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.
When I was asked by Alston to produce a body of work on his classic latex fashion design he Whatssapp me some samples of what he wished the photography would turn out to be. The samples were some classic Victorian portrait paintings. I was excited when I saw them because I’m a fan of producing portraiture inspired from the past. In reference to the classic Victorian portrait painting I started brainstorming for ideas to design the shoot, then I went for shopping, yes that’s work too, to source for materials.
In the studio, hours before the shoot we started building a frame to hold the red velvets and turned them into a stage like curtains. A couple of C-stand and some tapes, within 45 minutes the backdrop which I visualised appeared before our eyes. For lighting, I lit the backdrop separately from the models so I had control of the lighting between these two. Of cause there are shadows, my style in lighting ratio is 1:3 or higher, and 1:2 or lower is just too flat for my liking. Another words, I like higher contrast between highlight and shadow because that’s the birth of three dimension.
While I was in London doing a two-day shoot in the studio for a production I would end my day by walking down the streets of London with a range finder camera and a fixed 35mm lens, it was a good break for me. Balancing the 100% manipulation studio photography and the 100% non manipulation street photography has always been essential for me. Having the interest in these two completely different genres of photography also means it requires two completely different skill sets in photography, but most importantly having the capability in performing these two extreme genres spiritually represents the Yin Yang in photography, it’s a balancing act and it maintains the Qi in my photography passion and my sanity.
Looking for my shots in Oxford Street where stream of people constantly flowing up and down sometime it sometime felt like I was sitting in front of a conveyor belt in a Japanese restaurant, you have to decide fast what you want or you would miss it. The amount of people visiting this shopping district can be pretty overwhelming, regardless any day of the week. The nature of street photography is challenging and that’s what I love about it in this genre, you have nearly zero control but you can only act fast.
Street Photography is the most complex genre of all photography, it requires getting the right exposure, composition, focusing, timing, and story all together in a fraction of a second. There is no chance for rehearsal, no room for error, and if you miss it then it would be the next shot.
Standing in the middle of an ancient temple in Asia built in the late 12th century the feeling is unbelievable because that’s about 1000 years before anyone of us was even born. Today, when you see a little child from the Western world in modern attire set foot into the entrance of this aged structure you couldn’t help but feeling a little incomprehensive, your mind is telling you an image of Back To The Future is unfolding before your eyes.
Built in the first half of 12th century between 113-5 BC, Angkor Wat is the largest monument of the Angkor group and the best preserved. It’s the finest monuments in the world. No matter how many times I have photographed this architecture masterpiece I’m always amazed by the sheer complexity and perfection.