STREET PHOTOGRAPHY CAN be dangerous. Just ask 26-year-old Adam Abdul Rahim, he'll share with you how he witnessed a fellow photographer get kicked and how he almost had his camera broken. He's even had some run-ins with the police.
Now that's some pretty scary stuff. All for a good picture.
“On more than one occasion, I refused to delete a photo I took of someone in public and the police got involved.” Luckily that was in Sydney, where photography laws are more liberal and Adam was left off the hook easily. Adam is aware that shooting in Singapore is almost worlds apart. He doesn't attempt anything that would garner too much negative reactions. “It is better to be a bit more like a ninja in Singapore.” However, due to his outgoing personality, Adam is sometimes frustrated with the reality of having to forgo shots for fear of offending someone or putting himself in a compromising situation.
So why street photography?
“It (Street photography) gives me an excuse to take the road (or lorong) less travelled. Also, producing work outside cultivates a good habit of curiosity.”
“The most interesting encounters can happen – sometimes all you need to do is smile. People end up telling you all sorts of stories.” Some of his interesting encounters include talking to a refugee who was doing everything he could to put his son through University, meeting a pre-op transvestite unsure of the next step because he was worried what his boyfriend would think, and chatting with an eccentric woman who thought that Singapore was secretly still part of Malaysia. “It is usually after these conversations that my subjects feel comfortable and I'm able to take a more genuine, candid photo of them.”
It gives me an excuse to take the road (or lorong) less travelled and also cultivates a good habit of curiosity.
Adam on Street Photography
Adam picked up photography to pass the time while completing his degree in Sydney, Australia. Having had the chance to grow into photography in another country has influenced how he approaches his craft. And although there are countless destinations that street photographers like Adam desire to roam, there is still something about the candid reactions of Singaporeans that keeps Adam drawn in to our local streets. “I’d prefer the genuine frowns of Singaporeans to the fake smiles of anyone else.”
He cites Danny Santos, Fadly Salleh (of An Analog Affair) and mobile photographer, Chia Aik Beng as local photographers whose work he enjoys. He is also a founding member of 5ive Foot Way, a Singapore-based photography collective that serve as a sounding board for each other’s photographic ideas. Adam will be exhibiting some of his work at their exhibition, “The days we met” in early 2014. On top of that, he is working on a major series called “The Sydney Condition” which will be retrospective piece on his days in Sydney.
And what does Adam want to achieve with his photography? Adam humbly admits that he just wants to tell stories. “It is almost impossible to make much money out of the photos I take. My work is solely for me and if I happen to garner an audience – that is a bonus. I would settle for recognition as a good photographer amongst our small community of street photographers. That would be icing on the cake.”