In Conversation: Photography Studio Human + Space On What Makes A Good Interior Image

Whether it’s on the glossy pages of a magazine or on Instagram on a smartphone, interior photography has been a primary source of inspiration for countless homeowners around the world. As such, the importance of a good interior image cannot be understated. Not only does it showcase the vision of an interior designer, but a photo with the right styling and lighting can go a long way to convey the homeliness of an abode. For Cheng Kit, founder of Human + Space, photographing any space is like telling a story, creating a narrative, and crafting a visual tale with his lens. Here, he shares more on how he works to capture the homes he’s been invited to while navigating the balance between different lighting sources in a space.

How did Human + Space start?

Human + Space is the serendipitous fusion of my expertise in the photo and video industry with an unwavering admiration for exceptional design, spanning from product and graphic design to the intricacies of interior and architectural work. In 2021, I found the perfect synergy to bring together my skills and passions under one umbrella, giving rise to Human + Space.

The name pays homage to the sanctuaries where we find comfort, solace, and inspiration. It embodies my goal of capturing stories that go beyond visuals, touching the emotional essence of each moment when one is in the space.

Moreover, the term "space" holds a special place in my creative journey. Back in 2016, I embarked on a cinematic odyssey through CKSPACE, my YouTube Channel. CKSPACE became a canvas, a virtual "space" where I expressed creativity and thoughts through filmmaking and storytelling. The resonance of this connection with the word "space" naturally led me to choose the name Human + Space.

How would you describe your work?

My approach embodies minimalism. I aim to distill spaces to their core, eliminating excess while emphasizing the interplay of light, design, and materials. Through a deliberate play of lines and the manipulation of light and shadow, my goal is to evoke a profound sense of tranquility within each photograph.

Beyond simply capturing spaces, my aspiration is to craft visual nar"My aspiration is to craft visual narratives that resonate deeply with viewers and clients alike."ratives that resonate deeply with viewers and clients alike. I strive to highlight the distinct features of every design, showcasing the harmonious coexistence of humans and objects within these spaces. "My aspiration is to craft visual narratives that resonate deeply with viewers and clients alike."

 

What are some of your favourite kinds of interiors or design aspects to shoot?

I find myself drawn to a variety of captivating interior designs that embody simplicity at their core. I have a profound appreciation for spaces characterized by clean lines and functional aesthetics. However, my passion extends beyond minimalism. I'm fascinated by well-curated spaces that feature a few iconic designer pieces serving as focal points, creating a sense of visual allure and sophistication.

One aspect that never fails to captivate me is the use of uncommon natural materials. I'm deeply inspired by the richness and uniqueness these materials bring to a space. Whether it's the organic texture of reclaimed wood, the timeless elegance of natural stone, or the warmth of handcrafted textiles, these elements add depth and character to the environments I capture.

Do you approach each project differently? Tell us more about your process.

I approach each project as a unique opportunity to tell a distinct story. The process begins with a deep understanding of the space and its intended purpose, collaborating closely with our clients and designers. For instance, shooting for Sol Luminaire involves a different focus, where I carefully consider how lighting interacts with the environment.

My workflow typically starts with understanding the client's vision, often supplemented by 3D renderings, floor plans, and site images. From there, I plan the composition, lighting, and angles to bring out the essence of the space. While maintaining a consistent style, I tailor my approach to accentuate the distinctive features of each project, reacting to spontaneous scenarios on the spot for unique and memorable shots.

What’s a good interior image to you?

For me, a great interior image is like a short story - it's compact yet packs a punch, capturing the essence of the space. Beyond the visuals, it should pull you in emotionally, inviting you to experience the ambience and narrative and making you want to be in the space. It's not just about snapping spaces; it's about crafting a visual tale that beckons viewers to step into the frame and feel the vibe.

How has working with Sol Luminaire influenced your work?

In photography, light and shadow stand as the essential keystones. The journey of working with Sol Luminaire has been truly transformative, utilising light from a functional necessity into a wellspring of inspiration via photos. Photographing indoor lighting is an ongoing challenge, where the result could either elevate or compromise the atmosphere. The delicate art of capturing the right colour temperature becomes paramount, especially considering the sensitivity of lights to the camera.

This has been a personal quest for me, a quest to discover the most authentic and flattering way to showcase an image while highlighting the unique qualities of Sol Luminaire's lights. But I have to say, the consistency and quality of their light source simplify the process when it comes to navigating the colours and exposure when editing.

How do you utilise lighting in your work?

For the majority of my projects, I prefer the authenticity of natural light, aiming to mirror what homeowners experience daily. I personally love the sunray spilling in, softened by different types of curtains the designer chose, or creating lines of shadows that blend in with the interior.

When it comes to Sol Luminaire shoots, where lighting takes centre stage, it's a different ballgame. I have to navigate the bal"It's not just about showcasing design; it's about how each luminaire is deliberately placed for different purposes."ance between artificial lighting and the spaces they grace. It's not just about showcasing design; it's about how each luminaire is deliberately placed for different purposes. And also to highlight how the lights add more value to the space by creating the overall ambience when lights are needed to illuminate a space. "It's not just about showcasing design; it's about how each luminaire is deliberately placed for different purposes."

Visiting different homes, is there a common interior theme in Singapore? What do you foresee the trends to be in 2024?

For the past few years, I’ve been seeing interior themes featuring plenty of curves, earthy paint colours, and light wood elements.

I'm not really one to actively seek out what's considered 'in' at the moment because I just can't keep up! For me, trends are just part of the design journey, maybe sparking inspiration for some. But what I truly appreciate are designs that withstand the test of time. It would be fantastic to see more steel furniture, a hint of Victorian ceilings, and maybe some lively bursts of colour in furniture choices in 2024.

Any spaces to check off your photography bucket list?

Absolutely! My photography bucket list is endless, but one big goal is to dive into more overseas projects. There's something enchanting about documenting spaces and materials shaped by different cultures and environments. I'm itching to capture the unique stories that designs tell beyond Singapore; places where every nook and cranny speaks a cultural and environmental language of its own. Looking forward to capturing those narratives through my lens.

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