Professional singaporean photographer based in shanghai,china. Does photography for china, singapore and asia.

“Those years in Shanghai” – part 1, “那些年在上海” - 第一集

Part 1 – Why i come to shanghai

第一集 - 为什么来上海

It was 2 years after I turned into full time professional photographer.


to be frank one of the reason why I decided to be a full time photographer then was with the right projects, I can earn enough money quick enough to fund my own feature film (although at that time, I have no idea how my feature script would be like), without any investors and thus, no one will fcuk with my script and vision.

坦白说,我成为全职摄影师的其中一个原因是我觉得只要主攻对的摄影项目,我就能很快的赚够钱来资助我想拍的电影 (虽然当时,我不知道我的电影要拍什么),不用任何的投资方,也就不会有人来左右我的剧本和风格。

Of course, I could work in a bank too to earn cash quick but at that time, I thought I should do something related  film making to polish my eyes, lighting skills and visual sense.


And of course, the other main reason was I love photography…duh.


However, two years into working as a professional photographer IN SINGAPORE had me thinking otherwise.


There were only a few areas of photography that a young photographer like me can do to earn money quick to make a feature film…at least that was what a 27 yrs old me perceived. Advertising or wedding photography.


both were not possible for me…


advertising photography is not a field you can get in just because you want to. Having worked in a agency before as a copywriter and followed to a few shoots with my art director tells me the initial investment is quite substantial. and even if I have that kind of money to set up a studio and buy a digital back, advertising in singapore…was not…fun. one just need to look at the ads made by taiwan, thai, hong kong ad agencies and you know what “fun” is. I foresaw a life similar to working in a bank if I were to go this way.


wedding photography in singapore just somehow did not came across as something I can do everyday to save up enough for my feature film. I can see myself getting bored after taking photos for 10 couples


and of course there are the highly lucrative “annual report photographer”.  making board of directors look good to their shareholders and beautify their factories and facilities. I did twice such shoots and began to feel repeating such jobs will stifle my creativity and eventually have enough money to make a feature film with no creativity in it.


actually the reasons above are not something that I cannot overcome then. I wasn’t thinking about doing something that pays big money with no sacrifice and near my home. projects like this don’t exist.


I thought to myself, “maybe you just need a new environment”


I got a few options that turned out to be non options


Hong Kong – I can’t speak cantonese (this was in 2003-4), and the Hong Kong market wasn’t much bigger than singapore


Taiwan – Too Hard to work there as a foreigner because of their strict laws protecting their own labour


Japan – I can’t speak Japanese


China – I don’t want to get killed by the red army


So just when I was starting to prepare myself to get used to the singapore photography environment, my good friend, Andy, via ICQ or MSN, told me Shanghai is really not what I thought its like.

就当我开始准备认命适应新加坡的摄影环境是,我的好朋友,Andy,在ICQ 或MSN上告诉我,上海并不是我想的那样。

Andy was already working in shanghai for one year in a singapore GLC company, and he offered me free lodging in shanghai at his apartment for my stay there. He proposed a 2 weeks trip there to really learn about this city.  It was meant to be a “checking things out” and “try to network” trip to shanghai

Andy当时已经在上海的一家新加坡的国营企业上班一年。他说我去上海的时候能住在他家里,他建议我去上海两个星期,好让我好好的认识上海这个城市。这本来就是个主要以“走马看花” 和  “扩展人脉”的旅程

Surprising, things turn out to be smoother than I thought.


Within a week of checking things out in shanghai, clubbing with Andy, sending emails, expat meet ups sessions, I actually had a small local china advertising company willing to work together with me. They would provide me with lodging, meals, and even a small studio with china brand lights for free. They would get photography projects from their current advertising clients and we will split the profit. I don’t know what their client will ask me to shoot, but it sounded more to me like someone is going to pay for my first adventure in life more than anything esle.


It was 2004 June…why not?



“Those years in Shanghai” is a trial book project attempt to test if there’s enough people who are interested in my 8 years adventure in shanghai for me to publish a photo book cum china experience book. This book would comprises of my works in shanghai for the past 8 years, personal or commercial with short stories on the various china experiences I have had. If you think you would spend money to buy a photo book with my china/shanghai experience in it, please leave a comment

“那些年在上海” 是个出书尝试,测试是否有人对我在上海八年来的历险有足够的兴趣让我出版这个摄影画册兼中国经验书。这本书将会有我在上海这8年所拍的个人与商业作品,以及一些描述我的中国经历的散文。如果你觉得你会花钱买这样的书,请留个言


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