Clash of powerful pics
“The power of a picture doesn’t always come from the composition—it comes from capturing a moment,” professional photographer Justin Mott tells the Inquirer in an e-mail interview.
Mott, who grew up in Rhode Island in the United States and then relocated to Vietnam, appears in History’s reality series, “Photo Face-Off” (Tuesdays, 10:30 p.m.).
Photographers from the region compete in the show and must pass the screening process where they battle it out with “photography fiend” Mott.
Mott enthuses that the amateur photographers have things in common, despite coming from culturally different countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.
“They were all passionate about photography,” Mott says. “The winner will be photographing celebrities at a red carpet event in New York City.”
“Photo Face-Off” requires participants to take pictures of unpredictable nonhumans, including bees, chickens and elephants. Mott says that he has experience working with animals in the past, but had to adjust to the demands of the contest.
“For the show, I was under crazy pressure because of the time [constraints],” recounts Mott, who studied photojournalism at San Francisco State University.
The challenges bring Mott and the aspirants across Southeast Asia, where they are tested in other outdoor shoots. Locations include Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay and Indonesia’s Sanur Beach.
The works of Mott, an awarded photographer, have appeared in The New York Times, Forbes and Time. He finds the rare combination of artistry and substance in photographs inspiring.
“[American photojournalist and war photographer] James Nachtwey influenced my style because his images are powerful and artistic at the same time, and I love that.”
He says viewers can get a lot from this kind of competition show in terms of entertainment value. “It’s a David versus Goliath story with a high-energy atmosphere. The show isn’t just for photography enthusiasts; it’s also for people interested in sports, travel and culture!”