fuji s5 proSingapore chinatown by day 2008

chinatown in Singapore

As mentioned in my other page on Singapore Chinatown, the place never held a strong attraction for me.

At least during the nights before Chinese New Year, Singapore Chinatown is crowded with people and there are lots of activities going on. But during the day... what is there?

But two of my regular photography buddies wanted to shoot Chinatown and we had not met since November. I regarded the occasion more of an opportunity for fellowship with friends. I wan't too hopeful of it being a fruitful photography outing.

Still, I went with an open mind.

After all, I do subscribe to the philosophy that a good photographer will be able to see -- and capture -- good images even in his or her own backyard. Surely, Chinatown is more interesting than my backyard!

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chinatown in SingaporeI was not disappointed.

The main image on this page is not my favourite from this particular photography outing, but I thought I'd put it there as, at least, it has some of the flavor of Singapore Chinatown and of Chinese New Year in Singapore.

Chinatown was just "waking up" when we ariived at about 10 am. It was quiet, with not much activity and I thought this picture of a trishaw wheel captured the quiet mood quite well.

Since there was not a lot happening, and I was hungry, we went first for breakfast of Chinese snacks and desserts like yam cake, sesame cream and almond cream.

The food was excellent and I must thank Hin Mun for his recommendation. Sorry I forgot the name of the restaurant, I will post it once I get it confirmed.

It's along Smith Street, on your right as you enter from New Bridge Road, near the main road junction.

Or, if you cannot wait, then look for this graffiti at the side lane next to the restaurant:








singapore chinatown

I hope you don't find this offensive.

I rather like this picture. In fact, it is my favourite from that morning's shooting at Singapore Chinatown. I like it partly for the directness of the profanity s well as for its Singlish (Singaporean English) flavor. Mainly, I like it because I believe I have succeeded in transforming something crude and vulgar into something aesthetic and artistic.

This was the first of two shots I took. The other was a closer crop. But I felt the two motorcycle mirrors are essential to this picture. They not only soften the crudeness of the image, but prompt the viewer to "reflect" on it.

At another back alley, I shot this:

singapore chinatown


Pictorially, this is not a strong image. But I like it for its double meaning. While the signboard shows the backside of a woman, the rest of the image shows the back -- the back side -- of Singapore Chinatown, with all its dirt and mess.

From back to black... and white. I thought this piece of fabric (looks to me like silk) that was on sale makes for an interesting "black and white" photograph.


chinatown in Singapore - dead ducks


I am not sure about the metal bar though. I try not to move things aside when I shoot street pictures. But I think it's okay here as it is also black and white and it adds furher interest. Without it, the image would have been too plain.

Incidentally, a bit of Photoshop adjustment was needed for this photograph, to bring out the red seal in the black portion of the image and also to brighten the white part, making it more white. Apart from that, the wide drynamic range of the Fuji S5 Pro handled this dark / bright situation wonderfully.

As much as Singapore Chinatown is a place for tourists, it is also a place that Singaporeans should be familiar with. And so it is not uncommon to find groups of young, kindergarten and primary school children being taken by their teachers. This little girl, who was part of a class excursion, enjoyed posing for me (and later for my buddy Joe as well):


chinatown in Singapore


As you can see, my pictures of Singapore Chinatown do not have much of a Chinatown feel, let alone a sense of the pictures having been taken just prior to Chinese New Year.

I did take a few of those, but did not find them very inspiring and worthy of showing, apart from the one above and this final image here:


chinatown in Singaapore


I call this Looking at luck. The Chinese character is Fu, which roughly translates to "luck" or "good fortune".

I am uploading this page on Sunday, February 17. This is the 11th day of the Chinese New Year, which is celebrated over a period of 15 days. So here's wishing you a Happy, Prosperous and Lucky New Year. Click here for another gallery of Chinatown in Singapore photographs,

I hope you enjoy this gallery of Chinatown photographs, as well as the gallery of Singapore Chinatown images taken at night.


Note: Starting with the page on Thaipusam 2008 (uploaded just before this one on February 16, 2008), I have decided to present no more than seven different images on one page.

This arose from a chat I had with my friend who works as a professional prhotographer, where he mentioned that when he interviews job applicants, he asks photographers to bring along a portfolio of only six images. I thought it is a good discipline, to show only the best few. But I identify more with the number 7, as I am a 7 in numerology terms. So I give myself that one extra image to show :-)

If you are a fellow photographer, you might wish to exercise similar restraint and not "show off" too many.