“When Angela and I started dating, I would always bring a camera with me,” narrates Alain Uy. “And so when we started taking trips abroad for vacation, Angela started picking up my camera and started taking pictures with it. Within a few years, she became more passionated about it than I was. Eventually, we decided to start a photography company in 2009.” Hence the birth of Them Too. So what if Angela was laid off from work and Alain quit Conde Nast? They could surely make it on their own.
“The greatest thing, perk, etc about working together is that I can say ‘I’m sleeping with the producer.’” — Alain
Hey, Alain. How are you guys?
Oh you know, trying our best to sit on the couch long enough to enjoy.
What was the last photo you took?
The last photo I took is of my little monster of a nephew with my iPhone. I still can’t believe how far along we’ve come with technology… I take a photo on my phone, upload to instragram, and boom, everyone sees what I see. Crazy. Thanks, Steve Jobs!
So tell us honestly, what’s it like working with a significant other?
Have you ever rassled with an alligator and then had to hug it out with said alligator right afterwards? Well, it’s kinda like that… only the alligator is softer and prettier. [laughs] I kid, of course. But there are certainly moments where we ask each other, “Umm… is this a good idea working together?” It’s a hard proposition to be in business with your significant other, and it’s even harder since we work in such a creative field. With all that said, there’s no greater satisfaction than being able to share the fruits of your hard work with someone who knows exactly what you went through to get there, because she was there right next to you—literally. Wait, that’s not true. That’s only the 2nd greatest thing. The greatest thing, perk, etc about working together is that I can say “I’m sleeping with the producer.” [laughs]
Are there any clashes with your artistic vision or are you generally in sync with these things?
Generally speaking, we don’t really know what we’re doing. Whenever we’re presented with a project or challenge or script, the first thing that comes to our minds is, “Oh shit, what are we going to do? Are we going to even be able to come up with anything cool or worthwhile? God, I hope it doesn’t come out cheesy!” Maybe it’s the fear of suckage that inspires us most. Now, of course, Angela and I have creative differences. I tend to go too far with direction in which i want the concepts to go. Angela always seems to attack things with a sense of humanity. So are there clashes? Sure! But it wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t have those creative battles. She normally wins those battles, by the way.
What is art to you?
Geez… what’s with all the tough questions?? [laughs] Art is a funny thing. I think art is perceived value. And by that, I mean anyone can put value to anything and consider it art. And if someone else believes that value is true, then that particular thing can be considered art, which is probably why people have so many differing opinions as to what they consider as art. Above all, I think art is the result of someone thinking outside the proverbial box. A mathematician creating a new formula can be considered art. A biologist creating a cure for cancer can be considered art. Maybe that’s why people say that such and such is “an artform”.
Are there any other art forms you dabble in?
I love to write.
We heard you have an upcoming project with HBO. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Whoa… how did you find out about that? You’ve got yourself a crack research department over there. [laughs] Well, we’re still in development so nothing is set in stone. But yes, it’s certainly an exciting time for us. Without going into too much detail, we’re developing a TV series based on our experiences with these DJs we have been fortunate enough to follow around for the better part of 2 years.
“We have no idea how we got to where we are today, to be honest with you. We’d like to think that it’s because people feel bad for us so they just give us work. [laughs]” — Alain
You shoot weddings, celebs, events. Do you have any favorite subjects to shoot?
We’re actually not shooting anymore weddings. But those were always a lot of fun. To be honest, I don’t have any particular favorites. We just like working with easygoing people who are open to doing anything fun.
Who has been your favorite celeb to work with so far?
Of all the DJs we’ve worked with, I would say Avicii and Laidback Luke were the most fun to be around. Of course, Vice is tops on our list because he’s such a great friend of ours. In terms of celebrities for film and TV, I had a great time working with Michael K. Williams and James Purefoy on set of their short-lived TV show, The Philanthropist.
Who do you wanna work with in the future?
My top 3 people I would want to work with the in future are: Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale/Meryl Streep, and Katy Perry. Christopher Nolan because I want to witness his creative workflow. Christian Bale/Meryl Streep because I have a deep admiration for the work they do. And Katy Perry because, okay, fine, I think she’s hot so sue me. [laughs]
I think it’s great that you guys support a charity of your own (Lisa/Hola School for the Deaf); is there a reason you chose this?
We chose the Hola School for the Deaf because of our friend Lapu Lapu Yabut (yes, that’s his real name). We visited him a few years back and quickly realized how much these kids needed help—basic school supplies, books, etc. So we decided to sell prints of our photographs on our site and give all profits to this school. Aside from that, we’re also working on a partnership with Jeremy Passion who started this foundation called Empty Suitcase, which allows kids around the world an opportunity to experience art and music through donations given by musicians and artists here in the states and all around the globe.
What do you attribute the success of Them Too?
We have no idea how we got to where we are today, to be honest with you. We’d like to think that it’s because people feel bad for us so they just give us work. [laughs] In all seriousness, it’s probably because we don’t take things too seriously and we’re pretty easy going when it comes to work.
What advice can you give to aspiring photographers and artists?
Stick to your guns and know your worth. Don’t be swayed by people telling you things that would prevent you from achieving your personal legend.
Interview by Reena Mesias
Photographed by JP Agustin
For the full story, grab a copy of STATUS May 2012 issue