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Found only in peninsula Malaysia, Singapore and a smattering of towns in Southern Thailand, the Peranakan or Straits Chinese Shophouse is a truly unique architectural style. A marriage of Chinese, Malay and Victorian colonial influences it is often brash and ostentatious but usually refined and elegant.
In the years before property developers erected glass, steel and concrete tower blocks and then made them liveable in the tropics by hermetically-sealing them, installing tinted windows and banks of air-conditioners, the Peranakan shophouse is a marvel of environmental sustainability and human ingenuity. Exaggerated eaves cast long shadows; ventilation ducts above windows allow rooms to breath; large windows are designed to be left open and wooden louvered shutters provide shade, breeze and protection from monsoon downpours. Inside, rooms are well-proportioned with high ceilings and solid cold stone floors. The outer walls are double thickness with a central damp course to allow air to circulate. In high winds, the walls sing.
In the 1970s and 80s, city blocks of these architectural gems went under the wrecking ball to make way for towers of modernity. Those many that still remain, huddle in pockets but stand as mute witness to almost two centuries of turbulent history.
Originally from England, I am a freelance urban photographer who works out of Singapore. My images strive to capture the wonderful diversity of the architectural landscape of this island nation, from soaring modern architecture that so defines the future, to weathered shophouses and peeling sun-drenched back alleys that form such a rich cultural heritage. Apart from architecture, my great interest is street photography, recording the diverse tapestry of Asian life.
On my journey, my lens reveals a charm and beauty of Singapore off the beaten track and often previously unrecorded.
Formerly a language and literature teacher, I took up a camera in 2016 and embarked on a journey to capture some of the poetry and narrative of an Asia I have lived and worked in for 30 years. I turned pro in June 2018. On the way, I have been rewarded and recognised for my work:
• Nominated four times for daily dozen, two Editor's Picks and published four times in National Geographic
• Winner of four awards for Top Photograph on GuruShots and reached "Guru Level" on the same website
• Selected Editor's Choice four times on 500px for Street, Abstract and City and Architecture categories
• Featured on Picfair blogs:
Picfairs' top 10 image uploads of the week: 16th March 2018
Creative Trends of 2018 at Picfair: "Abstract in the Everyday Environment": 16th February 2018
"Chinese New Year Celebrations around the World"; 5th January 2108
In November 2018, my work was featured in "Scoot" in-flight magazine, Singapore Airlines
In addition, I have sold hundreds of photographs online to newspapers, magazines, private collectors and corporate clients. I was published in Gurushots "Everyday Objects" December 2017. I am also commissioned each year to photograph a two day charity event for children in Singapore.
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