Thursday, November 19, 2015

In The Still of the Night

Architectural and urban landscape photographer Darren Soh launched his latest collection 'In the Still of the Night (While You Were Sleeping)'. There's the book (S$75), and there's the exhibition of the prints along Esplanade Tunnel. It's up along the walls till 3 January 2016. Take a look! Next Saturday 28 November at 3pm at Esplanade's Jendela Visual Arts Space, Darren will speak and share his thoughts about the collection and do a book signing.

The first installment of this series in 2005 was simply titled 'While You Were Sleeping'. This new one 'In the Still of the Night' is a continuation. The recently captured images feature some places that are now no more because the bulldozers have taken away the green. The photobook certainly captured facets of Singapore that I've long forgotten or simply not come across in the hustle and bustle of the everyday. Darren's images forced me to think about what I've missed out, what others see, and how we might refresh those long-held perspectives.

You think he brought lights to these shoots? Nope. They were all shot in near darkness on long exposure. And with plenty of buzzing mosquitos for company. Setting the camera to capture these shots would not take too much effort to learn. But having that will, vision and determination in getting the right shot, with a huge dose of luck, are tremendous obstacles. I don't possess those; will stick to admiring his works. Kudos to Darren for getting all these shots because he believes in them. In case you want to know, he used a Sony A7r and A7 Mark II. You can see it in the colors.

Popped down for the launch of the exhibition. Was totally surprised with a gift of an autographed photobook. Woot. Such beautiful paper, texture and quality of prints within. As much as the photos are mesmerizing, I also enjoyed the words within. Words always lend a corporeal form to the photos. Photos are slightly more open to interpretation than words. Of course we're free to think what we choose. But in this photobook, the words are present to give context and explain Darren's intent.

In the vacancy are gaping reminders of what this city used to be. Before there was space, this was a place. People may not be in sight, but their familiar existence remains inscribed on these now unfamiliar grounds.

There're many intentional blank pages inserted between. Totally love that. In a book laden with precious printing costs, it's such a luxury to have purposeful blank pages. Of the vacant and the forgotten. Eh, not a waste of paper okay! I've got some favorites and am purchasing a few prints as Christmas gifts especially for those who would enjoy them, and coincidentally, the venues/locations hold special significance for them.

Thank you for doing what you do, Darren. So that we have a chance to see what we don't see, a sort of 'beyond the everyday', and our scattered musings find some structure and meaning in your photographic frames.


Lyn Lee said...

So awesome. It's really a labour of love!

imp said...

totally! i can't quite decide if i want to 'steal' his images onto the macbook to stare and stare or to stand in front of the bigger photos along the tunnel to feel like i'm walking among the grass or something in those locations.