‘Through The Lens’ Shoots for Close-up on Lesser-Known Singapore

In a place as crowded, high tech and self-aware as Singapore it can be difficult to find the unique and the unknown.

Yet that was the challenge laid down by the Singapore Tourism Board when opening its SG Stories Content Fund for a second funding round. It received over 400 submissions and selected 18 projects to be made.

“Through The Lens,” a five-part short-documentary series that was among the winners, takes photographers and stills photography as its unifying forces and sets them exploring the city state.

Produced by Kenneth Chan of Hatched Productions, the series features the 6-minute works of five photographers in Singapore as they probe the themes of architecture, wildlife, streets, food and portrait photography.

“Any idea can be interesting even if the initial spark doesn’t sound like it is going to be. The more you research, the more you find,” Chan told Variety, before explaining that Singapore is a largely urban environment that is “human-influenced” but still has plenty of nature and is capable of throwing up surprises.”

“It is not a propaganda mission. Rather we want to look at the lesser-known aspects, such as wildlife in parks and architecture that is not just the CBD or Marina Bay Sands, but also goes out into public housing, the corridors and Heartlands, says Chan.

Launched in 2019, Hatched earns its bread and butter making commercials, but aims to also deliver at least one creative documentary series per year. Its two previous series “In Between” in 2019 and “The Craft of Art” in 2020, were produced in collaboration with Viddsee Studios under its Voices social documentary pillar. Hatched holds the underlying rights, while streaming service Viddsee holds the program rights.

The five elements are by:

  • Kevin Siyuan (architectural photographer and filmmaker) focuses on the built environment of Singapore, and showcases how competing themes like tradition, modernity, and biophilic design have created a unique identity. His latest cinematic work, “A Wes Anderson-ish Singapore,” documented this further and seeks to build a cultural connection with the global audience to enable others to learn more about our city.
  • Wildlife photographer, Jayaprakash Bojan, awarded the National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year accolade in 2017, travels around the world covering exotic animals and landscapes. His photo collection features interesting local species, like fish owls, mouse deer, and langurs.
  • Street photographer AikBeng Chia, focuses aims to highlight “non-postcard parts of Singapore,” rediscovering Little India and Chinatown.
  • Food photographer, Brian Xavier Bong aspires to challenge the notion of representing modernity with food by reimagining local food as western concepts. His collection assembles a new generation of hawkers who are incorporating “global fusion” into their dishes.
  • Jayden Tan, portrait photographer, focuses on capturing the connection people have with landmarks. He achieves this by photographing everyday objects against backdrops of famous landmarks, and recently captured the experiences people had at vaccination centers.

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