Professional photographer Justin Mott recently competed against three Singaporean amateurs… and twice, the amateurs had won.
This had taken place in the second season’s first episode of HISTORY Channel’s Photo Face-Off, which was recently aired on television screens.
Competition took place in the form of a three-round format
The competition took place in a three-round format. The first challenge was capturing a winning shot at a ONE FC boxing match, the second was shooting street style around Singapore and the third was taking pictures of mountain bikers in action.
These had really brought out the competitive streak in the photographers taking part.
Mott says his photos were better
Said a reflective Mott on his performance, “Of course I feel I should have won, as my shots were clearly better than theirs. For the first challenge, I really didn’t like any of the other photos. If I’m being honest, I thought they were very predictable.”
Continued Mott, “The one photo that won was a double exposure and it was really gimmicky. I see a lot of double exposure shots these days but typically, it’s just done, but not done well.”
The competitors in Season 2 have upped the stakes
But that said, after everything that he has seen and experienced in the competition, the professional photographer added that the competitors in Season 2 of Photo Face-Off, have taken the competition to a new level entirely.
Said Mott, “Not taking anything away from the competitions in Season 1, there were so many talented photographers in that pool – but this season is a whole new level. Many of these amateurs have won big competitions such as the Canon Photo Marathon in their respective countries.”
Shaun Tan was excited to win in Singapore
The winner of the Singapore leg of Photo Face-Off was Shaun Tan, who will now compete against the best amateur photographers from around the region.
On his win, Tan explained, “I’m really excited that I won! I went in with no expectations whatsoever, just to try my best and see how far I can push myself against two other talented amateurs and the pro. I’m proud to represent Singapore in the final and keen to pit myself against the winners from the other countries.”
Tan had beaten Mott in both the first two challenges. On this, he gushed enthusiastically, “It’s exciting, really. I looked at a lot of Justin’s work before the show began and I was very impressed by the body of work that he has produced over the years. He shoots photojournalistic stories, editorial work, commercial work, weddings, everything basically.
Continued Tan, “So I was psyched that I beat him in the first two challenges, because I was expecting his photos to blow us out of the water. Thankfully I held my own and I’m still learning from him.”
Second placed Mohammad Yusof views the competition as a learning journey
Coming in second place in Singapore, had been Mohammad Yusof bin Noor, who viewed the competition as a good learning journey for him. Said Yusof, “It’s a test for me to gauge myself against the pro and the people who share the same passion as me. But there’s still much more needed for me to learn, and in any field, it’s a never-ending learning journey to attain new knowledge.”
He continued, “Somehow, I managed to beat Justin for the first theme, despite being third amongst the three amateurs in that leg, and with that, I took it as a form of consolation. Looking at the overall picture, I felt that I could have done better, but sadly, I had succumbed to pressure. But I will never give up and will treat this as a beginning towards success.”
Nevertheless, Yusof graciously accepted defeat in the final challenge and wishes Tan all the best in the finale, where the latter will be up against the best amateur photographers from all around the region.
Tan generally does not see himself as a threat to the pros
How would Tan himself rate his photography skills, anyway? He said, “I’d say I am a solid photographer, but not at the level where I’m really giving the pros a run for their money or even proving to be a threat to them.”
Continued Tan, “Justin really showed what it takes to be a pro in the final challenge, with a panning shot that I wouldn’t have attempted because of the sheer level of technical ability required and the amount of risk involved.”
ONE FC Challenge was the hardest in Singapore
To Tan, the ONE FC challenge during the Singapore leg of the competition, had proved to be the most difficult out of the lot.
He said, “None of the competitors were used to shooting such fast-paced action and when you couple that with the time limit and the difficulties in getting the exact shot I wanted, it was honestly the most mentally draining and physically taxing one. I was drenched in perspiration after shooting the challenge, and I moved about the least out of the three competitors!”
Mott also agreed that this challenge had been the hardest one in the Singapore leg. He added, “The ONE FC challenge took away my biggest advantage. I take interesting shots because I am wiling to gain a different perspective by moving around a lot. Since we can’t get right into the ring and the photographers can only be in certain positions, it completely limits creativity. That’s why I chose a shot outside the ring – something with a mood to it.”
Mott tries to compete against himself to get his creative shots
However, Mott added that when he takes photos during Photo Face-Off, he isn’t really thinking about what the competitors would take, though.
Explained Mott, “When I shoot, I am competing against myself, trying to push myself to get something creative. The most challenging part for me is choosing that one photo to submit. I have to strike that balance between what I like and what the judges are looking for.”
In sheer disbelief whenever the amateurs beat him
But that said, he admitted that he is still in sheer disbelief when he is beaten by the amateurs. Said Mott, “I love all of them and their passion for photography, but on the show, I want to win, I need to win, and typically I feel that I deserve to win. I’m typically in disbelief and I’m confused when I lose and this sounds arrogant but when I see their photos, I feel that mine is better.”
Expect more intense challenges in upcoming episodes
And what can viewers expect from the upcoming episodes of the second season of Photo Face-Off?
Said Mott, “Expect the challenges to be more intensive and creative and expect a new look from me.”
Photo Face-Off Season 2 screens at 10pm on HISTORY Channel (StarHub TV Channel 401) on Tuesdays.
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