AEP 25 Photo Showcase by ziming 2P3

A Story

Each photograph tells a story. Other than design photos, each photograph narrates a story, it could be for a communicative purpose, it could be for propaganda, it could be a story that shows identity, and most commonly, a story of memories. These stories could be easily understood from simply just looking at the photograph, or they could be masked behind the photograph; when the photograph may not tell the story you expect. To me, what makes an impactful photograph is not its quality, it's how unique and well-told its story is. However, a good photograph does not have to have an impact on the world, it simply needs to have your meaning behind it. Here are 25 photographs which have my side of the story told below them.

1) Lighted Steps

A step higher!

Type: Architectural and Design

This is a photograph of the ION Orchard lighted steps taken at such a low angle that the lights on the steps do not just light up the stairs but creates a checkerboard pattern on the stairs, giving the feeling of a lighted runway. This could be an attractive design for stairs in a futuristic shopping mall, hence i classify it under the category of architectural and design.

2) Street Performance


Type: Narrative and Identity

A talented person does a street performance outside ION Orchard to earn a decent amount of money from his audience after a hard day of performing. He juggles three knives while walking past his assistant, who is chosen from among the crowd. This has almost become a daily routine for many such people along Orchard Road; some play musical instruments, others do circus or magic tricks. This photograph brings the understanding of such a less-known job in Singapore and shows that one cannot earn money without working hard. That's why there aren't any beggars in Singapore.

3) Dimension

This is escalating!

Type: Architectural and Design

This photograph was taken in Takashimaya at Orchard Road. It shows commuters taking the escalators, which fall straight downwards and upwards. It creates a feeling of a reversed dimension, which may be possible on a planet with very little or no gravity, and it reminds me of a scene in Interstellar where the protagonist enters a fifth dimensional space, hence giving the photograph its name.

4) Little India Shops

Tip: He is NOT holding the white umbrella

Type: Narrative and Identity

An Indian man wearing a white shirt and what seems like a white dress walks into a traditional "shopping center" with an umbrella in his right hand. Meanwhile, above him, Indian-style sown dresses are seen on display in a shop. This photograph is taken in Little India, where much traditional Indian culture is preserved and many old buildings are kept untouched, and it introduces one to the Indian culture and lifestyle in the area.

5) Unusually Long Queue

All These Minutes for an ATM!

Type: Narrative and Identity

Also taken at Little India, this photograph shows more than 20 Indian men queuing to grab some cash from an ATM machine, which is the only one in the vicinity. Meanwhile, two security guards walk past to check on the long queue. "It's just the ATM machine again", they thought. However unusual it may seem to you, queuing for half an hour to access the ATM machine is a daily routine for the people living in the area, and this machine has become a must-have in the lives of these people. As such a photograph is hard to get in other common places such as HDBs and shopping centers, it also reflects the unique identity of such a phenomenon in the area.

6) Little India Shophouses

These shop-houses are like the ones in Chinatown

Type: Narrative and Identity

This photograph shows the shop-houses along Serangoon Road in Little India. These are the little malls which dot the streets of Little India, and they have been around up to 100 years old. Of course, most of these shop-houses have gone through renovation, but the traditional Indian culture here still thrives as it has been a hundred years ago.

7) Indian Florist


Type: Narrative and Identity

This is not a usual florist? Who would see limes as a type of accessory? That's right! The Indians see these flowers as part of their lives, and they may often be worn in temples. Such an authentic selection of flowers can be seen in many of the shops along Little India, and their fragrant smell leaves behind a hint of Indian culture, tradition and history.

8) Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

Oh nooo... I took this in such a hurry, the sign could not have been in a worse place...

Type: Narrative and Identity

This is one of the two Hindu temples in the Little India area, and also one of the oldest temples in Singapore to still exist up till today. It is built in 1881, and it is one of the most crowded areas in Little India today, as many do their prayers here everyday. You can also go into the temple and be amazed, but remember, no cameras or shoes!

9) Obstacle

Sharp eyes!

Type: Narrative

A thorn could hurt us, so we avoid them. However, if you were trapped behind this wall of tangled thorns in the Botanic Gardens, away from the life and greenery behind, what would you do? Would you avoid or face it? This wall is no ordinary wall, it's a wall of obstacles! You don't avoid obstacles, you face them! Don't worry, I'm just kidding, I didn't run into this wall.

10) Jealousy And Arrogance

Crowadice and Cockiness

Type: Narrative

In the Botanic Gardens, a crow stares at a rooster, which looks away upon seeing the disgraceful bird. One bird is jealous, the other is arrogant. This can be perfectly resembled in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, where Brutus thought of Caesar, "But when he once attains the upmost round, he then unto the ladder turns his back, looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees", then the conspirators move on to killing Caesar because of their jealousy, resulting in an unstable Rome. Hence, it shows that photographs have much stories behind them, and are not just a capture of a specific moment; it could be a reenact of the past, or a forecast of the future.

11) Standing Tall

Well, I'm still taller

Type: Narrative and Communicative

A lamp stands out from the rest and glows before the distant sky. This shows eliteness (Please ignore my poor English), and in chinese, we describe this as 出人头地, or 顶天立地, which are both positive phrases which suggests that one stands out from the rest, or that one stands high as the skyline, respectively. This photograph may also be used as an advertisement to show that something or someone stands out from the rest of its kind, in order to attract people from elsewhere.

12) Corruption


Type: Narrative, Communication, Propaganda

Taken at the Botanic Gardens, this photograph depicts a green slope and a clear sky, which unfortunately, is being eaten up by a storm of dust and drought. What makes this photograph unique is actually not the accompanying story and morale, but rather how i got it. Of course, it could be used as communication for the disappearing nature around us due to our waste products such as plastic and greenhouse gases; or it could be used as a propaganda against corruption, where the clear skies and grassy plains suggest a harmonious and clean nation, while the dust storm suggests a distorted and destroyed nation.

Now for the unique process of taking this photo. I was walking along a road in the Botanic Gardens when I saw a small puddle of water between the road and the grass beside it. The water reflects the sky, and the shrub-like plant is actually the reflection of a part of a tree. After taking the photo, I vertically inverted it to get this effect. This was not photoshopped!!!

13) The One Among Us


Type: Narrative, Communicative, Propaganda

I remember, back in 2008, I used to always look at the posters along the interior of buses, and often I will see one poster which had me thinking for about half a year. It was a poster with many footballs, and among them was a football with a shining red dot on a stalk on top of the ball --- much like potato mine from Plant Vs Zombies. Up to this date, I can still remember this poster quite clearly, and form my memory, the captions read: The One Among Us, and the description has got something to do with bad guys and awareness (at least that's what I thought when I was five). Today, (well, not TODAY...) I see the same scene presented in the real world through a special type of flower in the Botanic Gardens, called the Chinese Honeysuckle. The flowers of this plant are either red or white, and I found the perfect cluster with 6 white and one red flower. Hence, I guess this could be an imitation of the same advertisement, which could be used as communication for awareness or propaganda against terrorism today; and as a narrative photograph, it personally brings me back memories of my childhood and reminds me of the long-gone poster which meaning I once spent half a year trying to figure.

14) World War II

Hmm... where did I take this?

Type: Narrative (a reenact)

On an early morning in February 1942, Allied Defenders occupied the Clock Tower of the Chinese High School during the Battle of Singapore, as the area around the high vantage point was bombarded with mortar shells. This vantage point will soon belong to the Imperial Japanese Army for the purpose of surveillance. This is the story that the "reenact" photograph had meant to tell: The Japanese Occupation during WWII. With the help of clouds which take the shape of explosions and smoke, this scene was made possible in the year of 2017, 75 years after the real incident had occured.

15) Disappearing Forests

Cut it

Type: Communicative

This photograph was taken near Beauty World MRT, and it shows a small patch of forestry being eaten up by the construction of something. As you know, all around the world, trees are being cut down to make way for construction, resulting in a huge impact on the environment, such as erosion or the loss of habitat and a broken food chain. Hence, the purpose of this photograph is to bring awareness to the disappearing nature around us, and hope to promote the re-planting of saplings in Singapore.

16) Lonliness

What a Moonday

Type: Narrative

Taken on an evening at Bukit Panjang, the picture depicts the Bukit Panjang skyline, and above it a sea of blue, with a small white dot on the top-right corner of the photo --- the Moon. This photograph is able to depict loneliness through the motionless and unlit buildings, as well as the little white dot in a sea of blue --- a color usually associated with sadness and loneliness. The photograph also reminds us that there is a world out there, far from the busy cities we live in; and that our planet is so small, that we are a lonely civilization across the huge universe we belong in.

17) Choice and Separation

Will you choose to separate, or separate to choose?

Type: Narrative and Communicative

A photo of the Helix Bridge and Bayfront Avenue skybridge is taken from the East side of the Singapore River, such that the bridges "links" to each other then separates into two directions. As a narrative and communicative photograph, it shows that separation comes along with choice, and that choice is an extremely strong force; it is usually stronger than love; and the wrong choice brings you upon the wrong lane, which leads to consequences. By then, the only way to get back upon the right lane is to make a U-turn or to make another choice that separates you from the wrong road.

18) Lepak

Also got fire alarm beside him in case his Samsung explodes

Type: Narrative and Identity

A man sits down in a corner of the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, takes out his earpieces, and charges his phone from a power socket beside him. This kind of reflects the idea of 'lepak', which means to chill and do nothing. A good way to show Singapore's identity through this photo is to compare the way people 'lepak' now as compared to ten years ago, when 'lepak' would usually refer to chilling in a corner of a HDB Block, sometimes with your friend but with nothing in your hands. Well, I guess there is a huge difference in the meaning of 'lepak' nowadays, when people go to malls and sit in the corner where there is a power socket, staring at their friends through a phone screen. It also shows how much the society has changed since then, both socially and physically. (there weren't such luxurious places before)

19) Imitation

I am a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy......

Type: Architectural and Design

Bizarrely enough, the window panes of the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands are built curving inwards, almost like a quarter of a circle's circumference. Hence, each pane is able to capture part of the background which is present in the one above and below it. That's why one storey of the building forms a 'building' made of 3.5 identical stories in this reflected image, which consists of separate panes that partly imitates one another, but comes together to form an image which is recognizable.

20) The Security Camera

I think Yishun needs more of these, not Geylang

Type: Narrative and Identity

Security Cameras... what a common thing to see in Singapore. Behind this photograph exists tons and tons more of this camera's brothers; who are installed in every corner of Singapore: in buildings, in flats, on highways, outside schools, and on streets. I think the most ridiculous amounts of security cameras are found in and around MRT Stations, like literally, just look at this. (Haven't put yet)

Anyways, other than being everywhere, these security tells a story, a story of a developing country with a decreasing crime rate, and it shows the identity of us Singaporeans, as security cameras and fines are the two main things that scare us in Singapore.

21) Sails

GSS Great Singapore Sail

Type: Architectural, Design, Narrative, Identity

The Art Science Museum at Bayfront fits in perfectly with these support poles and strings on the roof of the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands to create a totally different thing --- what resembles sails on a ship. However, there is more meaning to these sails than simply a piece of architecture and design. Sails are what carry a boat through a sea; without sails a boat cannot move. These sails suffer from bad weather, pirates and all kinds of threats, but they hold on strong and won't break, otherwise the boat would fail to reach its destination. To me, the boat represents our nation, whereas the sails represent our founding fathers, who have kept our nation sailing in the sea of development despite often experiencing setbacks and challenges. Through rain or shine, through all kinds of setbacks and failures such as riots, protests and a lack of development then, our founding fathers have held on; they have came up with all kinds of plans to keep us sailing, and they are the ones whom we should thank for the Singapore we know today. It is impossible for a nation not have its sails, but what makes the difference between the distances our boats have traveled is the strength of our sails; and we, as the passengers, have to help support these sails when they face challenges, to repair them when they are worn out.

22) Sailing Nation

To be honest, it looks more like a banana

Type: Architectural, Design, Narrative, Identity

This time, it's the Marina Bay Sands and the blue-lit wave-like structures on the roof of the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands that are co-operating with each other to form part two of "Sails". Again, other than being a photograph which only shows design, the photograph has a story too, and it is about a sailing boat --- yeah, right...... the boat is a nation again...... However, this time, the sailing boat represents not just a sailing nation but how it has sailed and what unforgettable experiences have been shared and remembered throughout its journey. It shows our current boat, a luxurious and strong metal boat --- which was once a small wooden boat --- sailing above the raging waves on pillars of light --- pillars built on experiences and memories. It shows a nation that does not give up, a nation that only gets stronger when its opponents get stronger, a nation that outruns its opponents with its experiences, failures and memories of the past, a nation called Singapore.

23) City Lights

Lights me up

Type: Narrative and Identity

This is a photograph of the Downtown skyline and its colorful lights. These lights are one of the things that gives the modern society its identity, and despite being an attractive sight, it also makes us wonder much about our existence; how we have interacted, yet slowly destroyed nature, how we have evolved but yet devolved, and this is why the photograph is blurred, in order to bring the audience to their hearts rather than their eyes.

24) Road To Development

Stop walking! You'll fall into Singapore River!

Type: Narrative

Taken outside the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, this photograph focuses on a path that stretches till the Singapore River skyline, where advanced structures can be seen alongside a moving crane. It narrates the path that we took to obtain what is today; the past path of development, and the advanced structures shows the success we have obtained throughout the years, whereas the crane emphasizes that our nation will continue to develop, and that there is no such thing as a fully-developed nation.

25) Silhouette Of The Modern Society

This was not how the Bukit Panjang skyline used to look...

Type: Narrative and Identity

This photograph is taken from my balcony, and there is not much to see, but much to know about it. It depicts the Bukit Panjang skyline; due to directional light from the Sun behind; in the form of a silhouette taking the shape of the taller buildings. These buildings are another one of the things which gives the modern society its identity, and it reflects how humans have eaten up nature for the building of tall buildings, as well as the fast development of the modern society. Ten years ago, an image take from the same place would show a lower skyline that is more rugged, however, I personally think that there is not enough space for more structures to be built, and given that no building was reconstructed, the skyline of Bukit Panjang ten years from now would possess a similar shape.


Places I Visited: Orchard, Jurong East, Bukit Panjang, Little India, Bus 67 Route, Botanic Gardens, Bayfront


HCAEP Project by Ziming

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