By Melvin Tong | Mudframes Pictures

I first worked with Edmund Bon from LoyarBurok back in end 2012 which also coincided with some pro bono work I did for Loyar Barang then. Three years on, Edmund called me unexpectedly to explore working together on a photo shoot for his newly merged law firm AmerBON. Prior to this, Edmund has been running his own firm at BON, Advocates for a year.

The brief was simple. Make them look like, NOT lawyers! At least for the casual shots. Apart from the usual necessary formal shots in suit and tie, the informal/casual shots called for some really out-of-the-box, drastic departure from the generally perceived boring and static, prim and proper seriousness that inevitably alludes to the profession.

Hence, Edmund wanted to break away from this discomforting “mould”. The idea was to portray AmerBON as a team of experts and serious professionals with a very much humanistic and sensitive drive to be in tune with the needs of clients. That means balancing between an iron fist in getting the job done with the suaveness of a down-to-earth psyche.

This balance between informal and formal shots would be used in a print catalogue as well as in their new website. A series of group photographs identifying the various teams were also in the plan. Lastly, the brief also required me to shoot a number of abstract or conceptual stock images depicting the underlying spirit and energy of this young team of lawyers. I have to pre-visualise these scenes and set the stage to be “acted” by a selected number of models (i.e. AmerBON staff and lawyers themselves).

The entire project took about two months over four separate full-day sessions to capture all the required components. The team at AmerBON was really helpful and fortunately, playful themselves to be at ease with my often erratic directing and bursts of whim and creative fancy.

Here is a sample of the said images in all their various categories of formal, informal, group and conceptual shots.

The conceptual shots that follows reflect a number of allegories to convey the essence and identity surrounding the legal practice.