In the second quarter of 2015 I was approached by Institute of Policy Studies(IPS) when they were looking for a Portrait Photographer in Singapore to discuss a book project titled Not Born in Singapore in celebration of Singapore 50 years of independence. IPS is a research center of the Lee Kuan Yew of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. The existence of the center is to analyse public policy, build bridges between thought leaders. It also examines issues of critical national interest across a variety of fields, and studies the attitudes and inspirations of Singaporeans through surveys of public perception.
My task in this project is to make portraits of the foreigners who contributed in the nation building in the past 50 years. It was very clear to me the direction of the approach had to be upmost honest and unpretentious so to reflect personalities regardless of their current state, rather than re-enact who they were then. Out of the 50, only 21 were available in Singapore to have their portraits taken. And out of the 21, only one disagreed with the portrait that had been made, and it did not come from the newsmaker, but the public relation officer/s. All the newsmakers were extremely easy to work with and cooperative, that was also why the project was so enjoyable although there were a few unavoidable hiccups and it lasted longer than it planned.
Often I felt extremely honoured to have the pleasure to meet and photograph the greats who helped to shape this land. And although the book titled Not Born in Singapore, but they are definitely a very great part of Singapore which we all are so proud to call home.
The 21 individuals I had the pleasure to photograph are, Alain Vandenborre, Aleksandar Duric, Ann Elizabeth Wee, Bruno Wildermuth, Sir David Lane, Dr Edison Liu, Prof Edward Holmes, Feng Tianwei, George Radda, Goh Lay Kuan, J. M. Sali, Prof Jackie Ying, Jing Junhong, Prof John Miksic, Milenko Prvacki, Pasquale Pistorio, Ronald Susilo, Santha Bhaskar, Dr Sydney Brenner, Tan Sri Frank Tsao Wen-King, Tan Swie Hian, and Prof Wang Gunwu.
Singapore Portrait Photographer