Jason’s Instagram feed (@jsnjnr) is not only about framing and perspectives. Often, his dramatic posts also carry a touch of whimsy. The high quality of his shots and edits suggests that a full-time photographer is at helm, but the person behind the camera is just like you and me. Discovering his interest in photography during an Instawalk with fellow Singaporean Instagrammers four to five years ago, the 35-year-old Communications Manager has come a long way, garnering 41.2k followers with his unique style and refusal to compromise on quality.
We sat Jason down to chat about real life, his family, the meaning behind Jason Junior, travelling, and, of course, photography.
What is the meaning behind Jason Junior?
J: “I had this pet dog called Junior, but he has passed on due to liver cancer. And in my previous job, there were three Jasons. One was called Jason, I was called Jason Junior, and the other one was Jason 3. So the name stuck, and since my dog had the same name, it had some significance. Now, even my mum calls me Junior sometimes.”
Are you primarily an iPhone photographer?
J: “Yes, I am an iPhone photographer, because I think a handphone is like an all-in-one device. You can surf the web, and nowadays, the cameras are getting better. And with the added [OOWA] lens, you can get a wide effect, and capture more things, and there’s more depth to follow on.”
What is your favourite travel photography destination?
J: “One of my favourite places—which I call my second home—is Hong Kong, because I really like the rustic feel of the place, and there are a lot of places out there to explore.
Even their schools are quite nice. The Hong Kong Design Institute is actually very photogenic. I mean, it’s a very Instagrammable place. There are a lot of perspectives and angles that you can tap on. I actually made some friends through Instagram in Hong Kong as well, and they bring me to places. I also take day trips to Shenzhen or Guangzhou as I know a few people there, so I could go to quite a few places they know.”
Thought about pursuing photography full-time?
J: “I actually have plans, but it’s so competitive. I probably have to work on finding something to make myself stand-out before deciding if this is a career I want to pursue. But right now, it’s more of a hobby, which allows me to build a portfolio at the same time.”
Jason tells us about his go-to mobile photography apps.
J: “I use Cortex Cam. Cortex Cam gives you a sharper image taken at night. I think they take about 20 shots and they combine them into one to get better definition and details.
For photo edits, I use VSCO, and also Snapseed. They are the most common ones. I usually use VSCO for their filters. And I will use Snapseed for sharpening, structure, and healing—all the details.”
What are your biggest inspirations?
J: “I don’t have any particular inspiration, but I do look at certain feeds around Instagram. There’s an Instagram account called @photified. He does a lot of creative images by photoshopping, and I am pretty amazed by what he does. I also follow @beautifuldestinations because they have really, really great travel photos.
There’s also a China-based guy called @nk7 on Instagram. He has the best photos. He has a very good eye for details, so he gets all the right shots. He the reason why I’m inspired to go to China.”
What is your favourite part of the entire journey?
J: “Discovering new places. There are always surprises.”
He reiterates on his tips for aspiring Instagrammers and travel photographers.
J: “My tip is to shoot everything that you see. You must feel your photos. You must connect with your photos and feel right about it.”
On family and support.
J: “I live with my family: my sisters, two nephews, and my parents. Our family is very close-knit. They are quite supportive—my parents wanted to print some of my photos to hang on the wall. They also bought me a digital camera last year for my birthday to show their support. It was really nice, but I didn’t use the camera. [Laughs] I just started using it this year.”
What can we expect from @jsnjnr next?
J: “I want to try to produce travel videos. I’m thinking of investing in a lot of things such as drones and a camera—a GoPro, probably. I think right now the iPhone is pretty capable in terms of video resolution. They also have functions such as hyperlapse that create dramatic effects. It’s actually good enough. It’s probably just about getting the right angles and materials, piecing them together.”
J: “I usually travel with my friends or family, but I’m trying to travel alone more often. I like the feeling of doing things as and when you like. You can do as you wish and go wherever you want to go. You get to meet different kinds of people and explore places. It’s like a breath of fresh air.The first place I travelled alone in was Guangzhou. The architecture was amazing. It’s not what we perceive it to be. China actually has the best architectural buildings. They are very adventurous with structures so it’s very unique.”
Any last words?
J: “Maybe some things about photography. Just keep doing what you love. Don’t be dampened by other people’s comments. If they feel that your photo is not good enough, just take it as feedback and try to improve on it. Quality over quantity. That’s most important.”