Hidhir Badaruddin is a London-based Singaporean photographer. His first contribution to fashion culture was his photo series Younglawa, which explores Asian masculinity and was created as part of his final major project at London College of Fashion, from which he graduated in 2020. In his wider practice he uses analogue photography techniques to explore the physicality of image-making, to which he brings an intimate approach, and a knowledge of editing and casting. He has produced work for publications including Dazed, Gay Times Magazine, and Notion, among others. He shot his first cover for the latter in collaboration with artist Shygirl just four months after graduating from university.
Younglawa is an ongoing photo series which challenges the negative stereotypes of the Asian male identity Badaruddin grew up with. Instead of being “passive, emasculated, and lacking sex appeal and a voice”, the men captured through his lens are a celebration of youth, tenderness, and playful energy. In this first instalment of the series, Badaruddin wanted to create a platform for people that look like him to be represented in a way that he hadn’t seen before. He wanted to show his audience that there is great deal of diversity within the Asian community, and many types of masculinity, though you wouldn’t know it from looking at mainstream media. The subjects in the photographs, regardless of their sexuality and gender identity, have all been placed within the same space and there is no difference in the way they have been portrayed. Badaruddin hopes Younglawa will spark new conversation around the future of Asian masculinity.