By Jack Williams
This uplifting photography series shows the sheer delight of those in poorer regions as they are given the opportunity to have their photograph taken for THE VERY FIRST TIME.
Entitled “My First Selfie,” the series includes not only simple portrait shots of the subjects themselves, but also images that show the joy and amazement when they are presented with these framed photographs.
Reuben Teo has been shooting the series since 2015, and this year alone, he has taken around 300 photographs.
The idea for the series, Reuben said, came to him in 2014, when and his wife visited the rural villages of Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Reuben, 31, was photographing a sunset in a village, when a group of children came to play with him.
After taking their photographs, too, Reuben was amazed at how happy the children were, looking at the screen on the back of his camera and admiring the photographs that had been taken of them.
He said: “Many felt warmth in their hearts after looking at the pictures and understanding the project.
“Some even donated some money in order for me to continue the cause.
“It’s an amazing feeling when humanity has no boundaries.”
Since that moment, Reuben has continued to shoot his series in the rural villages of Siem Reap.
This year’s installment, he said, is seen as somewhat as a Chapter 2, following on from the first chapter in 2015.
Reuben hopes that there will also be a Chapter 3 – but funding, he said, can be a challenge.
Through his images, the photographer – who is from Sarawak, Maylaysia, and currently working in Kuala Lumpur – looks to show to the public that there are people around the world who need love and support from others.
He said: “They may be far away, they may be poor, but everyone deserves to be loved and deserves a smile.
“I hope that this project will make people appreciate the things they have in life and not be wasteful.
“I saw one of the most beautiful things that’s ever happened to my photos.
“The people gave this enormous smile as they first saw their picture in a frame.
“Some of the children hugged the frames like it was a teddy bear, and that was extremely touching and beautiful.”