Behind the #gram: Yafiq and Yais Yusman
The Yusman twins tell us more about their Insta-famous photos.
With curated feeds of creative architecture shots and clever images of light play, many might be intimidated by the photos posted by Yafiq (left) and Yais Yusman (right) on Instagram.
Knowing how Insta-famous they are, I felt very nervous before I met the twins. Fortunately, my fears turned out to be unfounded.
My one-hour chat with the 23-year-old Instagrammers turned out to be enjoyable. It almost felt like I was talking to a group of friends! Yafiq, a curator at Explore Singapore, said I’m not the only one who felt intimidated by their Instagram profiles.
“We often have to approach others before they would dare to talk to us during photo walks or Insta meets. People base [our personalities] off our feeds and think that we are arrogant professionals. But the truth is, we just take photos as a hobby,” said Yafiq.
Besides being open to all the questions I had for them, the brothers were willing to share some of their “secrets”.
The outgoing pair only shoots with their phones, and counts VSCO and Snapseed as their favourite post-editing apps. They also prefer to post their photos on weekday nights and at noon on weekends, as they usually receive more likes during those timings.
Does being Insta-famous make them feel pressured to post photos frequently, or go on a shoot whenever they head out?
“I am always flying around, so I can go by without posting any photos for up to four to five days. I always try to post at timings when my friends can see it, so that they can keep up [with] what I am doing,” said Yais, who is currently working as an air steward with Singapore Airlines.
Yafiq added: “We don’t head out specially for shoots. We only take photos when there’s something that inspires us while we are out with our family or friends.”
Before the Yusman siblings’ works were picked up on Instagram, they revealed that their hobby made their mother upset a few years ago.
Yais, who has a diploma in business studies from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), shared: “[During] our NS days, we only booked out from Tekong [on weekends]. It was tough for us to juggle between family and friends and other commitments, such as photo walks.
“There was one weekend which was particularly packed for us, and my mum blew up. She texted us and told us how upset she is that we don’t spend enough time with the family. She didn’t even want to talk to us the next morning!”
Older twin Yafiq added: “We had to apologise to her, but she definitely got a better understanding about what we do after that incident. She also went with me when I got the Singapore Instagrammers of The Year award in 2014.”
Yais, who later won the same award in 2015, said with a laugh: “It is undoubtedly better now, but we get so embarrassed sometimes when she introduces us as Instagrammers!”
Despite their love for photography and their growing popularity, I was shocked to find out that the twins have no intention of developing their hobby into a career.
Yafiq, who studied architecture in NP, shared: “Photography is just a hobby; it is not something we will want to do as a profession.”
“[With] our Instagram accounts, we get to have our own creative freedom, without the pressure of others telling us what they want to see. We will not be able to enjoy [that] if we become photographers,” added Yais.