About Us

11791046_10152850712266076_1021232411_oBryan van der Beek is an award-winning commercial and editorial photographer based in Singapore. His images cover Asia, North America and Europe. A former executive photojournalist with The Straits Times, he has also worked with newspapers in the United States. His photographs have appeared in international publications such as TIME, TIME Asia, Newsweek and the Washington Post. Bryan’s photographs can be found in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Singapore. A graduate of the Indiana University School of Journalism, he has lectured at Nanyang Technological University, Temasek Polytechnic and the Objectifs Centre for Photography and Filmmaking.

The portrait of Bryan van der Beek was drawn by Flee Circus.

To purchase a copy of Transitions by Bryan van der Beek, please visit:

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Sim Chi Yin is a documentary photographer based in Beijing. She is one of 20 photographers around the world represented by the New York-based VII Photo Agency.

She has a particular interest in migration and works on social issues in the region. She has won grants for her projects from the Asia Society (New York), Open Society Foundations and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. In 2010, she was awarded a Magnum Foundation Photography and Human Rights fellowship at New York University.

In 2013, Chi Yin was named one of Photo District News’ top 30 emerging photographers, and she was a finalist for the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography for her personal project on Chinese gold miners. In 2014, she was included in the British Journal of Photography’s “Ones to Watch” list of photographers.

She has created photo, multimedia and short film projects commissioned by international clients such as TIME, the New York Times, the New Yorker, National Geographic, Le Monde, Newsweek, Vogue (USA), GQ (France), Financial Times Magazine, New York Times Magazine and Stern. Her work has also been exhibited and collected by photo festivals, art galleries, auction houses and foundations in Paris, Arles, Oslo, Hannover, New York and China.

A fourth-generation overseas Chinese, Chi Yin was born and grew up in Singapore. She did history and international relations degrees at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Before becoming a full-time photographer, she was a journalist and foreign correspondent for The Straits Times, Singapore’s national English language daily, for nine years.

Chi Yin sometimes dreams in mute, black-and-white mode, but in real life she is fascinated by colour and light, and is at home in both English and Mandarin Chinese.

She has been living and working in China since 2007.

The portrait of Sim Chi Yin was drawn by Flee Circus.

To purchase a copy of Roots by Sim Chi Yin, please visit:

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11774452_10153013087057045_250720554_nWe know it was a photograph that started it all. Who kept the photo and how did you come to see it?

My mum showed it to me one day. Our family had virtually never spoken about him. I knew I had a grandfather who died in China, and I’d heard that some kind of monument was built for him – but it was all very vague. None of us had been interested to find out what it was about.
In my memory, it was when my mum showed me the photo that I got really interested. I was about to move to China at the time [2007], I think. My parents had only a few photos of my granddad. There were many of him at my uncle’s and aunt’s, but this was the one my mum dug out to show me.

Would you have been interested in the story if the photo didn’t show him with a camera around his neck?

I think I still would have been. I was curious about what he had done to deserve a monument, especially since I come from such an extremely apolitical family. I wondered about the past and what led us to be so apolitical, and why my parents, especially my dad, were always ultra-conservative about life choices. Even without the photo, I think I still would have gone on to find out why there was a monument.

Just perhaps not at that moment?

I always berate myself for not having acted earlier. I started the project only after I quit my job at The Straits Times. If I had done so when I first moved to China, which was eight years ago now, I would have learned so much more. The typesetter at the Ipoh Daily who worked with my granddad was still alive then.

One other key person, my 姑婆 Gu Po (grandfather’s half-sister), also died before I got to interview her. She lived in Singapore for many years, but at the time I wasn’t sensitised to the need to quickly record history. She had spent over 30 years with my granddad – she could have told me so much about him! But I didn’t ask her anything. My uncle asked her some questions but not in detail.

Your uncle completed a 50-page history of your family.

He finished it in May this year. What we know of my granddad’s life came from there: how he was born in Hong Kong, was taken to Malaya by his mother to join his father when he was still very young, then grew up mostly in what is now northern Malaysia, in Perak. He was educated in Malaya and Xiamen, and graduated with a degree in politics and law from a university in Shanghai.

My uncle’s account was of course written from his perspective as a son, but in speaking to both him and my aunt in Penang – the two who were the closest to my Ye Ye 爷爷 (grandfather), of all his children – they speak very highly of their father. Their impression was of a virtuous, thrifty, socially engaged and honourable person. He was prepared to speak for his community, offering to negotiate with the Japanese himself during the war when the Japanese turned up at the village.

He was conscientious about everything. They do say he was not a very good father, though, in that he was always busy. But, in his community and in the school, he was a man whom everybody looked up to.

In the way you’ve had to piece the story together, this is probably no different than your other projects. But of course this concerns your family.

This is very personal and it cuts very close. There are some things I discovered that I don’t think the family wants to talk about. For example, my granddad had a tong yang xi 童养媳, a girl who was matchmade to him in our ancestral village in Guangdong, China when he was a child.

However, in searching for his story, I’ve been in much closer contact with my own family members. From the time I was a child, the family had never been very close. But because of the project, I’ve initiated a lot of contact with my eldest uncle. There was baggage between him and my parents that I don’t have, and that they have since put aside. My mum told me it was because I reached out to him.

This story is deeply personal, but every story is different, and others are moving too.

So how is this different from your other stories? You’re emotionally invested too – perhaps it isn’t that different?

It’s different. This one is very much in the past, so the emotions are not present-day emotions. The one part that has been difficult is my relationships with the relatives in the village in Meixian (in Meizhou, Guangdong), which are extremely complicated. We are such different people. Their expectations of my behaviour are cast in stone, so it becomes difficult when I defy these categories.

It also made me emotional and angry to see how they treat the memory of my grandfather. When my family and I went back in 2011, we asked the relatives for one room in the house in which to put up a charcoal drawing of my grandfather. They agreed to keep the room locked and clear of furniture. But when I went back to visit last summer, I found that someone else had taken the room. The portrait had been taken out and put in the so-called living room, which was really where they put their trash. I was very angry.

So it’s very complicated. There’s a lot of this ma fan (troublesome) stuff. Sometimes it’s difficult to extract myself and just be an observer, when all I want to do – all I need to do, for the purposes of the story – is to write and record.

The project has also been quite fun. I don’t want to come across as clichéd or pretentious, but I feel a spiritual connection with my grandfather. He died at 38 and I am coming up to that age. By all accounts, he was a man with a sense of social justice, who wanted to do something for his community. He was interested in politics and was definitely left of centre – what they called “progressive” in those days. I like this guy! I think I would have liked him. If only he had lived, I think he might have been the one person in the family who would not have discouraged me from what I do, with whom I could have conversations and to whom I could relate.

But, of course, if he had lived I wouldn’t be here in the first place. His death was the turning point for the family. If he had lived, he would likely have become some kind of official in Meizhou – the nearest big city to our ancestral village – and he would have brought the family there. My father would not have met my mother, then.

Would you have taken such an interest in him, if he had not been someone you liked?

Probably not. He seems to have been a really interesting guy! He had done a lot by the time he was 38. I’m in admiration of a man who had conviction, as far as I can tell. Because my family had been frowning on not just my career choices, but also my interest in social and political issues and my involvement in Singapore civil society, I feel a sense of vindication and that’s part of the meaning in this search for my granddad’s story.

People have asked me during interviews, when they look at my work, where my sense of social justice come from. A lot of it came from school – my secondary school teachers sensitised me to a lot of stuff, that shaped me and helped me find my purpose in life very early on. But having discovered my grandfather, I almost wonder if it comes from a deeper well. It’s a bit kooky to say so, but my relatives are convinced that the genes skipped a generation.

So if he had turned out to be a boring guy without all this history, I would have probably found his grave, paid my respects and that would have been it. But because he was this interesting, multi-layered person, and the only other journalist and photographer in the family, I am quite fascinated by him and his story.

You’re a fangirl.

I’m not a fangirl, I’m just fascinated that out of this apolitical family, there was someone who was so interesting, who stood up for his beliefs and acted on his convictions.

Someone like you.

It resonates with me. It makes me feel it is okay to be like this in this family, because someone had done it before – and he was my grandfather.

Let’s come back to the family. To tell the story, you had to rally the family for support. It became a family journey. How did that affect family relations?

Overall family relationships have been improving over the years, as I’ve gotten older and they’ve mellowed. Of course we still yell at each other when we spend a lot of time together. Because of my interest in my grandfather, I’ve taken the whole family back to Meizhou twice. So we’ve gone on trips together, which we didn’t use to do.

I think my father is quietly heartened that I’ve taken such an interest in this, but at the same time he kept saying to me, “This is all in the past, don’t spend so much time on this”. My eldest uncle and I have certainly bonded over this project. We used to see each other once every couple of years; now he emails me every week because of the project. He comes over for meals when I come back to Singapore for visits.

And the first trip we went back to Meizhou, in 2011, was very emotional for them. Especially on the day we went to my granddad’s monument and grave to pay respects, for the first time after 62 years. When they saw how run-down it has become, with the urn popping out of the ground because of erosion, they teared. Everybody cried on the trip, whether when they saw the urn, or when I interviewed them on the train ride back to Guangzhou from our village.

It was very emotional, my eldest uncle cried telling the story, especially when he recalled how my grandfather died quickly – he was executed soon after he was taken by the Kuomintang – but my grandmother suffered for the rest of her life. She never remarried and she had a very difficult relationship with her mother-in-law. She fell into dementia in her final years and died when I was 15. But the heartbreak she must have felt, and the loneliness she must have carried with her for the rest of her life, was something that my uncle was very upset by. My youngest uncle also started crying non-stop when we talked about this, because he had been the closest to his mother.

Was it the first time you saw them cry?

I’ve seen my eldest uncle tear up once before. It was in 2011, Chinese New Year. On an earlier trip to Meixian, I had collected all these videos and oral histories. I went from place to place to show them – to my eldest uncle’s place in Singapore, to Penang to show my aunt, to Kuala Lumpur to show my youngest uncle.

When I showed the material to my eldest uncle, I made a video of him and my dad. My uncle described how the British intelligence officers and policemen came to the provision shop to arrest my grandfather. He described the whole scene in very vivid detail, how the officers came and surrounded the house, how my father was just coming back from a haircut, and he saw my grandfather being handcuffed. That was the last time they saw his father. When he talked about this, he teared up, although that happened in 1948, a very long time ago.

How did it make you feel? Many of us rarely see our parents and uncles and aunts cry.

Ya … I don’t know, I’m a hardened journalist (laughs), I make a lot of people cry with my questions. It was a bit awkward, but I was relieved in a way, because I have always felt our family is kind of unemotional, very unexpressive, and the relations are cold. We’re not close, there’s no touch, it’s almost as if there’s no emotional investment in one another.

It’s a funny thing to say about a family. But my family is distant too, in a way.

My family is super distant. My mum and dad have not been close to their own families, either, and I feel a sense of regret that we’re not close to our extended family. That’s the change in me, I suppose, because when I was younger I didn’t think about the importance of family. In some ways I’m still rather neglectful of a lot of things about the family, but this story has helped me to reconnect and start to feel some sense of emotional investment and connection with some of the family. I never thought it was important to spend time with family before, but as I get older, and as I work on this project, I am valuing the relations and our time together a lot more.

The other dimension of this is my exploration of my relationship with China. Discovering that I have a grandfather who died in China for the Chinese revolution is a strange yet important thing for me, because I’ve been in China for eight years now and I have a love-hate relationship with the country and with my life there. I am fascinated by it, but at the same time, living there wears me down. So to have a link as close as my own Ye Ye, to the land, the country, and to the idea of the country, and the idea of communism in the country, is an important link for me to explore.

You were trained to be a historian, and have long been fascinated by Chinese history. Now you find a personal story that seems made for your professional interest.

Ya, it’s a confluence of things. That’s why I was really excited to discover him. It’s not just that I am a fangirl, it’s that it’s China, it’s my academic interest. It calls on all my training as a history student – archival work and looking up source material, piecing things together and doing different interpretations of things. Our home village is also quite a beautiful place to photograph. So it’s an exciting confluence of things.

As a journalist, you’re exposed to the negative side a lot, you’re always critical of the current political situation and critical of the government. Then to discover that my own granddad died for this government, this party, and died fighting for the ideals that this party purports to aspire to, it’s fascinating. And it’s something that I come back to when I’m fed up about being and working in China, dealing with the system. I tell myself I shouldn’t give up so easily because I have a personal link to this place. I want to try and dig deeper.

By sharing what you’ve documented, you’ve taken an intensely personal story into the public domain. What motivated you to do that?

I think this story is many things to many people. I have spoken about the project in a few places, including Asia Society in New York and the National Museum of Singapore, and I usually present it at the end of my body of work. It’s usually this story that fascinates people.

It has many layers. On the one hand, it is the story of how individuals were forced to make stark choices with grave consequences during the Cold War and they made sacrifices for their political ideology. It is also a story of the Chinese diaspora – the Hakka diaspora in this case – their departure for Malaya and what became of their lives. (Hakkas are Singapore’s fourth-largest dialect group, numbering 200,000.) Diaspora communities anywhere can relate to this.

On yet another level, it is a story of how families get caught up in politics. I think many families in Southeast Asia can relate to this. Many Southeast Asian Chinese of our generation had grandfathers, granduncles or people of that generation return to China in the 1940s and 1950s. Some even went back during the Cultural Revolution because they were taken with this search for leftism and Maoism. People met different fates – some stayed on, some were killed.

I know the project’s not finished yet, but do you think it has changed you in some ways?

I am certainly more aware of where I come from. I feel a sense of comfort knowing that I have a grandfather who did all these things and had a sense of conviction and sense of social justice. I feel comforted by that.

It has helped me in some ways to come to terms with my relationship with China, because I ask myself why I am still there after so long. My grandfather died for this new China, and by some strange coincidence, I am back in China trying to document what that revolution has become. It gives that additional layer of meaning to what I am doing.

I’m in a bit of a strange position. As a foreign journalist, I am in a privileged position – I speak Chinese and look Chinese, and get access to some stories that some other people don’t. I am officially an expat, but when I go to our town and village, they say, “You’ve come back” or “You’ve come home.” But is it really my home? It’s not really my home. I feel like something of an in-between. Obviously I am not mainland Chinese, I think very differently, and I see things differently. But neither am I a full-fledged expat with no familial ties to the place. I’m in between.

Chan Tse Chueen is a Singaporean journalist based in Hong Kong. She was with Chi Yin on her first trip to Meixian.

The portrait of Sim Chi Yin was drawn by Flee Circus;

To purchase a copy of Roots by Sim Chi Yin, please visit:

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Points of View
Yu-Mei Balasingamchow

In John Clang’s image “Dragon playground”, from his series The Land of My Heart for, five women dressed in Singapore Airlines (SIA) stewardess uniforms are staged on and around a dragon playground structure in a Housing and Development Board (HDB) estate. Clang’s series is calculated to provoke and subvert the lush visual language of the SIA’s iconic advertisements, and this particular image seems to summon up the question: what is Singapore? Is it the promise of Oriental submission conjured by the SIA girls (who have in fact retired from the airline)? The safe, unthreatening nostalgia for “uniquely Singaporean” landmarks like the dragon playground? The anonymous HDB block that has become a synecdoche for the Singapore everyman experience?

Or is Singapore the land of the migrant workers and passers-by, looking on from the edge of the photo? Then there are the trees, looming over the playground and the people, the garden city grown to maturity alongside the HDB flats. Finally there is the pencilled-in statement, “No, Singapore is not China.”—a refutation Clang and many Singaporeans have had to make to foreigners, and one that is destabilised, in this photograph, by the dominant Chinese imagery of the dragon motif and the neatly swept long hair and demure posture of the Chinese SIA girls.

Another series, Senseless Spaces by Chow Chee Yong, takes as its subject the residue or traces of urban structures—drains, paths, fences and barriers—that were left behind after rebuilding or redevelopment. Steps lead purposefully up to an impassable wall, drains and walkways compete in irreverent (and redundant) zigzags, ghostly walls and barriers protrude out of newer constructions. This, too, is Singapore—a landscape pared down to a vivid black-and-white meditation on the national obsession with upgrading and urban renewal. There are no sympathetic human figures in these barren images, yet Chow’s unswerving focus on man-made concrete and metal structures paradoxically reinforces the human presence in every scene.

Dissimilar as they are, Clang’s and Chow’s series both capture the absurd poignancy of Singapore in the mid-2010s. While the nation has been instructed to celebrate what it has achieved in the last 50 years, on an everyday basis contradictions abound. Singapore today is an idea still being fought over, from the most top-secret Cabinet rooms to the ceaseless fray of the internet: who or what counts as Singaporean, what does Singapore stand for, what kind of society should it be? Put the Chinese SIA girl and the South Asian migrant worker into the same tableau (or in the same room), and some people’s heads explode. did not set out to explode myth, challenge history or define “national” identity. Its starting point was simple (some might even say, simplistic): PLATFORM would publish the work of 20 Singaporean photographers, presenting 15 images each on the subject of Singapore, in the months leading up to August 2015. What constitutes “Singapore” as a subject was left to the individual photographer’s imagination. There was no ambition to represent “all” of Singapore, or to respond to the assumptions underpinning Singapore’s putative 50-year history.

That is not to say that the resulting work has been ahistorical or dehistoricised. Indeed, the first folio in the series, For My Son by Darren Soh, is a gentle evocation of past, present and future: the past, in that almost all the buildings and structures in his images have been demolished; the present, in that this is Singapore, the endless cycle of building, demolishing and rebuilding that animates the city; and the future, in dedicating the book to his son, which inevitably conjures the question of what Singapore the younger Soh will inherit in the decades to come.

In a different way, past, present and future intersect in Robert Zhao’s series Singapore 1925–2025. His carefully constructed images of speculative Singapore landscapes reflect the formality of the 19th-century tourist gaze, as well as present-day concerns about rampant urbanisation and the marginalisation of nature. These landscapes do not literally exist, yet they summon up enough realism to hover on the edge of existence, as if they might shimmer into being in the next instant. In that respect, they appear to be more vivid and authentic than reality itself (“View of Marina Bay Sands” is particularly compelling).

That line between fact and fiction, preconceived notion and imaginative possibility, zigzags with varying intensity through the projects. The family is reimagined in Sean Lee’s Two People and Ore Huiying’s We Are Farmers. Zinkie Aw’s Singaporelang attempts to turn the distinctive sounds of Singlish into studied images. Lim Weixiang’s Our Coastline and Kevin WY Lee’s Bay of Dreams interrogate the shoreline and Marina Bay Sands respectively, finding intimate, less-than-obvious moments on a human scale. Ernest Goh’s The Gift Book zooms in on the delicate beauty of local nature with his close-up portraits of insects, while Sit Weng San and Columba Cruz Elton’s Drawing Triangle ranges abroad to explore migratory connections between Sit’s home in Singapore, Elton’s in Chile and their common home in Los Angeles.

The documentary works, too, open up new possibilities for looking at ourselves. While most of them adopt a realistic mode of representation, they do not merely reinforce the status quo but posit the worlds beyond it, turning the lens on MRT commuters (Edwin Koo’s Transit), migrant workers (Tay Kay Chin’s Made in Singapore), artists and art-makers (Tan Ngiap Heng’s ARTiculate), industrial estate workers (Sam&Sam’s DEFU), HDB dwellers (Nicky Loh’s Common Wealth), at-risk families (Bernice Wong’s School of Hard Knocks), and the photographer himself (the self-portraits in Matthew Teo’s A Little Bit of Me from Everything Else). The works operate differently: some rely on the spontaneity of the moment, others emerge from a long engagement with the subjects; some are meant to be read visually on their own, others are accompanied by extensive photojournalistic profiles that add personal and social context. Seen as a whole, these documentary works present an important range of views from the margins, while also acknowledging each photographer’s privilege and complicity in his or her project.

The 20 photographic series in provide a composite—but not comprehensive—portrait of Singapore at this moment in time. It is a portrait that provokes as much as it aestheticises, an endeavour that is more interested in asking questions than in defining what Singapore “is”. In Bernice Wong’s School of Hard Knocks, there is an image of a boy standing on the second-storey high roof on the side of an HDB block, his arms outstretched to either side, as if he’s about to strike a dancer’s pose or leap gracefully off the roof. There is a fuller story behind this boy and this particular block of flats, one that Wong has recorded in her project and that viewers likewise shouldn’t ignore.

But the photograph also captures a moment in time, of a micro-individual playfully transgressing the iconically rigid HDB landscape with a posture both lissome (like the SIA girls in Clang’s series) and insouciant. He hangs like an apparition, hovering on the edge of believability. Possibilities abound. He looks at the camera and we look at him. What will he do next?

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Picturing Home, Wherever We May Be
Justin Zhuang​

Wherever we go, we carry pictures of home.

Framed up, wedged in a wallet, on a phone, shared online, etched in our minds—we hang on to these references that remind us of where we’ve come from.

It’s been almost two years since I’ve last seen Singapore. Away from home, all I’ve had apart from my own pictures are those from the news and what friends and family share online—snapshots of how home has grown through the lenses of my fellow citizens.

Marina Bay with its iconic “integrated resort” has overshadowed the Singapore River’s line of shophouses and skyscrapers as the shorthand for the nation’s success. Our list of old places has matured beyond colonial relics to include modernist complexes and even the iconic dragon playground. The index for the city’s pace of development is no longer the skyline of towering cranes, but how crowded our trains and streets have become.

The frames Singaporeans use to look at their home are changing. It shows in the subjects we picture, but also in what photography means to us today. Is picturing a Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian still the quintessential portrait of Singapore society? When did photographing and shaming online become our way of handling outrageous acts we encounter in public? Should photos of our nation’s late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew be restricted from public use?

These questions capture some of the issues Singapore faces today. Pictures of home are not just illustrations but also reflections of who we are, projections of how we see the world, and symbols of our community. A photograph’s flat surface belies its third dimension: as a platform for discussions on the people, places and things that matter to each one of us.

This social element is what defines contemporary photography. Making a picture is not just framing a subject and pressing the camera shutter (or in today’s case, tapping a screen), but also sharing it with others—a process that envelopes pictures with meanings beyond just the photographer’s point of view.

This is how our pictures of home are made: through the conversations we share about what we see, what we remember seeing, and even what we hope to see. While the realities depicted in pictures will one day fade or even be challenged, the meanings they hold for each one of us is what helps us see home clearly, wherever we may be.

Justin Zhuang, who received his Master’s degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City recently, has worked with the PLATFORM team on various projects. The contest administrator of The Big Picture, also a PLATFORM initiative, is now back in Singapore, and is ready to write the next few chapters in his life.

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SIT WENG SAN is a Singaporean artist who works primarily with still and moving images. She has a background in economics and worked for almost a decade in a maintenance chemical company, during which time she became fairly competent in stain removal and rust prevention within shipyards and other industries. That experience has led her to begin her practice investigations into systems and power structures that create the gap between representations and individual identities, which are often the foundation and reinforcer of deeply entrenched inequalities. These systems do not function in isolation, but are fluid intersections crossing between nationality, gender, race, the body, globalisation, resistance, mythologies and other themes.

Weng San has exhibited in Singapore, Los Angeles and New York City. She was a recipient of the CalArts Scholarship, the David Bermant Foundation Fellowship and Director Scholarship at the International Center of Photography. She was selected for the SOMA Summer residency in Mexico City (2013) and the SPARC (Senior Partnering with Artists Citywide) grant in New York City (2012), and won the UOB Painting of the Year Award (Photography Section) in Singapore in 2008. She holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and is based in Los Angeles and Singapore.

COLOMBA CRUZ ELTON born in 1984 in Santiago de Chile is an interdisciplinary graphic designer, photographer and visual artist. Her work has been exhibited at Cirrus Gallery, Ooga Booga and the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA Museum in Los Angeles and in Common Center in Seoul, Korea. She was selected for the CalArts+Kookmin Design Summer Program in 2014 and for the Design Summer Workshop Otis University in 2013. In 2011 she won the Torre Iberdrola Artist’s Book Contest. Colomba holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and a BA from University Finis Terrae in Santiago de Chile, where she also received the University Finis Terrae Award in 2006 and 2009. Colomba is the co-founder and patner of Kat+Colomba, graphic design studio based in Los Angeles.

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Bernice Wong (b. 1988) is a documentary photographer based in Singapore. An avid traveller with a keen interest in social issues, she uses her work as visual stories to cast light on under-reported segments of society, with particular attention to the fortitude and fragility of the human condition.

Her photographs on migrant and indigenous communities in South and Southeast Asia have earned numerous awards in international photography contests such as the Prix de la Photographie, Freedom House, and The Other Hundred. Aligned with her passion to promote social engagement through photography, her work has been exhibited by Plan International’s BIAAG campaign in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and supported by the Singapore National Arts Council for public education purposes.

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Zinkie Aw |zɪŋkɪ aʊ| [zeen-key ahow]
noun. Singaporean photographer NRIC S85XXXXXX born in 1985. Female. Has an obsession with ‘trashy portraits’. Has photographed trend stories about the Psy-nomenon (Once Upon A Gangnam Style, 2012) and Candy Crush (Meet the Candi-Dates, 2013). Also tells Home Store-ies (2014) through photographs of storerooms in Singapore. Her observations revolve around issues of identity, urban consumption, trends and the environment.

Zinkie’s photos have been published in the Sunday Times (UK), Kult Magazine, Catalog (Singapore), Straits Times (Singapore), Weekend Weekly (Hong Kong) and《 L a V i e . 漂 亮 》 (Taiwan). Her work has also been featured online news at Invisible Photographer Asia, designboom, PetaPixel and PSFK. She has exhibited in the Singapore International Photography Festival (2014), Milan Image Art & Design Fair (2014), Px3 Prix de la Photographie Paris exhibition (2013) and Galeri Petronas in Kuala Lumpur (2013).


The portrait of Zinkie Aw was drawn by Flee Circus; and Leonard Goh, who will anchor all the interviews in this series, is a co-founder of Platform.

To purchase a copy of Singaporelang – What the Singlish? by Zinkie Aw, please visit:

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1HuiYing copy

Ore Huiying is a documentary photographer from Singapore. Her practice revolves around storytelling. She works mostly on personal projects and editorial assignments. Her work has been published in Le Monde (France), Courrier International (France), British Journal of Photography (UK), Ojo de Pez magazine (Spain) and BBC (UK), among others.

Since 2008, Ore’s work has also been exhibited in photo festivals, museums and galleries both regionally and internationally, at venues such as the Arts House (Singapore), Dali International Photo Festival, Gallery Lichtblick Cologne and HOST Gallery (London). She received one of the best portfolio prizes at the inaugural Singapore International Photo Festival in 2008. The same year, the National Arts Council (Singapore) awarded her a Professional Development Grant in support of her work.

Ore was named one of the 10 Platform Emerging Photographers in Singapore 2010 and was selected to participate in the 1st Asian Women Photographers’ Showcase at the Angkor Photo Festival. She was nominated for the Sagamihara Photo City’s Asia Prize (Japan) and received a Select Award in the Kuala Lumpur International Photo Award. Most recently, in 2013 Ore was nominated for ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu, a photography award in Singapore that honours photographers’ original vision and dedication to their craft.

In 2010, Ore completed her Masters of Arts in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. She spent three years working and living in London, then returned to Singapore in 2013. Her photography is focused on investigating the progression of Southeast Asian societies in the global context.

To purchase a copy of We Are Farmers by Ore Huiying, please visit:

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ernestErnest Goh is a visual artist from Singapore. His focus on the natural world was nurtured when he was a young boy, wading and looking for fish in the streams of the kampung where his grandmother lived. In 2011 he presented The Fish Book, a whimsical study of the ornamental fish bred in Singapore. Following that, in 2013 he released COCKS, a book showcasing portraits of supermodels of the chicken world. He is also the creative director of The Animal Book Co., an outfit that works with animal welfare groups through photography.

To purchase a copy of The Gift Book by Ernest Goh, please visit:

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