Chicken Rice Stall Series

Let’s say you’re standing in a long queue – the longer, the better.

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You’ll have an excuse to loiter and try different compositions as you move closer…

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There’s a rhythm you’re trying to capture.

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You try for a kind of harmony, a convergence of human actions.

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You don’t know when to stop looking.

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You go on trying one shot after another.

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Would the stack of bowls add to the composition, you wonder.

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Or is it better with the person out of focus but framed by the hanging chickens?

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Would it work better in landscape or portrait?

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Landscape is better – I think … but here the person is hidden.

There’s a potential statement here to be made about how human relations are obscured by commodities.

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Maybe having him framed after all is better.

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Is it better with the bowls partly showing?

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Or not? Maybe my next shot would be better.

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Maybe it’s better with the spoon container fully captured.

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Would it be better like this? Probably not. If only she’d turn around.

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Or this, after all? Nice, clean and simple. And the composition is busy enough to be interesting.

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Or perhaps this?

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Singapore Speaks Colour

Various scenes in Singapore – some iconic, others a little whimsical.

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Singapore the Garden City.

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Executives waiting for a bus. This was taken while I was in a bus.

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For the love of country.

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Country loving fashion.

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Looking up.

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He posed for me.

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The above and below few images are of workers who are maintaining a playground.

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They saw what I was doing, smiled, and gamely went on with their work.

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They were very thorough.

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They were tightening all the screws.

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And checking to see if everything is in order.

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That’s a chicken rice stall – the kind of food I go for whenever I am in Singapore.

This is part of the everyday Singaporean culture often take for granted.

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A sack of something on the pavement.

It makes for a wonderful art installation idea.

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Barrier – though I wonder what the triangular cut-outs are for.

 

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The durian.

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Lamp shade.

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That’s a partial rendering of the Marina Bay Sands, a tourist destination.

It reminds me of a Star Trek phaser.

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Rooftop facade of the Esplanade – also known as the durian.

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Swissotel the Stamford, designed by I.M. Pei.

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A construction worker taking a break at a public housing void deck.

 

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My Singapore

I was in Singapore recently and of course, I brought along my Leica M6 fixed with a 50mm Summicron.

I was paranoid at first about the film going through airport x-rays. But I could see no fogging to my beloved Ilford XP2 films on a previous trip despite them having gone through 4 x-ray cabin baggage scanners at the airport at HK airport, then at Dubai where I transited, and back again.

I took a walk around my neighbourhood and walked past him, circled around, and took this:

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This was at the National Library. I simply love this particular angle of the architecture:

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This was in Hans, the café at the library. I like the rectangular grid:

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And yes, the kacang puteh man:

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You might say there’s a statement here waiting to be made about the life of a kacang puteh seller, as our attention is drawn to the newspaper headline the seller has put up.

And then I had my Singapore-style chicken rice here. They do it very differently in Hong Kong…

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The photograph below sums up my ambivalent attitude towards my country of birth, in which I’ve spent 3/4 of my life before moving to Hong Kong. About 80-85% of the people live in public housing, and the facades of these HDB flats are often used as symbols of conformity, depicting the cookie-cutter and pigeonholed lifestyle and aspirations of middle-class Singaporeans. I have in mind those haunting images at the beginning of Eric Khoo’s 12 Storeys.

I think of the photograph below as saying something opposite.

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I like the tree here because it symbolizes something else, that perhaps there is life, rejuvenation and fresh insights that might arise. I sense a poem coming …

Finally, since some of my friends have been asking about my street photography and the point of it all, here’s an essay by Nick Turpin that says it.

I especially like this quote from Nick’s essay:

“As a Street Photographer you are different, you are not like the others, you are an oddity both in society and in photography. In society you are odd because you are just standing their [sic] looking whilst everyone rushes past to their next shopping experience or intake of salty, sugary, fatty food. In photography you are odd because your motivation is not financial and you don’t go to photo trade shows unless it’s to people watch. You are really not part of either world, it can be lonely not talking about equipment and bags and not oiling the wheels of retail….if it weren’t for online street photography forums you could feel isolated like some lonely eccentric.”

Sometimes I stop and look around and wonder where everyone is rushing off to…