KNOWING HIM

FEATURING LEANNA TEOH

‘A Hotel’

IMMERSED IN A WORLD where photography bears as a platform for expression, photographer Leanna Teoh captures a father-daughter relationship through Singaporean architecture. 

“Photography is merely a tool for me that I use to translate emotion into something else I hope people can understand and read about. I’m not very good with conversation and words or rather, expressing myself through words,” said Leanna, who is pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Digital Imaging. 

Curiosity in the art form began with mere fascination at the image quality of an SLR, developing into a hobby. Then, it merged into a passion of exploration with a slight worry of what the career held for her. “I was always worried about what it can do for me as a career. Honestly, when it came down to choosing what major I wanted to be in, Visual Communication was my first choice, Photography the next. I don’t regret ending up in Photography though. It became a medium I was most comfortable in expressing myself,” noted Leanna who began her visual diary with the gift of a DSLR from her father. 

On the subject of inspiration, the young photographer suggested how easily a development of concepts can derive from a simple feeling. A play of chance and experiments develops each photo with meaning. “As an artist, I find my inspiration from how I feel about the people and things around me. How I come up with the concept and theme really depends on how I feel.” 

With mindfulness of the space around her, a blank roll is soon filled with art where the eye has been drawn, not knowing where to start without the camera in hand. 

‘Old Apartment’ 

‘Apartment’ 

“Take ‘Knowing Him’ as an example, it started out when I was just interested in photographing buildings. I like to look at the lines and formality of it,” said Leanna, who grew under the roof of architect parents. With the inevitability of paying extra attention to the structure and detail of buildings, Leanna set out to collect photographs of buildings which were designed by her father, giving a personal meaning to her art. With each interest comes her evaluation, and in this case, her parents became the catalyst for this beautifully personal collection. 

“The aesthetics of it was chanced upon actually. Because I haven’t used the camera for a few months, all my images went under-exposed, and thus grainy. But when I looked at it, it made me realise how I wanted to portray it. I didn’t really get to spend much time with my father during my childhood, I felt that the only connection I could make with him was photographing his pieces of artwork. These buildings were symbolic of my father, and I as the photographer,– portrayed as distant and masked by trees and surroundings, parallel to how I know my father.” 

‘Hazel’

‘A Hotel’

“In doing my artworks, I usually try to learn something new about myself and my surroundings. I often start really simply, like I want to photograph buildings. And during my journey, I come to understand why or what spurs me to do so.” explained Leanna. 

‘Millennia’

‘We Call it the Oscar’

“The process is a learning experience and the work itself is the result of that process through photography, I’ve discovered more and more about who I am and how I function.” With such deeply personal insights, Leanna notes her internal conflict between expression and privacy as an individual, pondering where her passion will lead her.

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