HOW often does someone’s looks stop you dead in your tracks, make you lose your train of thought and turn around to get a second look?
For Swiss-born Yvan Rodic, this happens all the time, and unlike most people, he can’t just walk away – he has to immortalise that moment.
A confident smile, an eye-catching accessory or an eccentric outfit grab his attention every day he is out on the streets, and despite being perfectly aware of possibly being rejected or worse, being thought of as a creep, he approaches his subjects and asks if he can photograph them.
This is how the popular blog Face Hunter was born in 2006, which has also resulted in a book by the same name, profiling Yvan’s most commanding shots.
“I look for people who have their own thing, people who stand out by being confident about who they are and who are not necessarily trying hard or freaks, but express themselves in a healthy way,” said the 32-year-old at a book signing and meet-and-greet session organised by fashion site Tongue in Chic in Kuala Lumpur recently.
“I like photographing people whose style says that they have a specific view on daily life,” he added. “For me, its the combination of beauty and style. In theory, fashion is a beautiful form of art but its often more used and abused as a status symbol, and unfortunately a lot of people spend money in fashion to look a certain way.”
Fans of the blog turned up on the sunny afternoon to meet Yvan, and hopefully get their photograph taken. Quite a few Malaysians did get their photos posted on the blog.
London-basedYvan, who began his career with advertising agencies Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett, was impressed by the Malaysian scene, but wished he had more time to roam about on his own.
“When I have more time on my hands, I like to spend it in the streets to see everyone, but since this is a short stay it’s very concentrated to specific events with ‘my kind of people’,” he said, referring to the ‘young and trendy’ crowd at the book signing venue.
“In Malaysia, I’ve seen a lot of very special characters, a small group of people who stand out from the masses, and a lot of people have a high standard of individuality.”
“But because of tropical weather and the hot climate Malaysians generally dress pretty casual, but I can see an emergence of a very edge scene,” said Yvan, whose favourite place to photograph people in Asia is Jakarta, Indonesia.
On a global scale, he loves visiting Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, where he says people have more self confidence to dress as they please.
“It’s incredible. A city in a country that is very surreal because it’s so isolated and dark, with a very special society. The people are very independent, intellectual, the art is booming and everyone has their own thing. And the people are very beautiful as well.”
Yvan shared that he also enjoys going to fashion weeks and enjoying a different scene from time to time.
“I have a more distant interest in fashion, it is on the streets where you can watch people and wonder what their outfit says about them, what they’re thinking, where they’re going,” said Yvan.
For him, seeing someone he likes on the street is like an instant attraction, and before he photographs them he takes a few minutes to talk to them and get to know them.
“I do face rejection almost every day, but there are millions of people to photograph around the world and I can survive.”
* Check out Face Hunter’s blog at http://facehunter.blogspot.com.