Rebecca Eu might only be 23 but she possesses the compassion of someone who has seen a lot of hardship in life. Instead of using her position in society to further her own goals, Rebecca wants to change the lives of others less fortunate than her. So two years ago, she set up social enterprise Love, Mei. The organisation provides young women, all of whom were clutched from the grimy hands of human traffickers, a home, a workshop where they could learn manufacturing skills, and opportunities for employment and education.
Love, Mei will be launching its second collection soon, of which all of the proceeds will be funnelled back to help the trafficking victims it has saved in the Philippines. In collaboration with Huawei, we asked Rebecca to choose her five favourite pieces from the upcoming range and put together an outdoor shoot using the Huawei P10 Plus.
With a dual camera lens co-engineered by Leica, the Huawei P10 Plus was designed for photography enthusiasts with an eye for colourful imagery and powerful composition. But we were wondering whether a professional photographer would be able to take studio-grade fashion portraits with the smartphone. So we roped in Glenn Lim for this project and asked him to give his thoughts about the Huawei P10 Plus from a photographer’s perspective.
Rebecca: This piece is inspired by an old vintage dress I found in San Francisco and a farm I visited in Laguna Bay, outside of Manila. The place had lots of trees and incredible pink sunsets. It reminded me of a simple life away from the city. This dress embodies that free spirit. This dress is cut on a bias, a common method of cutting fabric in the 1930s. It means that the fabric is cut diagonally at a 45 degree angle instead of on the grain. Many of my pieces are cut this way because the fabric drapes softly on your body to accentuate curves, creating an elegant silhouette.
Glenn: I wanted to capture Rebecca just walking towards the Huawei P10 Plus with the leaves acting as a frame. The fast shutter speed meant that I could quickly catch quite a lot of shots, including this perfect composition.
Rebecca: This is one of the first pieces I designed for Love, Mei. I love polka dots. There’s something very cheerful, charming and silly about them. The classic slip is easy to put on and can be dressed up in many different ways. Throw on a pair of your favourite heels and go dancing or wear a T-shirt under the dress for a more hipster vibe. It’s something I bring along with me on all my travels.
Glenn: The Huawei P10 Plus perfectly captures colours without any over-saturation that is usually seen in other Android smartphones. I love how the reddish and orangey leaves were accurately reflected in the shot.
Rebecca: “Sirena” is mermaid in Tagalog. I can’t speak for all girls but I grew up reading stories about princesses, mermaids and dashing knights coming to the rescue. When I started Love, Mei, I met too many little girls who didn’t have a golden childhood like mine. So I tell stories to these girls and we create characters together. I know they don’t believe in mermaids at their age but they enjoy the stories because I’m giving them something they never really had, which was the opportunity to be someone’s little sister, someone to tell stories to. This dress reminds me of that special connection and that no matter what, we are always someone’s little girl.
Glenn: For this shot I experimented with the wide aperture mode to create a sense of dreaminess with the subject perfectly in focus while the water and rocks around her were a blur. The Bokeh effect turned out really well and I was very impressed, so much so that I did some background research on how Huawei achieves it. So, apparently unlike most other smartphones that create the Bokeh effect digitally and in post-production, the Huawei P10 Plus achieves it while you’re composing the shot using an advanced imaging algorithm. It’s all quite tech-speak to me but the results speak for themselves. I imagine that the wide aperture mode will be popular with amateurs and professionals alike.
Rebecca: This is our classic camisole in my favourite shade. It’s very versatile and is something simple that can stand the test of time. I believe every woman should own one. Love, Mei started with this piece.
Glenn: Another shot with the wide aperture mode switched on. I really liked how the Huawei P10 Plus has engineered this feature and couldn’t stop taking photos with it. The trick to getting great photos with the Bokeh effect is to have the background colour in a contrasting colour to your subject. It’s almost impossible to take a bad shot with it.
Rebecca: I learnt a new word in Tagalog recently called “kilig”, which refers to butterflies in the stomach or making the heart skip a beat. The dress is cut on a bias to emphasise an hourglass silhouette and I love this piece because it’s sexy, grown up and romantic. As I continue this journey I have embarked on, I am also growing and meeting new people. It’s a dress I hope to wear with someone special one day when I experience my own “kilig” feelings.
Glenn: This is one of my go-to spots for photo-taking. It’s at a pier deep within MacRitchie Reservoir. I love the still waters and the greenery in the background, which can create emotive images. The Huawei P10 Plus has this ability to capture emotions pretty well, thanks to its wide aperture mode, fast shutter speed and good colour capture. All I did was to ask Rebecca to move and be lost in her thoughts, and the smartphone camera did everything else. Again I used the Bokeh effect, as you can tell.
HUAWEI P10 PLUS SPECS
Display: 5.5 inch, 2560 x 1440 (2K), 16M colours, 540 PPI
CPU: HUAWEI Kirin 960 CPU, Octa-core 4 x 2.4 GHz A73 2.4 GHz + 4 x 1.8 GHz A53
OS: Android 7.0
Main Camera: Leica SUMMILUX-H lens – 20 MP Monochrome + 12 MP RGB, F1.8, OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation), Dual-tone Flash, PDAF + CAF + Laser + Depth Auto Focus, 2x Hybrid Zoom, 4K Video Recording
Front Camera: 8 MP AF, F1.9