By Kupluthai Pungkanon
The popular photography challenge "Photo Face-Off" returns to the small screen
FRESH FROM THE phenomenal success of its first season, the reality show for shutterbugs, “Photo Face-Off”, returns to television next Tuesday.
Showing on the History Channel, Asia’s leading photography competition show promises to be bigger, better and even tougher this year, with Justin Mott, the series’ star photographer, facing 16 new challengers, the youngest of them just 12 years old – Thawiphum “Theo” Techaphan from Thailand.
“This time I’m going up against three amateur photographers from six different countries; Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia,” Mott told XP during a recent stop-over in Bangkok to promote the show.
“They are not only competing with me but also with each other and only one out of the three will get to represent his or her country in the final episode at Cebu, Philippines. So it’s become a fight for national pride. There is also a lot more at stake. If they beat me in their episode, they get bonus points but if they beat me in the final challenge they get prizes. It’s my job to stop them from getting prizes,” he says with a grin.
But he will take some beating. Mott, an award-winning documentary, editorial and commercial photographer and cinematographer who has lived in Southeast Asia for eight years and whose collective work as an assignment photographer was featured in the BBC documentary “The Changing Face of Vietnam”, says he is really enjoying being the resident photographer on the Canon-sponsored series.
Hosted by Sarah Lian, the second season of “Photo Face-Off” will see all 16 competitors all determined to win the championship title. Like last year, each episode will feature difficult photo challenges – Speed, Theme and Extreme – all designed to push the contestant’s skill, knowledge and creativity to the limit. And every show will also offer the viewer unique tips and tricks from some of Asia’s leading photo professionals in the ‘Light Box’ segment.
The third episode, scheduled to be screened on October 6, takes place in Chiang Mai province and features Thawiphum, Kankanick Suthipaet, and Thomas Barrett. For the speed challenge they will be asked to light up the night as they capture moonlight portraits.
The theme challenge sees the quartet of photo warriors trying to make a plate of bugs look appetising enough to tempt the greediest gourmand while in the extreme challenge, the contestants get down and dirty.
“We tackle every aspect of photography. So the competitors have to be well-rounded photographers. The show is not about teaching camera techniques but viewers will pick up loads of tips just be watching,” Mott says.
For his part, young Thawiphum hopes to prove that age is just a number when it comes to delivering high quality pictures.
“The show is very challenging in that they only give you 10 or 15 minutes to get a shot with a camera you have never used before. For me, age is irrelevant. What’s important is what the photos tell,” says the youngster.
“Going up against each other and Justin adds more excitement,” Barrett says. “You’re always looking to see what the other contestants are doing. At the same time, you have to look good because you’re being followed by a camera crew.”
“It’s one challenge after another – the camera, the people, the technique. So you have to develop very quickly,” says Kankanick, a casting director by profession.
The grand finale, on the beautiful island of Cebu, will see six “Champion of Champions” battling it out in one final “Face-Off”’ for a chance to win bragging rights and exclusive Canon photo trips and prizes.
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