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Visual Arts. Photography. Life.

Rediscovering the World and Myself through Street Photography (Part I)

In 2014, I realized how the most mundane of moments can be amongst the most significant ones. Inspired by the imagery of Alex Webb, David Alan Harvey, Henri-Cartier Bresson, Josef Koudelka and Fan Ho, I began exploring and photographing my homeland, Singapore. Along the way, it turned into a metaphysical journey for myself.

Walking around aimlessly on my own in my country have led to many observations that would never have happened if I was with someone or had a plan. I found a different world through the viewfinder, one of transcendence. Photography allows one to discover an alternate reality. A world within our world, so to speak.

I do not always know why I chose to capture a particular moment but it all seems to come together when I look through them. Many of my single photographs were slowly becoming collectives on their own. I believe it is born from the result of trying to understand the relationship between my existence in my homeland and its people.

Street photography have always been very personal to me. Very often, I'm alone by myself, walking and observing, trying to make sense of the place around me. The enigmatic nature of street photography allows a certain abstract mix of reality and metaphysical, often suggestive and its meaning only known to the viewer. The best thing about street photography is that it is highly interpretive and that everyone's vision/idea of the street is so broad. When one looks back on what had been done from the early 1930s to today, there are just so many different interpretation of street photography.

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It has become important to me that in order to understand myself, I needed to both absorb and discard the images by the past masters and mix them with my projections. Just as Bresson was obsessed with surrealism and geometry, Fan Ho with light and shadows, Alex Webb with colors and complex multiple frames, I need to have my own obsession. I am still unsure if I have found it yet. Maybe it is for someone else to say.

Yet I believe it is this tension and state of confusion that helps me when I am out in the street. Pondering and wondering "yes?" "no?""maybe?". It is really hard to say what sort of photographs in the street that make you want to grab them. Mostly you can only rely on pre-visualization before every element come into play and serendipity.

It can be frustrating as there are many times you end up with nothing that speaks to you.

Sometimes a image only speaks to you after many months or even years later. I suppose that is why the visual arts is a language of its own.