Illume Mag

March 04, 2018

My worst nightmare haunted me in the middle of the day- The sound of Piano Riff started blaring at half past noon. That unpleasant sound was my cue to stop binge-watching Stranger Things 2 and meet up with a friend.
I sat down at a table which seemed intimate at first but quickly changed with a bunch of loud, high-school kids storming in after school ended, a group of 3 guys that were taking pictures of their friend who fell asleep at the table, and two girls who were gossiping about a guy kissing someone other than his girlfriend. I shared a look of annoyance with a girl sitting right beside me, trying to study… I digress with my complaining….

After 15 minutes of getting settled in, my friend walks in!

Asam: “AYO, Whatchu sayin’”

Me: Asam, so good to see you, ma man!!

We sit down and catch up while we sip on our coffee’s and start chatting about passion projects, new music, and photography. I tell him about how “I want to talk to people, kind of like interview them about creative passions and ways of expression” and next thing you know I’m interviewing him about Illume Mag.

Asam introduces himself

“Hi, my name is Asam Bajwa”

After briefly discussing where he grew up, and his un-interest and confusion in what he wants to pursue and what he wants to study, he starts diving into his passions.

“ My passion is art, you could say. I like photography a lot. I also like music a lot.

….I have this Instagram account called Illume Magazine, but the tag is @Illume.mag”

Asam is working on this project with a friend of his Mudassir, and they want to shine light on the community in Toronto. They’re looking to collaborate with influencers, artists, brands, musicians, producers, photographers.

“ I feel like Toronto is growing right now. There’s a lot of growth that has been happening. A lot of individual projects instead of big corporate things popping up in Toronto… It’s really neat seeing people my age already having such a passion to make their imprint on society or history or whatever, and I really want to photograph it in my way and make a magazine to show the world like look at how hard these people are working and look what they’re making.”

I could have talked to Asam for hours about his passion and his drive but I got curious as to how he thought of the idea and what little voice in his head told him to just go for it.

For a very long time Instagram was a place for selfies (so. guilty.). Asam began to notice “Instagram aesthetic” of a certain nature. Accounts that had curated content and acted as a photographer's portfolio was what inspired Asam to practice his photography. With the support from some friends who also shared the same interest, Mudassir and Asam quickly whipped up an account and started posting.

Me: “Where I work we do a lot of vision and goal setting which is a huge part of our company, so where do you see this project going in like 5 years and 10 years?”

Asam: “5 years. Wow.”

Me: “Ok, ok maybe let’s do 1 year and 5 years”

A: “Ok, one year I’m hoping the Instagram side will be more famous. Not like famous but more of a spotlight on our page. I recently got sick and wasn’t able to work on it so our following hasn’t been that great. In January we had a plan of getting 1000 something followers or something like that, and I don’t think we’ll make it so I guess a year from now I would like us to be known more around Toronto. Have a bit more of a following and stuff like that. In 5 years, it would be really great to see a magazine rolling around. Like people buying physicals or going to our website…Hopefully in 5 years it’ll be more of a business.”

My curious mind wanted to hear what Asam thought of getting into the business of creating magazines when we’re told so often that “print is dead”.

“ I feel that. One thing I can relate it to is that people aren’t reading books, they’re reading e-books and I kind of hate that… I feel like when you get into photography you realize having physicals just adds that much more character and it just makes it more authentic… I do see people still pushing for it, you know what I mean? There’s a lot of those, you know, polaroids again… I say FUI to those who say film is dead”

We spoke more about physical photographs, how almost any photographer that posts on social media is inspiration for Asam, and about advice he would give aspiring photographers.

“Find your likes, obviously watch tutorials but like I wouldn’t rely too heavily on that. I feel like it’s more like making your mistakes, realizing your mistakes, and then going back to the drawing board...Just don’t be scared, be fearless, do what you want.”

Thank you Asam, for sitting down with me and inspiring me to work on my passion projects too.

Follow the below links to see what else these two guys are brewing up!

Follow Asam @asambajwa
Follow Muddasir @mudassirrrr
Follow Illume Mag @illume.mag