Blinded with burning passion, they start out on a journey of uncertainty. Going against the tide of norms, these three young musketeers humbly shared their amazing experiences of what feels like building a company of their own. 20 and bosses of a local photography company. Ambitious is what they are

By: Trina Tan



One company, three young bosses. It is a tough feat to start up a company, and much more at their age range. All three individuals are inexperienced, not to mention have yet to graduate from tertiary education. Going against all odds, the trio is fueled by passion and started The Onlookers – a photography business – on a foundation of hard work and patience.

The Onlookers is made up of Dylan Quek, 20, studying Aviation Management and Services at Temasek Polytechnic, Chikara Darmono, 21, currently studying Banking and Finance, and Yeo Jiawei, 20, a Financial Informatics student, both studying at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

 We managed to grab a spot at the Stateland Café and sat down with them for a sneak peek into their journey.


Catch : So what inspired you guys to be photographers? What made you realize this is actually what you have wanted all this while?

Jiawei: Ive always been interested in the arts scene. I tried various aspects of arts but what constantly caught my attention was photography. So after much research and quality time spent together with photography as my hobby, it grew into a passion. I believe my interest for it will never stop growing.

 Chikara: Well, you can say the passion for photography runs in my family. The first time I was exposed to photography was when I took my father’s DSLR. And as I was playing around with it, a flame just grew in me. I have always wanted to learn something new and intriguing. Photography fits the bill. My passion opens my eyes to see the bigger picture of what the world has to offer, to the smallest details of it.

 Dylan: Just like Jiawei, I am attracted to what I can discover in the arts scene. After venturing around in the broad field of art, photography caught my eye.  I found my voice in photography, an outlet to exercise my thoughts, feelings and creativity. It is my form of communication to society.


Catch: What drives you all to achieve your dreams?

 Jiawei: I could never imagine myself doing anything else other than photography. No office jobs. No doctor or lawyer jobs. I currently live and breathe photography. And since I have become aware of the importance of photography, I know I have no choice but to pursue my dreams.  

Chikara: I once started my own company when I was  in secondary five. I was already passionate about photography. Everything was going on well in my company then until greed, money and a loss of focus happened. After such heartbreaking failure, I couldn’t bring myself back into the industry again,ntil I met Dylan and Jiawei. They are the ones responsible for my pursuit of my dreams again.

Dylan: I think my reasons are pretty simple. It is the clients, and most importantly, my pals that push me on to pursue my dreams. Gaining recognition of my work and also experiencing what the world can bring me.



Catch: I am curious. How is it like working with one another? Any conflicts?

 Jiawei: Currently there aren’t many conflicts. Small squabbles are bound to happen.  Chikara is quite fun to work with, yet troublesome at times. In the past, he would turn up late for the events that we worked together at. The first thing he says the moment he comes up till now is…

Chikara: “…got food or not? Eat leh.” *laughs* That was in the past, now I’m always early just that I will still ask for food.  And as for Dylan, he always has tons of questions to ask. He is slightly new in this industry. Working with Dylan is quite interesting, he always listens, always so keen to learn. Which is what I admire about him.

Dylan: *laughs* Yeah, I ask a lot of questions, sometimes it can cause some hindrance to their work.

Chikara: Jiawei and I are more about chemistry. We can just set off on our own in an event and still manage to do a complete coverage of the event.


Catch: Does the pursuit of your dreams hinder your studies?

 Dylan: I highly doubt so. With the right balance of everything you do, there is always room for other things. If you’re too committed in certain things, you will miss out the other perks of life as a teenager. With the right balance, there won’t be any issues.

 Chikara: Time management. Time management is really important. With good time management, I think my dreams hardly hinder my studies at all.


Catch: Do your parents support the path you  have chosen?  

Dylan: My parents don’t really understand what my field is about but I guess that does not stop them from giving me their support.

Chikara: My parents do support me in my choice of career. They constantly warn me about the people I choose to work with or trust in the industry due to my past failure. I reassure them that it is needless worrying though. Because I know these two pals are the best workmates I could ever ask for.

Jiawei: I think my family falls under the typical stereotype of a traditional Chinese family. They were and still are not very pleased with my choice of career. They hope for me to have a stable job with a stable income. I still went ahead with my decision. However, despite the disapproval, I can see they’re slowly accepting the choice I made.


Catch: If you could say a few words to the rest of the greenhorn photographers out there, what would it be?

Jiawei:  Once you enter the industry, you need to devote long hours to do your own research of what your passion or job is about. It really does help in the long run. 

Chikara: The first ten thousand images may not be good but just keep shooting.

Dylan: Discover and explore the different genres in photography. Find your niche and also experiment with the others, so you would be an all-rounded photographer.