Motivated by badly taken photos

Motivated by badly taken photos
Photographer Stefen Chow with his prize-winning portrait of Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei which is on display at the exhibition, World Press Photo 2013 Singapore.

SINGAPORE - A set of badly taken photographs shot during a mountaineering course in New Zealand motivated Stefen Chow to refine his photography skills and eventually led him to pursue photography as a career.

It was 2001 and he was on the course with about 20 other National University of Singapore (NUS) mountaineers, training to scale the Himalayas.

Assigned as team photographer, he snapped the pictures with what knowledge he had about photography then.

"The pictures were very bad and wrongly exposed. Apart from the snow and the beautiful skies, I felt the experience was not recorded well. I felt it was a wasted opportunity because I was given the responsibility and I did a bad job."

Chow, 33, did research on photography and started showing his work to the professionals he knew.

Eventually, a team, including him, scaled Mount Everest to commemorate NUS' 100th year of founding. He took photographs of that journey as well.

"By the time I finished climbing Everest, that was in June 2005, I became so hooked on photography that I decided it would be a career for me," says the mechanical engineering graduate.

Today, the Singapore permanent resident is based in Beijing, where he lives with his wife and nine-month-old daughter. There, he has done commercial, advertorial and editorial shoots with clients including Dalian Wanda Group, the biggest commercial property company in China, sports brand company Li-Ning and Apple.

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