Tell-tale Lines, a personal project created in late 2015. It’s a tribute to the untold hard work, from stay-home mothers to nurses, from cleaners to clerks, and especially the pioneers of Singapore whose perseverance and resilient have inspired me to become who I’m today. The exhibition was first launched at The Substation on 16th March and ended on 28th March 2016.
The street photography exhibition of Design District Singapore has been roving since November in 2015. Started at the Red Dot Traffic Building when it was first launched, then showcased at Singaplural 2016, then hosted by Chinatown in Pagoda Street, now it is hosted by URA at Singapore City Gallery(next to Maxwell Food Center), 45 Maxwell Road, Singapore 069118.
The exhibition will be on from now till 29th May 2016. For enquiries regarding the exhibition, please contact email@example.com
Ha Giang, the final frontier in North Vietnam. 291km from Hanoi, it is the northernmost point of the country. Its land is filled with mountains and forests. It shares a border with the southern China’s province Yunnan which stretch 270km long from east to west. With a population estimated about 705,000, Ha Giang belongs to various ethnic minorities, such as Kinh, H’mong, Tay, Dao, Nung and Lo Lo. There are also two very rare ethnic groups, Pupeo and Phula, with population of less than 400 each. According to my guide occasionally girls from Ha Giang were kidnapped by the Chinese across the border and never be found.
Ha Giang’s main economic activity has been revolved around agriculture and forestry, but in recent years infrastructure has been improved in attempts to establish a manufacturing industry.
Despite being one of the poorest provinces of Vietnam, there was not once I was asked for money after I had photographed someone, unlike some other places I have visited. The people of Ha Giang are extremely friendly and welcoming but shy, due to the lack of encounter with the outsider.
The first run of my solo exhibition “Tell-tale Line” in March has finally ended. The success of the two weeks show at The Substation would not have been made possible without everyone who made it to the show. I would like to thank all the guests, friends, and my family members for the great supports you have given to me. The exhibition will be touring soon in the National Libraries and German Center, the dates are still pending.
More informations will be coming soon. Follow me on Facebook at alanlimstudio for updates.
When photographer Alan Lim was growing up in the 1970s and 80s, one scene entrenched itself firmly in his mind – that of people working hard. Whether it was workers laboriously grinding out tofu with a traditional stone wheel at his grandparent’s shophouse in Waterloo Street, or his father starting his day at 1am lifting and butchering meat in a Toa Payoh wet market, the ordinary person in post-independence Singapore was always hard at work.
This tireless ethic formed the backbone of Singapore’s miraculous ascent to affluence today. While the contributions of politicians and business leaders are well-documented and celebrated, success would not have been possible if not for the legions of everyman workers who toiled behind the scenes. Their stories were never recorded on paper. The only tell-tale signs now are etched on their weathered faces and hands.
“Tell-tale Lines” is a series of black-and-white photos that shines light on the wrinkled faces and hands of Singapore’s pioneers. The style is stark, personal, honest – allowing the subjects to tell their stories in the simplest of ways.
Venue: The Substation, 45 Armenian Street, Singapore 179936
As we celebrate our local heroes in Singapore 50 years of independence, it’s also time to put the spotlight on other unsung contributors who have shaped our nation. 50 foreigners have been chosen to be featured in a book titled Not Born in Singapore. They may have come from other shores, but these 50 foreigners have left their mark in building Singapore into the nation we know it to be today.Not Born in Singapore is my third book project this year. It was commissioned by Institute of Policy Studies, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and written by Tng Ying Hui. Out of the 50 personalities, only 21 of them were available to have their portrait taken, the rest of the photos in the book were either provided by them or from libraries.
As a People and Portrait Photographer for almost 20 years I have photographed many people from all walks of life. And during my 12 years career as a staff photographer in The Straits Times, I was lucky enough to have photographed some of the world most iconic figures, such as leaders like Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan, Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin, George W. Bush, Lee Hsien Loong and many more.
But above all, there was one who I felt extremely privileged to have photographed, not once but numerous occasions. He was the founding father of the modern Singapore, the visionary who was responsible to turn the once a swampy island into today world class city-state, with precious decision. He was no other than the man himself, Lee Kuan Yew, the extraordinary.
Not too long ago I was commissioned by a client to do conceptual people photography. The job required me to art direct and photograph a campaign for a play in London. After several months of discussion and conceptualisation, the shoot finally took place and off I was flown to the capital of England.
The shoot involved some extensive co-ordination because the entire team was made up of talents from different parts of the world, three prolific stage actresses from three different countries, Finland, England, and America, video crew and makeup artists from Italy, and myself a Photographer from Singapore. The shoot took two days in a studio once used to be a train station, the three actresses were photographed against a white background, the concept was to digitally stripped in a background and then passed down to a designer to create a vintage looking poster, booklet and billboard.
After the shoot had completed, back to Singapore and intensive post production work began. First it was hunting, a lot of legworks were put in to hunt for samples from different places and to photograph them. Second, back in the workstation, digitally reconstruction, mixing nature and metal to create make-believe elements as parts of the concept.
After a month or so the final collection of work was completed and was delivered to the client. The client was very happy with the result and he decided he wanted me complete the entire visual, meaning to design the poster, booklet and billboard as well. The reason for his decision was simple, I was the creator of the dish, I knew the flavour better than anyone else. Although I knew there would be a lot of eye damaging in front of the computer but I agreed to take up job further, and the final result was most satisfying.
Two shows I went for today at the Singapore ArtScience Museum. First was Da Vinci: Shaping The Future, second was Art and Science of Photography. Of course the first show was great, sorry I mean mind blowing. Even though we all know Da Vinci was a genius who was ahead of his time more than 500 years ago, and no matter how many times you have seen his exhibitions it is always amazing. And also his exhibitions have always been very well curated. Whether you are a fan or not, you should definitely go watch it.
For the second show it was just ok, I was quite disappointed actually, especially when I found out one of the featured photographers in the exhibition was misrepresenting himself in his written bio. I know it for fact because the organization he mentioned he had “worked for years” in his bio was the same one which I had worked for years, but I have never heard and seen his name. I strongly do not think anyone should do such things, it might take you to somewhere in the beginning but this internet world is small and connected, once the truth is revealed you might end up in nowhere at all.
Many years ago, a friend of mine wanted to be a professional photographer and there was a some jobs which he wanted to pitch for. He was new, his skill was not ready to produce certain kind of work and he did not have any good work to show to his client yet. So, he called me up and asked if he could borrow my portfolio. Did I be a good friend and lend it to him to help him? If I did, what would happen if he got the job but could not deliver the goods because he was not skilful and experience enough to do so? If I did, what would happen if the clients got so mad that he was a fake and spread the words in this tiny circle then no one would work with him anymore? So I did, I be a good friend and did not lend him, I told him he should not do that because I did not want to kill his career before he even had one. Instead, I taught him and shared my knowledge with him, so he learned and practised, although it took some time and sweat but eventually he built a portfolio which he was proud to call it his own, and confident to present it every time. Today he is still a working photographer in Singapore. So, be a good friend do the right thing, and advise your friend to do so.
Anyway, like Da Vinci, I love and I see geometric shapes everywhere I go, they are also found in my Street Photography too. Here are some of them today in the ArtScience Museum.