Singapore through the eyes of Gen Z
Participants in the Shooting Home Youth Awards (from left) Lim Yi Ann, Dan N. Tran, and Muhammad Syahrul Anuar, who did photographic projects on the theme of home.

Singapore through the eyes of Gen Z

A photo exhibition featuring works by aspiring photographers will have you reflecting on what home means to you.

The Shooting Home Youth Awards Class of 2020 Exhibition is organised by the centre for photography and film, Objectifs, and it runs until 12 Mar at the centre’s gallery in Middle Road. The exhibition was born out of Objectif’s annual two-week mentorship programme, Shooting Home Youth Awards, which aims to help aspiring lensmen hone their photography skills. Last year, 12 photographers between the ages of 15 and 23 took part in the programme. 

The youth explored the idea of home through the programme and they were mentored by photographers Grace Baey, Joseph Nair, Marvin Tang, and Nurul Huda Rashid.

Three participants from the mentorship programme — Lim Yi Ann, Dan N. Tran, and Muhammad Syahrul Anuar, share their experiences of the mentorship programme and what home means to them.

Dan N. Tran photography awards

A photograph of Dan N. Tran’s family in his work Not Home.

What was the mentorship experience like?

Tran: Before the programme, I had little experience with photography, but I wanted people to have a behind-the-scenes look at what it was like to long for home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photography seemed like the most apt medium for this, and I am glad I could produce a small collection of photographs that embodies what home means to me.

Syahrul: The experience was very humbling. Being placed side-by-side with peers from different backgrounds allowed me to look at my work with a fresh pair of eyes.

Lim: It provided perspective on the struggles and joys of creating photography, and the thought process behind creating a series of meaningful images that tell a unique story.

10_YAN photography awards

Titled At My Grandparents’ Home, Lim Yi Ann’s photo captures a tender moment of her grandparents enjoying tea break together.

What inspired your work?

Lim: My photo series is a tribute to my grandparents, who are struggling with old-age issues such as dementia and lack of mobility. I wanted to photograph their story of growing old together, while weaving a bit of myself into the narrative. The work documents my time with my grandparents and my perspective of their relationship as a granddaughter.

Tran: My longing for home prompted me to pursue this project. Before the pandemic, I would return home twice a year without fail, or have my family visit me in Singapore, but the pandemic disrupted this regularity. I wanted the public to recognise the sense of longing for home, so I projected life-sized images of my loved ones onto physical spaces, including my bedroom walls and a tree at the park.

Syahrul: I have vivid memories of my first home at Jalan Satu. I remember being happy, and for my photography project, I wanted to revisit my old home. Unfortunately, upon my return, I realised that a new block of Built-To-Order flats was being built over my old neighbourhood. The hoardings were plastered with images of picture-perfect families, and these fabricated images troubled me deeply as they perpetuated images of what an ideal family should look like. I decided then to subvert those images and combine them with pictures from my childhood to remind me of the good times I had as a child.

Syahrul Anuar photography awards

In his photographic series, Yang Pertama, Muhammad Syahrul Anuar combines images on hoardings around blocks of flats with photographs from his childhood.

What is your biggest takeaway from this mentorship programme?

Lim: It’s how much I have learnt from this mentorship, from the ethics of image-making to different forms of photography to storytelling through images. This experience has widened my view of what photography is or can be.

Tran: The networks I built and the camaraderie I shared with my peers and mentors are priceless. The programme has also made me realise how talented everyone is, and how motivating it is to be surrounded by people who inspire you.

Syahrul: Meeting other people who are also interested in the craft of photography, but not necessarily doing photography full time, allowed me to understand what keeps each of them going.

(Photos: Lim Yi Ann, Dan N. Tran, Muhammad Syahrul Anuar)

Replies have been edited for clarity. Learn more about the Shooting Home Youth Awards Class of 2020 Exhibition here.

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