Republic Polytechnic (RP) student Muhammad Firdaus spent the last day of 2017 completing his final year project and accomplishing a record-breaking feat at the same time.
Together with his team members Bryan Tan, Steven Immanuel and Wong Sheng Wei and other student coordinators, Firdaus took 220 studio portraits for the elderly beneficiaries of Nam Hong Welfare Service Society. The community-based charity offers free Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments, funeral services and other forms of assistance to the less privileged.
Besides getting the seniors to put their best smiles forward for the camera, the team also edited and printed the photos on the spot. The seniors went home with their portraits, which could be used for passport and identity card application, or even for display at their memorial service.
“Initially our plan was just to take photos,” Firdaus told The UrbanWire. “But when we saw the list of participants, we realized the potential of breaking the record, so we decided to go for it.”
The 20-year-old and his team went on to earn a place on the Singapore Book of Records for “Most Number of People Photographed in a Studio in 6 Hours”.
“I’m honored that I can take part to help Nam Hong to break a record,” Firdaus said. “But breaking the record is secondary for us as our focus is helping the elderly to take portraits for future use.”
Firdaus added that he also learnt a lot from the shoot.
“Initially, I was nervous as most of the participants were Chinese, so there was a language barrier between us.
“However, my camera assistant taught me a few words to communicate with them, and in the end, everything went smoothly,” the Media Production and Design student said.
Firdaus’ interest in photography started when he was 12.
“I used to play around with my phone and took a lot of pictures of my cat. That was basically the start of my photography journey,” he recalled.
By the time he turned 17, he had his first DSLR, a Canon 750D, and started developing a keen interest in portrait photography.
“Portrait photography is my favorite style of photography because it allows me to explore the depths of human emotions.
“I can portray the different emotions expressed by people, which is what motivates me to take photos every day,” he added.
Firdaus has since added a Canon 6D and 3 more lenses to his arsenal.
The photography enthusiast has set his sights on joining the Singapore Police Force (SPF).
“It’s a way for me to give back to the government for the support they have given me. Furthermore, police work is something different as they are always first responders in the field to keep Singapore safe,” he explained.
“Although I intend to be a police officer, I don’t intend to put away my camera. I hope to continue taking pictures in the SPF,” he added.