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Singaporean Sneaker Photographer: Yap Sheng Yi Darrell


Hapsari Listya
September 29, 2022

Darrell @darrell.yy loves to photograph his sneakers as his coping stress, yet it leads him to sneaker culture and works with an international premium lace company. He loves Sacai Vaporwaffle because of its comfort and outstanding design!

How did your passion for streetwear/sneaker photography develop?

My passion for streetwear/sneaker photography started to develop in 2020 when my best friend gave me my first pair of Nike Air Fear Of God Raid “Light Bone” for my birthday. Wanting to commemorate our friendship, I took pictures of it and posted them on my Instagram. From then onwards, I would take random photos of my sneakers and edit them using the mobile editing app, Lightroom. I find that an effective method to help me cope with the stress from preparing for my O’ level examinations.

In November 2020, a young sneaker entrepreneur took notice of the sneakers’ photos that I posted on my Instagram. I got the opportunity to collaborate with him to shoot his sneaker, Nike SB Dunk Low “Travis Scott”.

Later on, I saw multiple posts of @sgo8’s work being featured on multiple sneaker markets/news’ Instagram pages such as @stockxculture and @highsnobietysneakers. I admire his work a lot. I was inspired by his style in sneaker photography.

I started off using my phone’s camera, followed by using my father’s Nikon DSLR.  Recently, I bought a new camera and better gear to improve the quality of the photographs that I have taken. Currently, I am working with Lace-United, a premium lace company based in Canada, helping them shoot their premium laces.

All images via @darrell.yy

What’s your favorite sneaker to photograph?

My favorite sneaker to photograph was the Travis Scott X Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Mocha”.

Please describe how it feels to you when you get and wear a new pair of kicks?

Whenever I get a new pair of sneakers, I usually feel a sense of accomplishment adding a new pair to the rotation. I think I can resonate with most sneakerheads when it comes to the "smell test" of unboxing a fresh pair of sneakers. Plus, I love taking photos of my sneakers, which adds excitement to the whole experience.

What are some of the current pairs of sneakers in your rotation?

Some of the current pairs in my rotation are, Yeezy foam runner "MX sand grey", Sacai Vaporwaffle "Dark iris", Travis Scott Air Max 1 "Baroque Brown", Air Jordan 1 Retro High "UNC Blue", Air Jordan 4 Retro "Tech White", Air Jordan 1 Retro High "Bred Toe" and Adapt Auto Max "Infrared".

If you could only wear one pair of sneakers for the rest of your life, what would that be and why?

It would be the Sacai Vaporwaffle because of its comfort and its head-turning design with the doubled-up swoosh, tongue, and midsole.

What is your ultimate holy grail sneaker that you have not managed to acquire so far?

For me one grail sneaker I would love to own is the Nike SB Dunk Low Freddy Kruger. I really love the story behind the shoe and what made it an ultimate grail sneaker.

What is one sneaker collaboration that doesn’t exist, but you wish/think should exist?

Most probably the collaboration of Jordan Brand and Sacai. Recently the only Jordan silhouette which received special design treatment would be the reverse swoosh on the Travis Scott X Fragment X Jordan 1 OG high and low. So it would be nice if we can witness a brand like Sacai add their spin on any of the Jordan silhouettes, could be double swoosh, double tongue, or midsole… just saying.

What are some of your favorite sneaker-related content creators?

Many sneaker-related content creators around the globe have inspired me from the very beginning of my sneaker/streetwear photography. Here is a list, @donttouchmyjs, @amieejerrard, @sneakersofberlin, @shitsmint, @richard_cook89, @sgo8, @heesh.a, @michaelbabylon, @lukaas_0710, @ezracampbell, @yeahmackieboy, @mr__flintstone, @brandon_louie, @emileftimov, @brucehatoo, @mymategym and @hypetobs.

As a photographer, what are some of your daily essentials or treasured items?

As a photographer, the most important gear would be the camera. For me, I use the Canon M50ii paired with the Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 or the Tamron SP 24-70mm Di VC USD G2.

Other gear would include the Ulanzi VL49 LED light to light up the environment to ensure the details are captured, spare SD cards, a portable charger to charge on the go for long-duration shoots, a phone to review the images live, a tripod to get clear, sharp images and on feet shots, an ND filter for shooting sneaker B-rolls, and finally spare batteries to keep shooting for long periods.

Where can people find you on social media?

You can check out my Instagram page @darrell.yy for sneaker-related shots and on TikTok @darrell.yy for behind-the-scenes of editing the photos.

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An ailurophile who loves bake cookies and listen to indie music!