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.
Design District(DD) Singapore is a project of Red Dot Design Museum. DD is a curated group of hidden treasures of the city, they are small interesting independent shops, great neighborhood cafes or restaurants, creative designed hotel or hostel, and more.To commemorate Singapore 50 years of independence, Red Dot Design Museum decided to publish a photo book featuring all these unique places. When they first approached me with the proposal I didn’t take long to agree to take on this project, because it was a great opportunity to showcase Singapore in a non ‘tourism board’ way, meaning, less commercial. So it was a no brainer for me to decide to approach this project in the Singapore Street Photography style, my favorite.
Launched on 6th November 2015, the book has a total of 75 images taken in some of Singapore most historically rich areas, such as Chinatown, Tanjong Pagar, Amoy Street, Robertson Quay, Boat Quay, and Tiong Bahru.
This entire photo book is strictly kept only photos, there is only one page of text, which is the preface written by me. The book is extremely well designed and layout by Red Dot Design Museum. I couldn’t be more proud and honour to be part of this special project.
Beside the photo book there is also a photo exhibition. Some 30 photos have also be chosen to be exhibited at Red Dot Traffic Building starting from 7th November 2015. And on 4th December 2015 the exhibition will move to Pagoda Street in Chinatown. Hosted by Chinatown Business Association the exhibition will be there till 30th December 2015.
A portrait of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong I created is published in TIME Magazine, August 2015 issue. The article titled ‘Singapore’s Next Story’ by Hannah Beech talks about what Singapore has transformed since 1965 till the present day, and what comes next.
This portrait was one of the series I photographed in 2009. Unlike the rest of the photos which were created in a standard corporate-politicianish fashion, it was created in a dramatic and intense fashion. Although I knew generically it was not that kind of photo the Prime Minister Office will use for media handout or election poster but as a seasoned people photographer I felt strongly about it because it captured the position, strength and responsibility of the man, and I believe when the time is right it will be put in good use.
Six years later, I’m delighted this portrait which I believe so much is finally published in an international respected news magazine. Thanks to TIME Magazine International Photo Editor, Alice Gabriner who recognised the significance of this image and fought for it.
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.
In 2004, the deadliest tsunami in recorded history struck in the Indian Ocean, killing over 225,000 people and displacing another 1.7 million.
Communities along the coastlines Sri Lanka were completely destroyed, while the effects of the tsunami could be felt as far away as Tanzania and Madagascar.
In 2014, a decade has passed, a revisiting to one of the worst hit country to see how the people have recovered from the devastation. This gallery of documentary photography shot during a one week in Sri Lanka showcases this country is still as beautiful as before, the people have moved on and life has resumed as usual, almost.