PETALING JAYA: Indonesian lensman Latiff Napoleon, who shot to success in London, was talked into his career as a photographer of international fashion magazines.
Latiff, whose pictures had been published in international fashion magazines such as Vogue Italia, said his career as a photographer started as a hobby.
“I was influenced by an avid colleague who often talked to me about the art of taking photos.
“One day, I decided to buy a camera and started taking pictures of everything, from pigeons on the streets to portraits of people,” he said in an email interview.
Latiff said he then took it further by learning through books.
“Later, I assisted commercial photographer Tim Hawkins in one of the prestigious photo studios in South London – The Plough Studios.
“I worked as his assistant for just a year before becoming an official photographer for the studio,” he added.
Latiff said there, he covered almost every aspect of photography from products photography to shooting for advertising giants such as Saatchi & Saatchi, New York City-based British advertising, marketing and public relations agency Ogilvy and global marketing company Young & Rubicam.
“I then decided to take more interest in fashion,” said Latiff, whose mantra was “never to run with the pack”.
Asked how he got the name Napoleon, Latiff said he was of Dutch and French descent.
“Napoleon is actually my middle name – Latiff Napoleon-Johari,” he said.
The London-based photographer said all photographers had to find their own identity.
He said they should also “negotiate and seduce” their audience with their own “signature”.
Latiff has just finished a photoshoot for a jet-set magazine last month, Al-Sharkiah, which is distributed throughout luxury hotels in Saudi Arabia.
Recently, he shot three international models at Coya Mayfair, a private club in London.
“The theme of the shoot was ‘Goddess’,” he said, adding that the setting was beautiful with elaborate haute couture numbers.
Latiff said he was working on two major projects this month: an advertising campaign and an editorial fashion story for an international magazine.
Asked to share his inspiration, he said when it came to fashion shoots, one was typically inspired by the collection, the location or the model.
“I’m looking for elements in their personality,” he said.