When we set up Platform, one of the missions we set for ourselves was to go out and find new talents, and more specifically, ‘young’ Singaporeans who demonstrate a desire to devote their time and effort to further documentary photography in this tiny island.
It’s comforting to know that in our short existence, we have managed to do a bit of that, and the mission is still high up on our priority list.
Perhaps now is the right time to bring this up to another level.
Last October, we launched Platform Ten, an initiative to identify and recognize 10 new faces whom we, the panel of nominators, believe, will make a difference in the area of Documentary Photography and Photojournalism, in the years to come.
Click on their names to see their works, and what the nominators have to say of them.
KOH Sze Kiat
Tay Wei Leng on Lavender Chang:
“Lavender had visited with the residents of this block of flats and spent time getting to know the residents she photographed. The resultant photos document their lives in a respectful and non-invasive manner. Lavender’s subtle use of light and methodical repetition in composition bring forth her subjects’ humanity while reinforcing their situations. Lavender says she will be photographing peopled portraits in the future. I look forward to seeing how she will approach those images.”
Nicholas Chee on Stefanie Djie:
“Stefanie was only 16 when we met in a photography class I was teaching. She was the most diligent student of the lot, and one of those who showed alot of promise despite the young age. I follow her career closely and was joyous and proud when she won her first award in a local photography competition, decided to enrol in the Temasek Design School, and packed her bags to pursue her degree at the School of Visual Art in New York City. Yes, she has grown and there’s no turning back. I hope my nomination will give her another platform, and to quote her, ‘Yes – Imagination will definitely save you for it has already brought you here’.”
Jason Wee on Erica Lai:
“In some version of quiet pictures, we find a thoughtful eye has, through the camera, considered its world carefully, subtly, and returned that world to its place. The world is better understood, if unshaken. In Erica’s images, the quiet belies a consideration of a world that finds it displaced from itself, discomforted from its own terms of existing. The displacement is just enough to generate a kind of parallax, so that the world can never be returned to its exact place.
Her subjects suggest terms of engagement at odds with themselves. Her subjects vary – flowers, roadside foliage, teenage girls, tourist binoculars, vistas. We are encouraged to see acts of seeing (though there is no one seeing and nothing visible in front of the lenses). We are encouraged to suspect perspective, to naturalized nature (far from tautological, it places nature as organized but not static, an artifice but not a fixed domain, a process but not evolutionary). She has, for me, made this way of seeing coolly intelligent, and made this intelligence pleasurable. This draws me back to Erica’s work year after year, for more than five years now.”
Shannon Castleman on Khoo Hanzhi:
“Hanzhi has been a student of mine for the last three years. I have always been struck by the unique ways in which she approaches projects and addresses social issues. Hanzhi’s work exists on borders of documentary and fine art; mixing traditional image making with various media and performative gestures such as exchanging gifts with her subjects. To her, art is especially meaningful when it brings people together. She is a true artist at heart and she uses photography very much as a tool. Even so I find her to be an exceptionally talented photographer whose sensitive personality and vision come through in her quirky images.”
Leonard Goh on Shann Koh:
“Shann is not a documentary photographer. Her photos are more personal, in a sense that, it’s a little unconventional, especially her series, Fascination with Lights, which, on the surface, looks like another collection of light painting images. But when i looked at them closely, I realized most of them seem to be deliberate. I like the fact that she is recording scenes around her. They are all pretty simple photos, but I believe they are nevertheless important.”
Darren Soh on Koh Sze Kiat:
“I first met Sze Kiat in the unlikeliest of situations – we were both serving our annual reservist stint in green uniforms, he holding a rifle, I a camera. Curious to find out how he could swap his rifle for a camera too, we started talking about photography. A recent marketing graduate of RMIT, Sze Kiat seems determined to pursue photography professionally instead of securing a ‘real job’ and most recently photographed at the YOG. In his personal body of work Train Dance, Sze Kiat has shown us what an original idea, a quick eye and a small gamble with the authorities can produce.”
Tay Kay Chin on Nuria Ling:
“Nuria is a serious young photographer with a wonderful ability to empathize with the subjects she works with. Patient, meticulous, passionate and stubborn, she devotes as much effort into her research, as she does in the actual documentation. Although she insists that it is just a coincidence, Nuria’s choice of subject matter in her past few projects has all been about foreign workers – an issue of great social significance. This is where her true calling lies and I am not shy to say that she has educated me with her works.”
Lee Gim Lay on Ore Hui Ying:
“Ore Hui Ying is a true professional who has displayed a high level of commitment to the craft. She has a positive attitude to actualize an idea and that is a very important trait to have. Her works are closely related to her immediate surrounding and in the ongoing documentation of her family, she reveals a deeper level of psychic and emotional attachment within the family. Ordinary and yet intimate, it is important to note the drive behind her project is emotive, and one very close to the photographer’s heart. I believe as long she is clear with her purpose, and stay close to her beliefs, we can expect powerful work from her soon.”
Ernest Goh on Diyana Rahim:
“I met Diyana while interviewing candidates for NAC’s Noise Apprenticeship program. Diyana’s energy and spirit set her apart from the rest of the group – and they are important in helping her move towards her goal of becoming a photojournalist. These days, many photo stories are presented under multiple layers of meanings and technologies in order to grab the viewer’s attention. Diyana pictures reminds me of the first layer, and probably the most important of them all – the simple curiosity in humanity.”
Goh Eck Heng on Thomas Tham:
“I first saw Thomas’ photographs on Flickr. They leapt out, caught me and would not let go. The images are direct, often harsh, but full of humanity, courage or love. This is because Thomas photographs not just with a camera but with his heart. His technical mastery does not get in the way of what each picture says for the children he introduces. They, like Thomas, have become friends.
Thomas’ photographs change lives.”