why no Singaporean Magnum photographer?


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ricohflex

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Feb 24, 2005
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#1
Why have we not produced world famous photographers like
Robert Capa, Cartier-Bresson, W Eugene Smith ?

Is it because we are lousy? or not original and creative, only good at copying others' ideas?
Or Sing photogs are not given any chance due to racial/cultural prejudice?
 

dslang

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#2
If I was to give an honest answer, it'd be because

1. Singaporeans, in general, seem to have their minds in a box
2. Singaporeans live in a very trend-following culture
3. Singaporean photographers tend to over-obsess on the technicalities of something.

Please dont flame me for making over-generlizations, but just hear me out.

1. If someone in Singapore's incredibly talented, they're stolen away before being given the chance to shine (look at our swimmers and musicians). The problem is that because Singapore is more of a conformist culture where life revolves around a lot of obeying and following "that's just the way it is" rules, eccentrics and geniuses are either surpressed by society, or forced to move away. Every genius is crazy in his/her own way, and only when this side of the person is allowed to shine will the genius show through.

2. Look at the number of IR photography threads. Enough said really.

3. SG photographers, I know I'm over-generalizing but this is from my experience, spend far too much time discussing their equipment and which lens produces the least distortion and whatnot. What does it matter? Some of the best photographers in the world use simple point and shoot cameras. Even then, when you find the rare chance that a SG photog would follow in these foot steps and use a point and shoot, he/she would do it and obsess over how the photos are taken, walking around "trying to convey a sense of simplicity in the photographs" and having an over-zealeous concept behind the photography. The simple fact is these legends who shoot with point and shoots do so because they find manual cameras incredibly fiddly and complicated. Simple reasons, love the subject you shoot, and use whatever method allows you to achieve the shots you want the best.
 

szekiat

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Jan 19, 2002
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#4
because in singapore "jin1 pai2 tan3" or even worse, "tan4 bo3 jia4" if u shoot stuff like that....
 

ricohflex

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#7
A world famous photo agency
where many world class photo journalists worked.
I suppose :
a. if you get in, it means you are extremely good. Maybe top 1% in the world?
b. Good in your own way, your own style.
c. Not "good" in copying the way other people take pictures.

and frequently sent to cover dangerous assignments where one can be killed. Wars, massacres, disasters, etc...
Not for the typical kiasi and kiasu.
 

TMC

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Sep 4, 2004
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#10
ricohflex said:
A world famous photo agency
where many world class photo journalists worked.
I suppose :
a. if you get in, it means you are extremely good. Maybe top 1% in the world?
b. Good in your own way, your own style.
c. Not "good" in copying the way other people take pictures.

and frequently sent to cover dangerous assignments where one can be killed. Wars, massacres, disasters, etc...
Not for the typical kiasi and kiasu.
That kind of covers most people in SG. The remainder has people who are kiasu and kiasi, so will be held back from heading to those places.
 

zaren

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Oct 27, 2003
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#11
Ben1223 said:
If I'm not mistaken there's one Singaporean who interns with Magnum. He has a regular column in PhotoI magazine.
that's Yian i believe. not sure if he's still an intern there though.
 

zaren

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Oct 27, 2003
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#13
ricohflex said:
Why have we not produced world famous photographers like
Robert Capa, Cartier-Bresson, W Eugene Smith ?

Is it because we are lousy? or not original and creative, only good at copying others' ideas?
Or Sing photogs are not given any chance due to racial/cultural prejudice?
Not many Singaporean photographers posess the combination of raw talent, intense passion, self belief, training/self-improvement and sheer perseverance to have the potential to become world famous photographers who work in Magnum, Nat Geo or Reuters.

But i do believe that Singapore will produce a world famous photographer one day, in the same league as Robert Capa, Cartier-Bresson and W Eugene Smith.
 

zaren

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#14
Ben1223 said:
Yup that's him. Getting an internship with Magnum is already a big thing.
Yes, he's done really well, and his photographs are superb.
 

szekiat

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#15
I think its not to belittle some of the guys working for AFP, Reuters, AP, Getty, Gamma, etc
I think we have a few ppl in these agencies. I certainly know of at least one in Reuters.
 

zaren

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#16
szekiat said:
I think its not to belittle some of the guys working for AFP, Reuters, AP, Getty, Gamma, etc
I think we have a few ppl in these agencies. I certainly know of at least one in Reuters.
my bad...i din know a singaporean was a staff photographer in reuters.
 

zaren

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Oct 27, 2003
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#19
in order to be elected by current magnum members to join magnum, you first have to be a relatively well-known award-winning photographer.
 

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