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Submit Saturdays: Singapore-based architectural photographer Khoo Guo Jie on his love of spaces

Words:

Emily Gosling

We are thrilled to launch Submit Saturdays, a year long series of articles in partnership with Squarespace. Be it a professional work website, a shop, a social enterprise or a site that hosts a personal project, Submit Saturdays will showcase the work of creatives around the world who use the online platform Squarespace. This is a great new opportunity to share your projects and ideas with our readers.

Béton Brut is the photography studio moniker selected by Singapore-based architectural photographer Khoo Guo Jie to tie together his extensive and accomplished body of work. Focusing on spaces and architectural forms, his images are instantly beguiling and technically impressive. The careful display of his rich portfolio made him a no brainer for our Submit Saturdays feature, so we got in touch to find out how and why he shoots like he does.

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How did you get started in photography?

I started doing photography because I needed a hobby to distract myself and got myself admitted into an apprenticeship program with a dance photographer through the national arts council. I then went on to become a freelance assistant in a few commercial studios and eventually got my first gig shooting an interior space.

What sort of things do you enjoy shooting most, and why?

The majority of my work is architecture related as it is something that intrigues me a lot due to the fact that we spend a lot of our time with a building. The environment we are in has an impact on our life and I think it deserves attention.

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What do you shoot with?

I shoot with a Canon but have recently moved to the Sony A7r II. Most of my lenses are tile and shift lenses to have the correct perspective of the building or space I’m documenting. Occasionally I do work with film cameras as well from a rangefinder like the Hasselblad xpan to a point and shoot like a Ricoh Gr1s.

How does your approach differ when working on personal, rather than commissioned/commercial projects?

I prefer to present work in my own vision, and therefore I try not to differentiate a project as
being commercial or personal as that will create inconsistency. Even if there is a brief, I will try to have some form of input if possible. A project that is entirely different from my aesthetic will not turn out well as it is not part of my visual language and another photographer might be more suited for it. 

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What do you think makes a great image?

I think a great image should invoke one’s emotions or be able to give someone something more to think about.


What influences and defines the aesthetic of your work, and your site design?

Film has a huge influence on my work as I am intrigued by the amazing work of cinematographers like Mark Lee or Roger Deakins and directors like Yasujiro Ozu and Andrei Tarkovsky. For my site design, it is mostly to find the simplest and easiest way to showcase the images. 

What do you have planned for the year ahead?

I’ve recently started a new studio with another photographer (Marc Tan) working as a duo to explore our work in a different direction. I’m also working on a short film now on the neighbourhood I’m living in.

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If you host your work on a Squarespace website and would like to be featured as part of this series of articles, please head here to learn more and get in touch.

In partnership with Squarespace

Squarespace is a creation tool enabling individuals to create a great website by giving them the tools to create an elegant solution and get their voice heard in the world of online publishing. Whether for experienced designers or for someone putting together their first website, it makes forming a beautiful platform simple.

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