After attending the Light Show at the Auckland Art Gallery earlier this year and witnessing a performance from musician, Chelsea Jade, I returned home exhausted and hot. Auckland summers have a way of taking a toll on me.

However, if I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have serendipitously stumbled upon Molawin Evangelista’s photography. Mostly, I was surprised that someone with so many Instagram followers had liked one of my posts, but eventually I found myself scrolling through his Instagram page and saw why so many people followed him.

Molawin’s photographs allow us to see from his perspective and what we are shown is a crisp and clean look into New Zealand’s city life.

Describing himself as a lifestyle and fashion photographer, Molawin’s talent for photography has taken him to Lake Tekapo, right in the heart of a Southern winter, and to every city slicker’s favourite fashion event, New Zealand Fashion Week. However, all of this wasn’t really planned.

“It just sort of happened,” he said. “Ever since I was a kid, I was always into the creative side of things. I was very much into art at a young age, but I never had the skill to paint or draw.”

Instead of letting his lack of painting and drawing skills become a deterrent, Molawin turned to his parents’ camera when he was ten years old. “Ever since then, I’ve been hooked, he said.

Molawin never trained for or studied photography in school. Instead, he would spend time learning through books and tutorials on the Internet. He also credits his friends.

“I am very lucky to have a lot of friends who are amazing and talented photographers. They are always there to give me a hand and teach me anything I want to know.”

With a good support system behind Molawin and his own desire to know more – “trust me, I still have A LOT to learn” – he started up his own Facebook page, entitled Segmented – Photography by Molawin Evangelista. He describes the page as something that came naturally as he progressed as a photographer.

“I never really set out to do photography as a profession or to make money out of it. Taking photos has always been a passion and something that I have done out of love for the arts and enjoyment – never money. This is the mind-set that I intend to stick to, but I guess there are some people out there that have really enjoyed my work and have been more than happy to pay for my services, which I am extremely grateful for.”

Before Segmented… became what it was, he initially had called it Street Segments. At the time, his focus was on street photography. However, as Molawin progressed more into lifestyle and fashion editorial, he expanded his page and his style.

“When I started getting really serious about photography, I began shooting street photography. I would essentially go out and shoot random people who I thought looked interesting; I would go into the city and take photos of certain scenes or places that I simply thought looked cool. When I shoot fashion, it’s the same thing for me as when I’m shooting street photography. The only difference is that I use models.

“Street photography taught me to utilise my surroundings to its full potential – you don’t need a glamourous location to shoot something respectable. It taught me that there is beauty in the ordinary.”

Molawin’s photographic ventures have also allowed him to meet and collaborate with new people. In fact, he considers many of these people his friends – something which makes the process even more exciting.

“I love being able to go out and work with talented people who also happen to be my friends. It is such a rewarding feeling to know that we are going out to do something productive. We get to create something awesome for people to enjoy and hopefully, inspire as well.”

Molawin’s process for editorial shoots, much like his general approach to photography, is to simply go with the flow. He doesn’t plan too much and that’s how it has always been for him. However, when clients have a particular vision, one that is specific and does not give full creative control, Molawin turns to his good friend and business partner, Jeremy Sim, who is in charge of creative direction, styling, organising, and even modelling for shoots.

“[Jeremy is] definitely talented and great in what he does; I’m grateful to be working with someone like him,” said Molawain.

It’s clear that photography is more than just taking photographs. It’s about the sharing of ideas, learning about your surroundings, and working with people. After learning about Molawin’s unique experience within photography, I’ve learnt that all of these things have made his experience as valuable and as amazing as it is.

“I guess I just really like being able to go out and create something intimate right there and then,” he said. “There’s a cool feeling about letting people see what you see, and it’s even greater if they like it.”

Molawin emphasises that people should not be afraid of getting themselves and their work out there.

“If you think that your work is great and feel like it is worth being seen, then make it be seen! Don’t be afraid to approach people about opportunities or ideas you may have. Don’t be hesitant to do some work for free, we all have to start somewhere.

“Another [thing] to remember, is to not be too concerned with what other people think about your work. As long as you are personally happy and confident with what you have created, then you have already won. Personal satisfaction is more valuable than any gratification that you can get from anywhere else. Be confident in yourself and your photography.”

Check out Molawin’s work on Facebook and Instagram.