05.10.2019 Joie Koo

Personal Best vol.23 | Joie Koo

Joie Koo

Joie started creating his own world of images when he was still wearing his high school uniform. Simply but deeply into exploring the different possibilities of getting the best angles in human portraiture has got him helplessly in love to speak his mind with images. But he never made it a career until his early 30s. Began as a freelance wedding photographer, he finally decided to dive into the world of fashion to embrace his uncontainable desire for conceptual photography. Being one of the major fashion photographers in Malaysia, he transforms ideas and stories into still visuals. His cover shots for BACKSTAGE PROFESSIONAL (Malaysia leading Chinese fashion beauty magazine) is probably the best-spoken example in stylish, trendy and, probably one of a kind fashion photography. He has had twice solo exhibitions of his own photography projects, and one of them became the permanent collection of Ministry of Tourism Malaysia.
His fashion and beauty photography journey has so far covered top models and celebrities such as Malaysia top model Amber Chia, actress Chris Tong Bing Yu, TV host & DJ Cheryl Lee Xin Yi, Asia Film Award best supporting actress Yeo Yann Yann and many more.
He founded Allspire Photography back in 2009 and apart from clicking camera shutters for printed medias, with the aim to produce more inspiring photos. He was trained as a Ballet and Contemporary dancer back in Malaysia, and later a stage lighting designer before he becomes a professional photographer. Joie incorporated these passions – dance and stage lighting design, into projecting the true beauty of photography.
His well-known ability in capturing the awe-inspiring moments on the stage is the reason being the appointed as the lead photographer for one of the major Asian art-events, GEORGE TOWN FESTIVAL for 3 consecutive years. In 2015, he has been appointed as the official photographer of D’Motion International Dance Festival, and 2016 being appointed as the only official photographer for the BEIJING DANCE FESTIVAL opening performance has marked another milestone in his photography career. With his fond passion and heavy involvement in performing arts and stage lighting design, he integrates emotions and movements and freezes them well amazingly. He has seized countless split seconds and transformed them into breath-taking moments for internationally renowned dance performances by Akram Khan (U.K.), Sidi Larbi (Belgium), Shaun Parker (Australia), Riki Von Valken (Germany), Yuko Kawamoto (Japan), Joyce S Lim (USA), Rojas and Rodríguez (Spain) and Aida Redza (Malaysia).


  • GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR
  • XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR
  • XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
  • XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
  • XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR

Portrait speaks

I founded Allspire Photography, derived from the idea of “Inspire and get inspire by all”, in 2009 because I wanted to create more creative and meaningful pictures.
I sailed with BACKSTAGE PROFESSIONAL, a leading beauty magazine specialized in personal grooming, working with numerous internationally influential artists, including Amber Chia, the first Asian model featured for GUESS, in creating stunning and ideas provocative cover shots. That was one of the unforgettable moments because I chose FUJIFILM X Series over DSLR full frame system and presented the assignment with my X-T1 and XF18-55mmF2.8-4. It became one of my proudest decisions because I not only got what I wanted but also the confident in Fujifilm.

Amber Chia (Malaysia Top Model) - X-T1 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4

Since then I totally rely on FUJIFILM system for all my magazine cover shoots and professional works, producing many cover images for Backstage Professional magazine and other fashion magazines in Malaysia.

Aenie Wong (Malaysian Actress) - X-T1 with XF50-140mmF2.8

Fancy Goh (Malaysian Actress) - X-T1 with XF16-55mmF2.8

Fany Liew (Malaysian Model) - GFX 50s with GF32-64mmF4

Arts, the Fuel that Got Me Further

I was trained as a contemporary dancer when I was in my late teen age. I was still the boy fascinated by the clean and intriguing movements by Mikhail Baryshnikov and I didn’t expect myself to be introduced to Ballet, until my mentor put me on barre work and trained me the Ballet positions. Over the years of practice and performance, I gained the insight of body language and expression, that I could instill into my photographs. My company was appointed by George Town Festival (one of the major art festivals in ASEAN) as the preferred media partner for 4 consecutive years to lead a team of photographers to capture the mesmerizing performances by international acclaimed dance companies. My blood rushes in my body every time I pick up the camera trying to breath to the dancers’ rhythm. From rapid changing movements to slow and steadily expanding moments, I have seized the powerful and breathtaking energies by Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi, Shaun Parker, Riki Von Valken, Yuko Kawamoto, and Aida Redza, and brought to BEIJING DANCE FESTIVAL as the sole official photographer for the opening.

- George Town Festival – X-T1 with XF50-140mmF2.8

- George Town Festival – X-T1 with XF50-140mmF2.8

- George Town Festival – X-T1 with XF50-140mmF2.8

Beijing Dance Festival – X-Pro2 with XF50-140mmF2.8

Beijing Dance Festival – X-Pro2 with XF50-140mmF2.8

Beijing Dance Festival – X-Pro2 with XF50-140mmF2.8

Bringing Photography and Arts to Another Level

Photography is a continuously growing, expanding and sometimes an essence fermenting process. The power that still shots hold can go very far and very long. I have, yet again, decided to evolve from where I have achieved initiating a new world of dance photography where dance and photography, together with other elements, become the equally visible and important part of a picture. I initiated The Performers Project. I assemble talents from different dance genres to produce a cause and providing guidance to motivate dance artistes in embracing their passion to express themselves via arts and photography. I present not only still shot but also motion pictures and bring forward the existence of photography supporting the awareness and attention on respecting and promoting fair treatment on dance and photography as a profession.

Sueki & Jia Xi (professional dancer & choreographer, Malaysia) - X-T3 with XF16-55mmF2.8

Pei Ern (professional dancer & choreographer, Malaysia) – GFX 50s with GF23mmF4

Toru Okada (former professional Ballet dancer of Singapore Dance Theater & Finnish National Ballet, currently Ballet instructor at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore) - X-T2 with XF16-55mmF2.8

Kaede Takaya (professional dancer & choreographer based in Yokohama, Japan) - X100F

Tze Shen & Christy (professional dancers, Hong Kong) – GFX 50S with GF32-64mmF4

Tze Shen & Christy (professional dancers, Hong Kong) – GFX 50S with GF32-64mmF4

Jia Xi (professional dancer & choreographer, Malaysia) - X-T2 with XF16-55mmF2.8

Pextret Liu (professional dancer & choreographer, Korea) – X-T1 with XF16-55mmF2.8

Shaleen Tay (professional rhythmic gymnastics coach, Malaysia) - X-T3 with XF8-16mmF2.8

Aise Tan (professional Zumba instructor, Malaysia) – GFX 50S with GF32-64mmF4

Mathilde Pailley (professional dancer & choreographer, France) - X-H1 with XF16-55mmF2.8

Jia Xi (professional dancer & choreographer, Malaysia) - X-T3 with XF35mmF1.4

Moments are split seconds that will not repeat themselves. I dedicate myself to living and believing the cause of spreading positive vibes via captivating visuals with my Fujifilm gears.