Last December, I was approached by the Singapore Committee for United Nations Women (SCUNW) for a collaborative photographic narrative project titled, ‘In Their Own Words’. The idea was to do a narrative portraiture series of individuals in Singapore who are advancing the cause of gender equality. The interview with each candidate was done prior to the photography sessions. Instead of the typical close-up portraits that might not tell the full story, the objective was to showcase each individual in their element either personally or professionally that is representational of who they truly are.
The whole series of images were shot with the ZEISS Milvus lenses which has a wide range of focal lengths available for me to utilise. For a project like this that required constant switching between different focal lengths within a single shoot, the colour-matched quality of the lenses was important to me. One of the challenges in this project was the need to overcome many drastically different lighting conditions in a variety of locations. In a place like Singapore where the weather can change dramatically within a short period of time, I needed all the versatility I could get with my gears to pull it off. Additionally, the fast apertures of the ZEISS Milvus lenses gave me the flexibility to go wide open and gain more light without having to push the ISO up. These definitely helped me a great deal especially since the time I had with each interview candidate was extremely limited.
The result I get from each shoot is always a joy to see. The unique characteristics of the lenses allowed me to capture images that are not only pleasing to the eye; there is also something seemingly special about the lenses that add soul to the images produced. In this project, this unique quality allow the images produced to complement the narrative well, and perhaps even speak for itself visually.
Granted, the ZEISS Milvus lenses might be heavier than other prime lenses. However, the peace of mind that I get from the fact that the lenses are weather-sealed as well as extremely durable with their solid metal build, more than justifies the additional weight for me. Given the whole host of outstanding qualities that the ZEISS Milvus lenses provided me with on a project that was equal parts varied and challenging, I was glad to have the luxury of knowing I have a set of dependable and capable “partners” in my camera bag.
Most importantly of all, the ZEISS Milvus lenses helped me to showcase these unique individuals in their cause of championing gender equality in the best light possible – something they definitely deserve. Being on this project with the Singapore Committee for UN Women has been a journey that is equal parts inspiring and satisfying for me as I help in my own little way to further their cause.
About the Author
Based in Singapore, Jenson Lee looks at images through the eyes of a seasoned Art Director. He brings a passion for cinematography, a keen sense of style, and a Graphic Designer’s finesse to the creation of compelling photography. www.jensonlee.com