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FIELDTESTED | JEAN LOO, FOUNDER OF LOGUE

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Jean is full of love, light and purpose, and is on a mission. As the founder of content creation studio Logue she crafts stories that matter, taking the mediums of film, photography and the written word to build strong narratives for awareness and action. She welcomes us into her light filled, open plan studio to share her perspective and learn about the importance of planning your passion.

Tell me about Logue.

Logue has always been about delivering a strong message of social dialogue to do something for the world. The medium and partners we have worked with over the years may have changed but our mission stays.

We want people to put more thought into everyday life and talk about issues that matter. We don’t try and pigeonhole ourselves into any particular kind of issue, but rather stay open and empathetic to whatever comes our way and try our best to tell the story, and do it justice.

I initially started Logue with the idea of wanting to change the world. Over the past 6 years, this fundamental idealism has been slowly channeled into a sustainable framework that works - we now achieve financial sustainability working with strategic partners on projects that have a strong inclination to social justice and change.

Is there a story you’ve told that has changed someone’s world?

This film project which I worked on “After Cicely” documents five Asian women who have dedicated their lives to helping others die a good death. One of the ladies, Prof Chao Co-shi from Taiwan, has a host of llnesses but at 65, is still working in palliative care. In the course of making that film she was able to tell her own story and that was a cathartic process in itself, alongside being able to educate people about the concept of dying a good death. It was really meaningful.

This is what I really love - when my projects can benefit the people I feature. There is a certain kind of longevity to it.

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Your work is known to be honest, true, and subtly beautiful. What advice would you give to others on capturing intimate moments and emotions on film?

I’ve learnt that it’s really about not having a rigid idea of what you imagine to be the final outcome. Rather than launching straight into the questions, build trust with the subject first. Get the other party comfortable with sharing by generating a conversation, not necessarily about what you want to know. This makes the whole process less linear, more enjoyable and more meaningful; you capture more depth and context in a person’s emotion. Once you manage to understand the subject better, ideas for photographs and film will naturally flow. It’s an organic process and may take more time, but it’s worthwhile. I really enjoy the process of each encounter because I learn something new about each interviewee’s world.

Where did your love for connection and story-telling come from?

My parents love to talk and tell stories! Since childhood I was encouraged to share what I think. Back then I was always endlessly fascinated with television shows and stories. I often discussed them with my mother.

From all the stories I have had the privilege to hear and tell, the one biggest takeaway is the importance of perspective. As the founder of Dropbox said,

“Surrounding yourself with a circle who inspires you is as important as working hard and being talented.“ So I really enjoy learning from people with all kinds of life stories. 

How would you describe the culture of Logue?

Some key values include being open, empathetic, intuitive, curious and willing to share. These are important in our field of work as we need to be able to seek out sources of inspiration in our daily lives.

One of our guiding principles is to “leave people better than when you first found them”. This does not only apply to a client relationship, but to everyone we meet on the job. I enjoy helping others see the potential of their work in the social field and mentor them to develop a sustainable framework for their projects.

I think the culture is quite driven by my own personality, especially at the beginning. Now as we have evolved I make a conscious effort to articulate and embody the values we believe in for the rest of my team. It is important not to lose sight of founding values as we grow and worries about daily work multiply, as they do.

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Is there a project or story you wish you had been able to tell but could not or have not done so?

I would love to do a documentary following up on a photostory of Thuriya, a young monk I met in Myanmar to reflect the state of things for kids there. Given the pace of development, there’s no telling how it will change in 10 years. I’m doing some research and planning now so hopefully it can be filmed next year.

Tell me about your old object.

This notebook is really me – it carries all my plans and thoughts for the past, present and future inside its pages and travels everywhere with me.

Famous last words?

Plan your passion. Passion without planning is just air. You need to have an actual framework and steps to start doing it. So plan your passion!

Jean Qingwen Loo believes in her work as a way of purposeful living and approaches social, cultural and lifestyle themes by combining journalistic principles with a distinctive spirit of discovery. She founded Logue straight out of university in 2008, and also mentors young photographers under the National Arts Council’s NOISE.

We are inspired by her heart, passion and optimism in life, and are proud to have her as a Fieldtester, a group of inspiring friends that regularly test MATTER products in their workplace and travels to help us improve durability and design.

Jean wears Size 2 of The Reworked Harem + Kangura.

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All photos credit: Ivan Tan