WHAT STARTED OUT as a school assignment turned out to be a lesson on the streets. Armed with his Canon EOS 5D Mark III, note pad and pen, Quinn learnt that the simple notion of approaching and holding conversations with strangers is a deceptive one. 48 awkward “Hello”s later, Quinn discovered something else.
“Perhaps, it is too naive to think that Singaporeans complain too much.” he says with a smile.
The result: an amalgamation of views condensed into 6 pictures that form his series EXposé. This collection captures the views of Singaporeans he spoke with: kindergarteners, men in suits, coffee-shop aunties and students in malls. I ask Quinn why he chose to explore from such an angle and he replies, “It only felt right to do something that was close to our hearts.”
Quinn reveals that the initial inspiration for the project was the concept of memories, which he explores through street photography.
Why is street photography special to you?
Quinn chuckles and says, “I am a forgetful person, so I capture the moments I want to remember. Besides, human interaction is so much more beautiful than we notice”.
Quinn brings out his notebook and shows me its pages filled with sketches and scribbles, where he records all that he wants to remember. He also reveals most modestly that he won the UOB Most promising Young Artist Award in 2011 for a painting that he had submitted.
Back to photography, Quinn advises, "Do not fuss over technicalities. Train your eyes to find the story first."
So what story do you see around here?
After a quick glance around, Quinn nods to his left, “That guy over there. He’s the only one here sitting all by himself.”
A good photograph, Quinn believes, is one with a story “that can speak for itself".
Ordinary street photography, and weaving a story out of them is one thing, but elevating them to social critique is another. Quinn's series EXposé tells the riveting and all too real tale of everyday (Singaporean) lives marred by the hectic and unrelenting living costs.
Perhaps it is Quinn's sensitivity to the world around him, and his desire to tell their stories, above and beyond the nature and quality of his photographs, that makes his work so compelling.