Refer to the answer above.

What section of the Corner is your most frequented or favorite?

None in particular. I lurk around any section depending on my mood. :P

What advice would you give other members of PhotographyCorner?

Advice? Ermm... I need some from the other members! Anyway... I guess it will be 'just enjoy what you do!' :D

If you could meet any member of the Corner, but could ask them only one question, who would you want to meet and what would that question be?

Of course Mr. Admin! I'd ask him to buy me a beer. :D


What thing about yourself as an artist do you want to be remembered for?

I don't consider myself one so I don't want anyone to remember me for anything. Really.

If you knew it were your last day with your equipment, whether it be by choice or not, what would you photograph and why?

Definitely more photos of my son. Hmm... okay... maybe my wife as well (in case she is reading this!).

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Fri, 2011–05–27 17:17