Saturday February 8, 2014
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Silhouette (@mr_darcy).  Pictures by Joey Mah, Koyuki Inagaki and Sean Jesudasan.Silhouette (@mr_darcy). Pictures by Joey Mah, Koyuki Inagaki and Sean Jesudasan.KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 — These days, it’s hard to ignore (or, indeed, avoid) these square-shaped pictures capturing the minutiae of everyday lives via our smartphones. Yes, Instagram is here to stay.

But beyond the immediacy and self-gratifying appeal of the mobile app, can these profusion of images be considered art? These moments that are captured and endlessly shared -– are they timely and timeless, or merely a waste of time?

Marketed as the first mobile photography exhibition in Malaysia, Chasing Squares may provide some answers. The exhibition will offer different points of view of “what we chase in life” by seven Instagram photographers (more commonly known as “Instagrammers”).

Curated by award-winning international wedding photographer Zung (www.THEPHOTOZ.com), the month-long exhibition unveils on February 18 at D6 Sentul East, Kuala Lumpur.

In this first part of two articles, we chat with specialty coffee purveyor Joey Mah (@mr_darcy), graphic designer Koyuki Inagaki (@koyoox) and writer Sean Jesudasan (@seanjesudasan).

Jump! (@mr_darcy) (left). Woman’s back (@mr_darcy) (right)Jump! (@mr_darcy) (left). Woman’s back (@mr_darcy) (right)

Joey Mah (@mr_darcy)

How do you choose which pictures to post?

I usually post when I want to, not when I have to. I like my pictures to tell stories and to connect.

What’s the favourite picture you’ve taken?

It has to be tomorrow’s picture. Clichéd, I know.

Do you only follow your friends on Instagram, or have you met other people through the app?

Tricky question as I don’t follow most of my friends as I don’t link my Facebook account with my Instagram account. So, generally people don’t really know I use Instagram.

I have met people through Instagram and some have become close friends. I also met Joe Chia, one of my Thisappear (a pop-shop in Bangsar) partners, via Instagram before I got to know him in person.

Did I mention I am in a relationship with an Instagrammer as well? Yes, we met on Instagram and dated for about a year before we got together!

How did this Chasing Squares Instagram community come about?

It happened when fellow Instagrammers @mnf_, @tangerine_yin and I met up for coffee. We decided that we should hold an Instagram exhibition and dig out all the good Instagrammers in Malaysia. And now, we are doing it.

Has Instagram changed how you view the world around you?

Yes, it has given me a lot of reason to travel and to meet people. To connect. To share not only what we like, but also what we see and what we love. I am always inspired by people on Instagram such as @jasonmpeterson and @alice_gao. Very different but both so good.

What do you hope to achieve with Chasing Squares?

We would like to show others what a mobile camera can do, as well as the community we are building and promoting.

Woman and branches (@koyoox) (left). Wall of calligraphy (@koyoox) (right)Woman and branches (@koyoox) (left). Wall of calligraphy (@koyoox) (right)

Koyuki Inagaki (@koyoox)

Why do you use Instagram?

I started it hoping to network with graphic designers across the globe. I knew that a lot of designers are active on Instagram, after hearing from my boyfriend who’s been on Instagram for years. Since then it has constantly been bringing me creative inspiration and motivation.

What is your Instagram style?

I do not try to consciously stick to a style. Sometimes I wish my feed had a defined colour palette or theme, but Instagram for me is a space to have fun exercising different compositions and experiments. I hope my pictures reflect that.

What do you use?

The photos on my Instagram are taken using iPhone, except for the first few images I started with. The apps I often use are Snapseed, VSCOCam, Blender and Retouch.

Why Chasing Squares?

We got together to spread the message that gadgets do not limit creativity.

Some argue apps like Instagram keep us from living in the moment. Your thoughts?

I guess if they really wanted to live in the moment, they would keep their phones away.

Has Instagram changed how you view the world around you?

Definitely! In my head I’m always framing the scenes around me in squares. I am extra happy when I get a good shot, and I can’t wait to share it.

What do you hope to achieve with Chasing Squares?

I wish the understanding of mobile photography to be widespread as an art form. The results I see from these mobile devices are often very genuine, spontaneous and honest expressions of creativity that have a unique appeal.

Walking up the stairs (@seanjesudasan) (left). Empty airport trailers (@seanjesudasan) (right)Walking up the stairs (@seanjesudasan) (left). Empty airport trailers (@seanjesudasan) (right)

Sean Jesudasan (@seanjesudasan)

Why do you use Instagram?

I use Instagram because it is a simple way to express myself instantaneously.

What is your Instagram style?

I experiment with different styles on Instagram. It’s a beautiful app that affords you that freedom and flexibility.

Do you only follow your friends on Instagram, or have you met other people through the app?

It’s a good mixture of old and new friends. It is interesting to see how Instagram connect people geographically. For an app that is globally reaching, it has communities that are very local.

Some argue apps like Instagram keeps us from living in the moment. Your thoughts?

It’s unfair to say an app takes us away from the real world. I think it’s the combination of an over-reliance on our smartphones and a disdain for actual interaction that keeps us from living in the moment. People are learning to put the phone down when it’s necessary, so there’s hope yet.

What do you hope to achieve with Chasing Squares?

I hope that we are able to encourage people to start expressing themselves in their own way. I also hope that the photography community in Malaysia will grow and learn from each other.

Chasing Squares at D6 Sentul East

Featuring shots by Instagrammers @mr_darcy, @trishates, @mnf_, @seanjesudasan, @tangerine_yin, @lydia522 and @koyoox.

Open 11am-6pm.

http://instagram.com/chasingsquares

https://www.facebook.com/chasingsquares

This story was first published in Crave in the print edition of The Malay Mail on February 7, 2014

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