Although Sajeev couldn’t quite explain why photography makes him happy (“I just like”, he smiled and shrugged), he knew he loved taking photos from the time he was a teenager. He’d left for India as a child for over a decade to be with his sick mother and returned to Singapore just in time for National Service – and to discover his interest in photography.

The then-budding photographer later enrolled in a course at SAFRA to learn more about film photography, including how to work in a darkroom and develop negatives.

His first camera was a “small, small camera, smaller than 35mm”, because it was all he could afford. Eventually, he saved enough money through working to buy the Nikon F4, which was at the time “about S$2,000” and “the best camera”, he said.

Over time, Sajeev noticed more people picking up the craft with digital cameras, which allow photographers to “take and see immediately” and reshoot the photo as many times as they wish, he reasoned.

“(Film) roll is not easy, nobody can take 100 per cent. You don’t know the aperture, shutter, then take already no use, later blackout. Only school students (use) for learning. Other than that, don’t have, people don’t want.”

But the digital revolution didn’t stamp out Sajeev’s love for the old school, and neither did it bother him that others were becoming less interested in film. If he was behind the lens, toying with the settings he liked, he was happy. Even with a digital camera today, he always opts for manual over auto mode.

“Because last time, I follow like that. (Manual) makes the photo better. If you use auto, if you enlarge the photo, it’s pixelated, no good. If manual, you close the aperture, it become better quality,” he explained.


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