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.
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.
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 shots in a busy city such as London needs tremendous focus, especially in Oxford Street where stream of people constantly flowing up and down sometime it 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.
Capturing people in their natural state, Candid Photography, or Street Photography involves great depth of observation; especially in human behavior.
Like watching a basketball game, when you know the court layout you will know where to pick the best seat. When you understand the rules of the game you will know the dos and don’ts. When you are familiar with Michael Jordan’s behavior pattern, you will know what to expect when you see he sticks out his tongue; that’s what he did when he was going to score.
I observe speech in action, relationship interactions, facial expressions, body language, and activities. When all the senses are put to good use, photographing people in activities or Street Photography becomes a unique art form and I love it.
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.