Archive for February, 2009

Earning Your Stripes

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

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Every two years, the prestigious European Architectural Photography Prize, organised by architekturbild in association with the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, is awarded to a group of four images related to a specific theme. The theme for the 2009 Prize was New Homelands.

The images I selected to send were possibly outside the normal response expected by the jury. I am however, very pleased to announce that my photographs were awarded Second Prize.

The awards ceremony and exhibition opening will take place in Frankfurt in late April.

Doctor in the House

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

For all those who grew up watching the BBC’s various incarnations of Doctor Who hurtling through time and space, the appearance of this glass cubicle in the Singapore skyline could mean only one thing….

The Doctor was definitely in!

Granted, upon closer inspection the TARDIS looked less like a Police Box than I remembered. But things have certainly progressed a little since 1972 and maybe they’d finally fixed the chameleon circuit.

Free To Bet

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

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As the Marina Bay Integrated Resort construction continues along at a blistering pace, various discussions continue as to just how the place will make money, given the recent setbacks in the global economy.

It would seem that Singaporean nationals will have to pony up $100 in order to actually gamble in the casino while foreigners can blow their money free of charge, as it were. Certainly an interesting way to attract local patronage and support!. Though having heard some terrible stories of gambling addiction, I sometimes wish they’d have adopted a similar policy at the Crown casino in Melbourne where countless weekly wage packets are thrown away every day by those who can least afford it.

Job Cutting in Singapore

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I’ve always been impressed by the teams of grass cutters that patrol Singapore, keeping the place manicured with their armada of whipper-snippers. Sounding like a low budget Hells Angels gang outing, a swarm of cutters descended upon the grassed field we were shooting from. In what seemed like just a few minutes they had cut a wide swathe through the unkempt sea of green, pausing briefly to swap out the plastic blades before returning back through to finish off the job.

With the two-stroke scented air filled with grass clippings, dust and assorted insect limbs, there was nothing to do but wrap up the Alpa and shoot a few frames with the Lumix while they passed.

No Such Thing..

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

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..as a free lunch. But sometimes it sure feels like it.

After getting too used to overpriced coffee shops and hotel room service dining, it’s always refreshing to mix it up in the streets with the lunchtime crush of office workers. Adjacent to our project was Lau Pa Sat, which opened as Singapore’s first market in 1825. It is now a hawker centre, where stall after stall sells an amazing array of local fare at amazingly low prices.

Playing it safe (for today at least) I went for Chicken Rice Combo Plate (with soup and a vegetable) for a paltry SGD4.70 (USD3.10). A veritable feast for less than a Starbucks Grande Latte.

Getting Your Backup

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

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Whenever there was a quiet moment during the day, Kyle would take the opportunity to back up the days work. Shooting digital has brought with it a whole new workflow, good and bad in equal parts. It’s simply no longer possible to head back to the hotel knowing that it’s “in the can”. These days the captures are checked, basic corrections applied and then backed up twice to separate external drives. More often than not, a quick set of proofs is generated to reference the following day.

Still, I’m not in the least enamoured with the notion of returning to shooting film.

It almost looks relaxing.

Iconoblast

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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Most afternoons in Singapore, the clouds bunch up as the humidity builds, often unleashing thunder, lightning and torrential rains. We’ve generally been retreating to the hotel during this time but can still see our project to gauge when things are improving. As the rain got heavier, we started to lose sight of the project altogether. This proved to be an ominous sign.

Today’s storm front was rolling right through the middle of town, sending the tourists milling around the landmark Merlion scurrying for cover.

Good thing too as the very next bolt of lightning sizzled its way down from the swirling black clouds above, striking Singapore’s national symbol square on the top of the head. Next morning’s paper showed a clearly scorched mane and a chipped left ear on the petrified beast.

By first light the repair crew was already at work, patching up the old boy with a gob of putty and a splash of paint.

Resilience, lah!
Peace and tranquility had been restored to the island nation.

Roam Wasn’t Billed Indo Way

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Standing on the 70th floor of the Sail @ Marina Bay, you can see almost all of Singapore. And a good deal of Malaysia and Indonesia to boot. Apparently, the Indonesians could see me as well!

With my feet firmly planted on Singaporean soil, a quick buzz on the iPhone alerted me to the SMS welcoming me to Indonesia, hoping that I enjoyed the experience of their Indosat Cellular Network. While appreciating the warm invitation, I was keenly aware that roaming on the Indonesian network was considerably more expensive than any of the three Singapore-based networks.

But when trying to switch the settings back to manual network selection, the option simply wasn’t there. Indosat had taken over my iPhone! 

And it wasn’t about to let go without a fight.

I needed to reboot the iPhone twice before it picked up the much cheaper Singaporean signal again.

Please Mac Up My Room

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

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I often wonder what goes through the housekeeping staff’s minds when they open the door to this.

Mist Opportunity

Friday, February 20th, 2009

I usually try to book a hotel with a view towards the project. Or at the very least with a view to wherever the prevailing weather is coming from. In Singapore we had both and could really get a feel for how the light moved on the facades throughout the day.

Early on the first morning, I stepped outside onto the meagre terrace to see some great reflective light on the leading edge of the building. Grabbing a camera from the as yet unpacked bags, I quickly set up the shot. Just as quickly, the cold, dry lenses fogged up in the warm, moist air of the Singapore dawn.

I’d not had time to acclimatize the cameras as we would normally have done. By the time everything had equalised and the lenses cleared up, the gorgeous early morning light was all over.