“I want people to stop when they come across one of my photos because it catches their eye. Whether that be because of a weird pose, or a cool colour combination. The main thing is to just try and stand out as an artist.”
Rafe Ayub is a photographer based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who started his photography journey in the summer of 2018. He recalls that his first photoshoot gave him the confidence to continue on with his passion. “Looking back now, I don't love the way I shot it. It's funny how that happens. I tried to shoot and edit like my favourite photographers but I was always failing at the end result. It wasn't until I started to do my own thing when I could see the real progression in both my composition and editing.”
“I used to get super demoralized seeing other people's work and edits compared to mine. It takes a while to find your editing and photography style. Comparing yourself to an experienced photographer is an easy way to want to quit. Use other photographers as inspiration but work within your own style."
Rafe started by taking photographs of his friend while they were hanging out, which facilitated his growing passion. As a software developer, photography is not his main source of income and he sees it more as a hobby than anything serious. He explains his love for shooting with subjects who are not models. The progression of being unsure and nervous in front of the camera, to the result of feeling empowered and confident in shooting again, is something that excites Rafe as an artist. “It has led me to meet some of my best friends, seeing the progression in people and the social aspect of photography has definitely been the most rewarding for me. It’s important that my photos include the subject's personality because everyone is so unique and I love seeing different perspectives on the same pose or concept.
Staying creative and inspired has been the difficult aspect of his creative journey. “I've definitely gone through phases where I was just reusing concepts from older shoots or my favourite photographers. I don't think that's a bad thing because it has led to some cool themes on my feed of similar style photos (the clear blue sky backdrop as an example) but I'm always trying to switch things up and step out of my comfort zone.”
"I didn't get good at editing until I stopped trying to edit like photographers I was following. I leave every photo I've ever posted on my account because I want newer photographers who like my style to be able to look at my progression and know that it wasn't just always the way it is now.”
Rafe explains how cinema such as the movie, Midsommar, has influenced his aesthetic for midday harsh lighting against clear blue sky backdrops. Harsh lighting is something all photographers know to be a challenging element to shoot in. You run the risk of overexposure or the casting of unflattering shadows on the face. You can see from Rafe’s work that he masters this technique to create stunning images. He describes this as one of the challenges he uses to push himself technically and creatively, rather than shooting in cloudy or golden hour conditions.
Photographer: Rafe Ayub @photog.raf_
Models: @hfxdrifter, @marieleelord, @bretthenderson, @nicsgendron, @joseehicks, @yakira_cn
Written and interview by Sierra Stone @iamsierrastone