Art Gallery Interior Photography – Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow

Dear readers,

I was fascinated by the avant-garde art display by Yayoi KusamaYayoi Kusama. So i decided to do a personal series of interior pictures at the National Gallery Singapore. This is the first time i am capturing an avant-garde interior photography picture. Very rarely do our local gallery display and market such art work on a massive scale, and successfully reaching out to the public with the help of media.

Yayoi Kusama is one of the world’s most influential artists and has played a crucial role in key art movements of the 20th and 21st centuries. This is her first major work in Southeast Asia. I am proud to say our local gallery did a fantastic job by bringing in her visionary practice into Singapore.

Enough said, is time for some visual treat!

I was blown away by the huge set up in the hall interior.

My idea was to document each section of the huge display room without any people involved. I want to clearly focus on her art display, and i love a clean and sleeky presentation. However, this is a paid venue for the public to come visit and enjoy art work collection. The biggest hurdle to document this art gallery is to wait for the crowd or a single person to leave the installation room. Plus i don’t have any work relation with the National Gallery as well. I thought this will be a waiting game.

During my first visit, observing the huge number of people coming in. I knew it was not going to be easy. Many people were staying pretty long in the display to take pictures to post on their social media, the more serious ones were quietly enjoying the art work.

With all my love for the tulips

I honestly wish i can put up a tripod and take the pictures with the lowest ISO and the smallest aperture. Well, we know mission impossible. I have to set my ISO over thousands and use at least f/8 and a bearable shutter speed to get a good exposure.

The Spirits of Pumpkins Descended into the Heavens

This is my most sought after interior installation room to document. This room is always filled with people queuing to take pictures. I returned 3 times to get an empty room but it was really tough even after a long wait. And finally, on the fourth try, i got what i have visualized. Lots of patient in the making for this picture.

I truly loved my last picture captured in a low angle yet able to showcase the entire room. Lots of personal satisfaction in it.

Infiniti Mirror Room

Do take note all these individual installation rooms have a long line to it. Be prepared to queue, but it will be totally worth your visual experience.

Do check out my photography website for more, i will also be uploading more pictures in a few days time.


If you like today’s blog, please support me with a “like” and share my page on your social media channels. If you have a comment or suggestion, i would love your input too.

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Featuring Singapore ‘Hidden Door’

Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ is featured once again, this time in India. An editor of Colour Quotient from Asian Paints wanted an interview of my personal work and feature some of the ‘Hidden Doors‘ series. I was more than happy to grant his request and assist whatever is needed to support.

Featured articles

– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in 畅游行, Singapore first Mandarin travel magazine
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in ArchDaily, with more than 10 million viewers internationally
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in Lonely Planet Travel News
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in 42 magazin, an online magazine in Siberia
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in Metro daily newspaper at Russia with 1.9 million readers
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in Nine Australia
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in Asian Paints, Colour Quotient

Singapore Chinese Guardian Lions

The Chinese guardian lion or Chinese stone lions is a unique animal to the Chinese’s tradition since the Han Dynasty. A pair of stone lions, male and female can be often seen in front of the Chinese imperial palaces, imperial tombs, temples during the pre-modern China.

The positioning of the male lion is on the left with his right paw resting on a ball, and the female on the right with her left paw fondling a cub. The lion was regarded as the king in animal kingdom, representing power and prestige. These stone lions were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits.

In today modern society country, such as Singapore. These lions also stood in front of shops, private residences, restaurant, high-rise building, offices and so on. With one lion sitting on each side of the entrance.

The “Chinese Guardian Lions” will be shared concurrently with viewers rather than waiting for the whole project to end. Am curious to see what are the interesting “lions” i can capture, and perhaps an interesting story.

Travel Collection – 2 in Bangkok

Not sure had you read my Travel Collection – 1 in BeijingTravel Collection – 1 in Beijing

Now here goes another one of my picture story telling of why do i make this particular image and how do i approach towards the subject during travel in other countries.

As many of the pictures were taken years back. I may not remember all the small details anymore, but the scene still linger in my mind.

Portrait of a Monk

I was like a street hunter, with an eagle’s eye looking for picture opportunities in Bangkok. I can’t remember which temple i was at, there are so many temples everywhere in busy Bangkok. A Buddhism’s country that much devoted to the belief.

I wandered into this temple where i can see a row of golden Buddhas in line. I took the opportunity to rest myself from the heat of wave. While i was cooling down under the shelter, my eyes was scanning for my ‘prey’, not many visitors at that moment, kids were running around, a few monks making their way to the exit.  I capture some still life street photograph and that was about it. Something was lacking. But i don’t know what is that hollow point at that moment.

Often when i search hard for picture opportunity, that situation never appear. The moment i stopped seeking, the chance is presented and is up to you to grab it. Why do i say this? Is because much patience had already dry up while waiting or expecting for something to happen. If nothing occur as you visualise,  you may end up being frustrated, disappointed and even a waste of time.

What is the disparity between Waiting and Expecting?

Waiting – Not knowing what is going to happen next, unable to control the situation. (negative)

Expecting –  A desire to see a situation that is going to unfold. (positive)

Back to the temple. As i as was about to leave, i noticed a monk by himself standing in-front of the Buddha statue. Somehow that particular moment caught my attention. I  boosted up my confident, approached the religion man. Is a do or die moment, i don’t want to moan later why i did not even asked about it and regret for the rest of my life.

I can’t speak Thai, except for the basic “Sawadee kap”, palm together. I spoke in the most simplistic English and hand gesture to ask for a picture. Hoping he will understand. I was not nervous, but neither will i be disappointed if he rejects me.

The monk smiled, nob his head *throw fist on air*

I recalled having some difficulty in the composition, whether should he be standing at the side or the centre. I quickly made a few frames and concluded that standing in the centre would be better. Everything is all centralised from the background to the key subject. Is the the student being humble in-front of the Buddha’s teaching.

He did not smiled throughout, neither i want to control his expression. For street/environmental portrait. I decided to let the monk to be himself, and be respectful to him is important.

Personally i like this picture so much that i printed out 12 x 8 inch and hang it up on the wall.

Hope you enjoy this article, drop me a comment if you like it or how to further improve it.

DUO Singapore, the past and the future

DUO Singapore is an integrated development that consists of living space, working environment, shopping and your friendly vacation stay. This architecture is design by Ole Soheeren. The firm also designed The Interlace in Singapore, a residential type building for CapitaLand Singapore.

As a photographer who have much passion of documenting commercial buildings around Singapore. It is always a pleasure to witness a new born, i personally have seen this building grown from a huge vast of green into a vertical concrete. Honestly i do missed that empty field.

The past in my title describe the construction of DUO Singapore. Years back I’ve recalled how workers were hanging their life on the tower crane making adjustment. Before i knew it, the tower, or towers. Started to develop; structure began to take shape of what the architect had in mind. To the outsider, various opinion took place, whether is positive or negative comments. There is no turning back. To me, is more of a pleasure to marvel. A new challenge to develop photographic angles of the twin tower in the right perspective. Am a photographer that is paid to shoot, not shoot for free. I am not able to travel back weekly or monthly to capture the construction phrases.

What fascinate me was how fast the construction of the tower had developed. Started in 2013 and complete in 2017, which is the current year! A much needed 5 years to complete 186m tall is very fair. Time whizzed by quickly. With the aid of technology in the construction sector, nothing is seemly impossible.

Jan 2016 – DUO residence flank by Park View Square on the left and The Gateway on the right

Nov 2016 –  A missing honeycomb window, i think construction phase about 90% completed

May 2017 – The future, construction work are still on going on the ground floor

I will continue to work on more images of DUO as the pictures shown here portray only one side of the tower. Honestly, not justifiable to the architect, but hey, am not contracted for this project. Bear in mind we should have the free will to create.

Singapore Trains

Singapore Trains series was a sudden burst of idea in a afternoon back in Dec 2016, i thought how a single scene with multiple tracks with each train running on it designated route look like? Honestly i was also sort of inspired by Stephen Wilkes day to night series.  I ever read online that mentioned, don’t look at other artist’s work to be creative, be original. Is like indirectly stealing visual for your own usage. I beg to differ, for me i require good visual to inspire myself to come out with my own original idea.



The 2 images above are made in Jurong East. The first round was doing scouting, sniffing out possible positions and the type of composition. The next trip was to bring my gears and returned to the spot where i will be executing the shot. I know most people don’t do scouting at all, they lug their entire gears along and start to trigger immediately. Personally there is nothing wrong with it; however scouting allows me to be more visually focus, fix the scene in my mind, ample time to better understand my surrounding as well, pre-determine what are the right gears to prepare. That is my type of preparation before any commercial shoot. For this case, personal work.

There are not many train tracks in Singapore that has more than two train tracks side by side. Much time were burnt on scouting of the location, checking out map and random train pictures from online. When the actual shoot took place for that day, i only hope for the best weather after studying the weather forecast, before that i even monitor the daily weather to see if there is a same pattern. The above two images are made in Choa Chu Kang area.

As the saying goes: “the more you practice, the better you will get.” After making  mistakes and keep on improve from it. The next shoot will always be in less difficulty, mistakes allows me to gain the experience that book never teach you. Bear in mind no 2 shoot is ever the same. That is why the experience built up is more than ever important to handle new challenge. The above image is made in Punggol area.

‘Hidden Door’ on ArchDaily

‘Hidden Door’ project is a documentation of series of doors in the backstreet of Singapore. This photo series has been very close to my heart for many years. But there is a problem. No one knew about it, despite all the SEO were in place, it was hardly searchable because there was no need for it. Although i did get some attention when i posted it in my personal social media. There was an overwhelming response from friends, which was great. But somehow i feel is not enough, something is lacking. This become a problem for me for a few years.

Until recently, i just wanted to message ArchDaily. This is an architecture website that serves inspiration and information to architects around the world. The viewership has an over 10 million monthly visit and over 2 million followers on Facebook. Am not sure whether are they interested in my project, but i knew if am not going to ask, i will never know whether ArchDaily will be interested or not? So i send a message. Guess what?? The person that replied me was interested in my series! More messages were exchanged and before i knew it, Boom! ‘Hidden Door had appeared on their website, comes with 595 likes! Simply amazing!

Just do it!

My industrial pictures on Google Images search

I was on Google Images page and was typing out some keywords am using in my website. I tried ‘Singapore Shipyard Photographer‘. A list of images popped out. It was good to see the images i captured were on the top of the search engine! 🙂

This was my search about 2-3 weeks back

This was my search on 18th April 2016

Drop me a message for industrial enquiries! Want to say Hi, come on in as well!

 

Winning architecture photo competition in Singapore

Am extremely humble to be one of the many winners of SkyVille@Dawson photo compeition organized by WOHA. I never thought i would have win anything, my objective was to document some really fantastic pictures from various angles and lighting i had observed, post it up in my Instagram account and particpate in the competition.

WOHA is Singapore famous international architect firm behind the design of SkyVille@Dawson. WOHA has also designed many projects that can be seen by the public, naming a few are, Park Royal Hotel at Pickering street, School of the Arts Singapore, Stadium MRT station, Crowne Plaza Changi Airport.

Below are my three winning image and clips created by WOHA instagram. You can check out the pictures in my instagram as well.

Selected for “Most Powerful Story”

Selected for “Most Powerful Image”

Selected for “Best Photographer”

I did not study architecture for a living, my knowledge of architecture is very limited. But belt with more than 10 years of photography experience. My approach towards architecture photography was to capture the essence, in the most profound way from various angles. Spend time to study it, repitive journeys – till i have the feel to “interact” with the architecture.

There is a proverb saying “Less is more”. With one picture, relating the entire story in a single frame, it is very empowering especially in photojournalism, street photography, landscape etc. However, for architecture, there are many way to showcase the building. Using different ideas to compose it, i can opt for a symmetrical format if the design allows, using a long lens to shoot details, using a tilt shift lens to capture is amazing as seeing the building in a non converging manner etc. So you see, there is almost no dead end to it quality if one can see the possibilities out of it. A building is not just a piece of concrete block placed there for it’s usage purpose. But people living and working in it, generate useful ideas to create a better world.