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Painting a historical picture
TAKE a photo, it'll last longer. At least that's what Capitol Piazza, the organisers of photography exhibition Snapshots of Heritage which runs until Aug 11, are hoping for.
Dawn Tan, general manager of Capitol Investment Holdings, says: "Capitol is an iconic landmark in Singapore's civic and cultural precinct and we wanted to bring a new breath of life and energy into it."
The exhibition, held at the outdoor plaza event space, spans 484 square metres and features 100 photographs, with three winning entries and 15 consolation prizes.
Felicia Mak, vice-president of marketing at Capitol Investment Holdings, explains: "We had the idea to do this in February this year. The objective of the competition and subsequent exhibition are simple. Cultural heritage can provide a sense of unity and belonging within a group and it allows us to better understand previous generations and the history of where we come from."
She adds: "We hope to use images to connect the younger generation with the older ones, to educate and help people understand how far we've come, and to add to the collective memory of our society."
Though the exhibition was originally slated to showcase 50 photographs, the response from the community during the submission period of April to June compelled them to increase the selection to 100.
Allan Lee, chief judge and curator of the exhibition, says: "The images far exceeded our expectations and we received 812 entries in total, so we wanted to showcase a more representative number of photographs."
The five-person judging panel scanned the entries for basic photography skills like exposure, sharpness, composition, framing and final presentation, with an additional requirement of a picture caption relating why the photographer chose that specific image for the theme.
The winning entry - which awarded photographer Ong Yi Chao a DSLR camera and S$4,000 in cash - features a colourful row of shophouses in the Joo Chiat area with a cyclist forming the focus of the picture.
Mr Lee, also the founder of photography consortium Shutter Journey Singapore, points out: "I liked the dynamics a lot. The photographer waited at a puddle, risking himself and his equipment to water damage, and the timing was just brilliant. The complementary subject, a random cyclist wearing a bright red shirt, came into frame just so. Some might say it was pure luck but the effort involved in getting that shot is undeniable."
Wong Chek Poh came in second place, with a photograph of Tong Ah building along Keong Saik Road.
Mr Lee says, of his entry: "You have to take a second and third look to understand what it is. All the judges couldn't figure out how he got the shot and several minutes of contemplation later, we realised he got it by using the reflection from the roof of a car! It was an ingenious way of presenting the shot."
Third place was awarded to Kelvin Ng for the image of Pearl Bank Apartments, chosen as it was the first all-housing project undertaken by the Urban Renewal Department of the Housing and Development Board's Sale of Sites Programme.
"The black-and-white rendering was reflective of the heritage theme, and the angle of the photograph is just so interesting," notes Mr Lee.
None of the photographs displayed are on sale, as one of the key aspects of the exhibition is not to make monetary gains, but instead, to offer a platform for local photographers to showcase their talent. Capitol has not ruled out the possibility of continuing this project in another form next year, though no concrete plans have been made as yet.
Interest levels in the exhibition, which opened on July 15, have been high. Ms Mak says: "We initially expected around 25,000 visitors as it appeals to both older and younger people, but within the first four days themselves, we've already had close to 6,000 attendees. It's very encouraging."
The hope is that the exhibition will leave a lasting impression on everyone who sees it.
Ms Mak adds: "Without visuals, we leave the interpretation of heritage to individuals, and that may fade with time. With an exhibition like this, we aim to form a perspective of a collective heritage from everyone by getting more people curious and hopefully igniting their interest in finding out more about the culture that shaped their lives."
- Snapshots of Heritage Photography Exhibition runs till Aug 11 at Capitol Piazza's Outdoor Plaza from 10.30am to 10.30pm daily. Entry is free. For more information, please visit www.capitolpiazza.com