Shapes and Shades of Home Shapes and Shades of Home

26 Jan 2017

Shapes and Shades of Home

Like many smartphone users, Jonathan Tan enjoys street photography with his smartphone, an iPhone 6. The senior account executive at an advertising agency tells us what inspired him to work on Singapore Pantone and Your House Downstairs, two fun photo projects on home.

How does photography inspire the way you live in Singapore?

After I started photography in Singapore, I've learnt to really take time to look around and appreciate the different sights that Singapore has to offer. I've always told myself: If other countries can look good in photographs, Singapore should be able to do the same as well. I always try to look out for candid moments to capture around Singapore. And sometimes I try to do something a little more fun and different, like my "Singapore Pantone" and "Your House Downstairs" series.

Tell us more about Your House Downstairs, an architectural series which was shortlisted for this year’s Sony World Photography Awards.
Singapore is known for quality public housing where some 8 in 10 Singaporeans stay in HDB flats. What is lesser known are the architectural wall features at the void decks of HDB flats. This "hole-in-the-wall" feature comes in various shapes and bright pops of colours. It jazzes up the void decks and are common spaces where people gather. They are more commonly found in older flats and recognisable by locals as part of our landscape and heritage. It would be interesting to find out the reason for these "holes" on the void deck walls!

I went to over 15 neighborhoods from Choa Chu Kang to Yishun and Pasir Ris. One of my favorite moments was in Choa Chu Kang as the sun was setting then and the natural light was gorgeous. The hardest thing about this project is that I had to manually comb through numerous HDB estates to hunt for these shapes and face disappointment when many of these trips ended up futile. This project has definitely taken me to new parts of Singapore, just like a treasure hunt!

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

Shapes and Shades of Home

What about Singapore Pantone? 
With Singapore Pantone, I attempted to reimagine different places in Singapore as Pantone colours. Pantone is a colour guide often used by designers and artists. I've currently covered around 10 places. I'll keep trying to find more, until I really run out of places. It's not that easy to find places that are predominantly made up of a single colour.

To be honest, it was a random idea and a new way of seeing Singapore. I was walking around East Coast Park and randomly snapped a photo of the sea. I usually wouldn't post such photos on Instagram and was just intending to share it with my wife who's currently overseas working in Brussels. However, I have seen other Pantone-inspired projects as well, so I experimented on it at home and decided to turn it into a series.

Any advice for photographers on "photographing home?" 
Just look around. Sometimes, it's the sights that we see everyday that turn out to be the most meaningful and beautiful.

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