No one can deny the ubiquitous nature of photographs and the way that it has infiltrated our lives. We hardly think twice when we turn on the camera feature on our smart phones or mindlessly scroll through Instagram while waiting for a friend; it is as if Susan Sontag's observation that "[t]he subsequent industrialization of camera technology only carried out a promise inherent in photography from its very beginning: to democratize all experiences by translating them into images" has been taken to an extreme.
On the flipside, however, photography has the power to elevate the everyday by highlighting the magical moments that we often miss, in the same way that the Surrealist photographers like Andre Breton and Brassai did in the 1920s. This is exatly what Project +50 initiated by PLATFORM aims to achieve with the launch of their photobooks +50a and +50b at Objectifs on Monday, 25 April 2016.
With their goal of profiling more Singaporean photographers, PLATFORM (founded by Tay Kay Chin, Darren Soh, Ernest Goh and Leonard Goh) launched an initiative called TwentyFifiteen in 2013, to support Singaporean photographers that were established or emerging. Following from the success of that initiative, PLATFORM decided to organise a community initiative Project +50, which was an open call for photographers who had a story to tell about Singapore.
After a series of public pitches, a panel of jurors that included photographers, artists, curators, designers and writers, selected the finalists along with a few invited photographers to contribute to the final books. The result is a compilation of 50 poignant narratives about Singapore as seen from the perspective of each photographer. The photographs often feel extremely surreal, with familiar sights such as HDB housing blocks, public seating areas and shopping malls seeming almost unrecognisable as if they were fictional places out of an apocalyptic science fiction novel. Project +50 reveals the surrealist nature of the photographic enterprise by creating an alternative reality, more dramatic than that of our natural vision. In some way, this is necessary to make us see the everyday with new eyes and it is necessary for us to see the magic in a city so plagued by the notion of the mundane.
Each of these books retail at SGD$ 25 (both for SGD$40) and proceeds of the sale of the +50 Project books will go to future photography projects. They will be available for sale at the launch of +50 Books on Monday, 25 April at Objectifs, 155 Middle Road, Singapore 188977 from 7.30pm till 9.30pm.
The two-volume set of +50 is available for purchase via our online bookstore, here.
Images courtesy of PLATFORM and the artists
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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