Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Le Petit Portraits part trois

Pregnancy portrait of Edlyn

Winnie and her daughter Alexa


Ms Yeo and her dogs

Heng and the Telemarketer

7pm: The phone rings in the studio.

Heng picks up the phone.

Telemarketer: Hello Mr Tan, my name is ...... . I am calling on behalf of ..... Bank. Can I ask you if you have a personal loan with .... Bank.

Heng: Are you pretty?

Telemarketer: Excuse me? I am calling you about a personal loan?

Heng: What do you look like?

Telemarketer: Errr. I see you are not interested in personal loan.

Heng: I am interested in a personal date.

Telemarketer: Thank you. Good bye.

Heng scores 1.


The best and unfortunately for me a real line for those banks trying to get me to sign on to a credit card is, "I am afraid I do not earn more than $30k a year. Do I qualify for your card?" And the answer is "So sorry. Have a good day Mr Tan."


The people that piss me off the most are those that send me blast faxes, making use of my paper, toner and electricity to do their bloody marketing. I wish I could a hack somehow and direct one fax marketer's adverst to another fax marketer's machine. Thereby confounding two marketer's system at the same time.


My horoscope says that I am at odds with the world today. Funny, I feel so in sync!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Gates' "creative capitalism": profits plus philanthropy

Gates' "creative capitalism": profits plus philanthropy

There is so much news of bad things happening in wars, environment and personal tradgadies. A story like Bill Gates wanting to be a philanthropist is like a nice ray of sunshine.

Calvin and Hobbes and the chain letter

I just think the idea of chain letters is nasty. To save all my friends, I refuse to send them on and just take all the bad luck for myself. I just wish the truck would run over me sooner.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

MacBook Air recommendation: 10 reasons to wait | Computerworld Blogs

MacBook Air recommendation: 10 reasons to wait | Computerworld Blogs

When lust could lead to a regrettable mistake.

I have been reading the reviews coming out for the Mac Book Air and it is mixed. Yes, everyone thinks it looks good, but performance is not aimed at high end users. I guess a photographer like me who would want to edit photographs on the road will find this machine driving them to insanity. And the difference in size to the Mac Book Pro is not that much. Take a look a the picture. It is a great concept, but more for those people with money to burn, literally.

Canon Powershot G9 Review

Canon Powershot G9 Review

I have been quietly using my G9. My photographs in Hong Kong were shot on the G9. I am actually very happy with it in light of the size of the package. I carry it around with me everyday. Honestly, after working on a 5D day in day out, the G9's image quality is not as good as a DSLR. But I have not found another point and shoot that I would trust as much, including the Ricoh GR. Basically the G9's 12 megapixels are usable. And if I was every to sell stuff to a stock agency, this is the only compact camera that I think could make the cut. That is enough reason for me to work with its shortcomings. For a carry around everywhere camera, this is tops for me.

D300 False Low-Battery Warnings=Worthless DSLR…Thanks a lot Nikon |

D300 False Low-Battery Warnings=Worthless DSLR…Thanks a lot Nikon |

Friday, January 25, 2008

I feel like an expectant father

My first book is in the process of being printed. I was at the printers, Print Dynamics, checking the colour. It is so exciting, really like waiting to see my first baby. The people at Print Dynamics were really nice and professional. I was pretty impressed by the quality of the print. Can't wait to see the final book.

And just in case you may not have been following the blog, the book is titled Dance Me Through The Dark, the same name as the upcoming exhibition. For more information, visit

An interesting question

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Crash Test Dummy Olympics

Crash Test Dummy Olympics

I have been pretty packed out with things to do. Then I came across this site while doing research. This is a blast.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Le Petit Portraits part deux

Portrait of Gaby Grissemann by Tan Ngiap Heng

Portrait of Susanne Stettler by Tan Ngiap Heng

I have really been enjoying the Le Petit Portrait promotion. Somehow at $100 people are more willing to come into the studio and let me play. And play I have. =)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Dilbert Truth

Call me cynical but I think this is what is happening in corporations right now.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A hetic New Year

Liana Chua shot by me in a Le Petit Portrait session.

Last year, 2007, was a great year for my photography, and a crap year for business. The business may live or may die due to lack of clientèle, but I rarely take things lying down.

With the upcoming exhibition and book launch of Dance Me Through The Dark, it was expected that it would be a busy time. Preparing images, proof reading, promotional efforts, all take time and effort. And this is not only the first time I am publishing a book, it is also the first time I have a curator (Venka Puroshothaman) and am presenting the exhibition as an installation.

But also in order to fill the traditionally quite January month between New Year and Chinese New Year, the Le Petit Portrait promotion was launched and has had a really good response. We have had a fair number of people taking up the promotion and even more that have just taking a look at The Pond's new web site and looked at what we have to offer.

We have also created a new portfolio aimed at corporate clients and the response so far has been much better than the last portfolio aimed at advertising agencies. I guess that I have learnt that the advertising agencies in Singapore want a one-stop commercial photography shop which The Pond cannot provide. The PR agencies are more interested in portraits and documentary photography which is much more in line with what The Pond does.

Things seem to be picking up but it is early days yet. Ultimately though, I am not going to stop my photographic journey. If there is a commercial portrait side to my journey, fine. If not, there are a lot more things for me to do. At least it will be full steam ahead till March.

So I apologise if postings are slow on the blogs.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Intern

I had three interns last year. Someone from Temasek Poly called me asking for a position. Unfortunately, the position has been filled for six months, by Darren Tan, from NTU.

Ok Darren, stop looking at the blog and get back to work.

Friday, January 11, 2008

An unexpected good thing

I have been using an Apple airport express to stream Itunes music to my Hi-Fi system. It has been over a year now and the warranty has expired. I went to the Apple care center and was told that Apple does not service peripherals. They just did a one for one exchange. And they confirmed that the airport express is out of warranty. But the service guy told me that if the computer that was attached to the airport express was still under warranty, they would still do the exchange. That was an interesting piece of information as I had a Mac Pro still under warranty. So I got a one for one exchange on the airport express. And we all sooooo expect Apple servicing to cost us an arm and a leg. =)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Le Petit Portraits

Kong Yit Sim taken by Shin Lim

Kenny Yap taken by Ngiap Heng

Kenny Yap taken by Ngiap Heng

Crispian Chan taken by Ngiap Heng

Crispian Chan taken by Ngiap Heng

Jack Magik taken by Ngiap Heng

The response to the Le Petit Portrait promotion has been quite good. Here are some portraits from the sessions.

Dance Me Through The Dark

Dance Me Through The Dark

Curated by Venka Purushothaman
Installation designed by Soon Kin
The Arts House Gallery
13-28 February 2008
10am-8.30pm daily
Admission is free

Book Launch on the 13th February 2008

This has been a long time in the works, but I guess now is a good time to publicize it.

Dance Me Through The Dark is the culmination of eight years of photographic practise. It is a labour of love and the people that have been the most enthusiastic about it have been the dancers that worked with me on the project. It is the most ambitious exhibition that I have mounted as this is more an installation than just prints on a wall. It will be the first time I am publishing a book too.

I hope that you will all come down to see this exhibition.

Sunday, January 06, 2008 � The Hawker and the Banker � The Hawker and the Banker

People are beginning to observe a divide in the rich and the poor in Singapore. And I think it is something that will continue to impact our little island.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A New Year's Musing

I just came back from a holiday with my parents in Hong Kong. I took my Canon Powershot S9 along and took some photographs. I feel somewhat distant from my photographs now. I see images as compositional exercises at the moment. The photographs I take are not bad. My eyes are now trained to look for interesting things to shoot and my brain is wired to sort out compositions that evoke emotions. But because making images has become second nature to me, the images that I made in Hong Kong have almost become trivial.

When we start photography, we come to grips with the equipment, how does the camera work and how are images presented. The next stage is an aesthetic one. How do we create emotions in an image and get reactions from the audience. And at some level this is a question of spatial organisation within the frame of a camera. There are probably reasons for finding new angles and novel compositions, but at the moment, I am unable to find a compelling reason to explore this. Technique for the sake of technique is nothing more than empty posturing.

It is strange how photography has been a constant journey of learning and change for me. I have worked through the first two stages and I am looking for more personal work. I am no longer motivated just to take a nice picture, I want to take images that has more depth. And it some ways, a simpler way of photography maybe more suitable, without all the complex lighting equipment and assistants. I felt that a whole new area of photography opened for me in Tuscany when I took the course with Anders Peterson. Compositional puzzles are simply spatial exercises. Why take a photograph if it is just pretty? How will the image engage the viewer?

I have been watching documentaries and reading books on well known photographers. And it is apparent time and again that photographers are eventually recognised for images that are important to them. There is some idea or vision that they have to get out. And very often, the impetus to make images come from somewhere else, like Walker Evans documenting migrant workers, Man Ray exploring perception. My path is still not clear to me now. But what is becoming clear is that the old ways that I have done things may no longer be the right way for me to continue on my journey. Maybe running a business and doing corporate work is more a distraction than a means to an end. I do not have a logical explanation for what I am feeling or going through, but I never have all this time I have been a photographer. I have and will probably always be an accidental photographer. It is more that photography found me than I pursued it. And I believe, to move on, I have to let the inner impetus take me. The path is not a logical or a strategic one. The path is a siren song calling me along perhaps a rocky, dangerous path. Or it can be it could be the path to new vistas.