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Magda Biernat July 23, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Singapore.
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From the series “Units of Separation”. Singapore 2008

Magda Biernat (b.1978, Poland) obtained her BFA in Photography from Wielkopolska School of Photography. In 1992 she moved to the United States and started working at Magnum Photos. Surrounded by great photo-journalistic works at Magnum she turned her interests towards a different specialty, and begun photographing architecture and interiors. She worked as a Picture Editor at Metropolis Magazine and in 2007 decided to take off for a year long trip around the world. While traveling to more than 17 countries she worked on her personal projects concerning urban landscape and habitat. She is currently enrolled in an MFA program at the Transart Institute. Magdat has exhibited internationally since 2001 with solo exhibitions in Poland, Belgium and United States. She is a recipient of the TMC/Kodak Grant and a Lucie Award among others.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was taken in Singapore, where I photographed several apartment complexes. Visiting each floor, I documented the small personal items left outside of otherwise identical homes: bikes, shoes, shrines and drying laundry of all different colors. It was fascinating for me to see the ways the occupants had personalized their exterior spaces to separate themselves from other units. Apartment blocks became a worldwide phenomenon in the 1960′s as city planners cast off design based on human scale and began construction on a future of managed density. Units of Separation is an exploration of the way people maintain their individuality while being part of a collective and how units of space meant to foster communal harmony can actually threaten our sense of community. While a resident may come to know their immediate neighbor, it is possible they may never meet the person living directly above them.”

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Tay Kay Chin December 2, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Singapore.
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Burmese Construction Workers. Singapore 2008

Tay Kay Chin (b.1965, Singapore), spent more than a decade in newspapers in Singapore and USA and held positions from photographer to presentation editor. A photojournalism graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, he has exhibited widely and his photographs are collected by Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European House of Photography in Paris and private collectors. A vocal advocate of photography in Singapore, he co-founded Shooting Home, Southeast Asia’s first photography workshop.  In 2003, Hasselblad named him one of 12 Hasselblad Masters of the world, in recognition of his Panoramic Singapore series. In 2007, Becoming Capa, a short story he wrote in university was adapted and released as a full-length feature film, Becoming Royston; and in 2008, a photographic novella based on that short story was published.

About the Photograph:

“My project, “Foreign Talents: The Hands That Built Our Home” was in many ways forced upon me because of circumstances. For more than a year I was grounded to supervise the building of our little home. The travel ban was frustrating and challenged me to practice what I always advocated – that a good photograph can be taken anywhere. Through photography, I am getting to know a little more about the individuals who are helping to piece our future home together. I am curious, for instance, to know what brings them to Singapore, and who they left behind. Sometimes, I thought I could wait a day or two, only to find out that some of them are not coming back again. Maybe it is just fate, but the spot which I have chosen to make their portraits is where my future studio and home office is sited.  Sometimes, being grounded is not such a bad thing.”

Editors Note: Tay Kay Chin and I met virtually when I interviewed him in the early internet days (circa 1996) for an article in zonezero on some of the innovative ways that photographers use the web. It was an exciting time.  We were still using animated gifs instead of Flash with Netscape 1.0. Who could have imagined all of the changes- the rapid growth and improvements of digital cameras, hi-definition video and iphones. But perhaps, most importantly the global impact and ways that the playing field has changed in such a short period of time.

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