Domestic blindness

Charlene journal 12 Comments

…is a bitch. Half the time i think my job as/the whole point of being a photographer is to find life in the blindingly ordinary, the stuff I don’t think about, ever. Because if I can’t see a different possibility, then I can’t ask another to do the same. You gotta do the work, you know? This place above? I walk through that concrete portal everyday. To eat at the hawker center, to catch the bus or train, to walk out into the world, and to come back home through it. 80% of us in this country walk through spaces like that everyday. The void decks of our public housing apartment blocks contain waypoints of our daily lives. And they too can bring out blockbuster …

Changi Airport

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Singapore Catching the airport’s iconic control tower from home, at the golden hour I’m not normally awake for. • Mum (and Dad, when he was alive) has lived in this flat for 20 years now, and neither them nor I knew that we could see Changi’s control tower from from the bathroom window, where this shot was taken. To make this picture, I stood on a step stool, not typical behaviour in the bathroom. Flemming pointed it out last year, being the only one tall enough to see out of this particular window without assistance.

What would another choice look like?

Charlene journal 6 Comments

Singapore Naming is a funny process. Something twigged after the last couple of blog posts about taking a break from the nomad life. Having decided, in writing, that my days on the road might be over for a little while, I started wondering how daily minutiae would change if I didn’t have to leave every few months. The biggest shift? No more living out of 2 bags, and ridding myself of the mentality that goes with it. The former is easily done, the latter, not so much. I’ve been back for almost 3 months now, and I still operate out of the same 2 bags that house my work and life elsewhere in the world, where I am only a visitor. Some of this has …

Camera as companion

Charlene journal 12 Comments

Singapore I’m in one of those “I should just bloody sell my camera” places today. Yeah, you know the one. Had a run of lousy days shooting, culminating spectacularly yesterday. Every frame in my memory card looked like it’d been shot by someone who’d never heard of a camera before. Pile of useless virtual crap. Except I don’t really want to sell it. I’ve said many times before, how beautiful I think the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is – especially this graphite edition, ermagherd! – but it’s more than an aesthetic thing. There are plenty of beautiful cameras in the world. Every banged up edge and scraped surface of this, and the ones before it though, is a marker on my journey: as a photographer, as a …


Charlene journal 3 Comments

Singapore. It’s that time of the year. The sun has swung over to glare at our kitchen windows. My neighbour gives her bedding a thorough whacking on the bamboo poles her laundry dries on, with a new fly swatter. There’ll be no mites or other potential invaders on anything when she is done. These are the little things that anchor me here. I understand them – why they’re done. Who does them. What they mean – the way I don’t, just about anything/-one else in this place. They make me laugh, and make my day. My latest piece, The camera as passport, is up on Fujilove. Somewhere in there i mention that coming back to Singapore – home – is a destabilizing prospect, even after …

What’s a picture worth?

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Singapore, Match 2014 A word after a word after a word is power. – Margaret Atwood This is a careless snapshot. This encapsulates the journey between unspeakable grief to rebirth. This is a film picture. This is a digital picture. This was made with a Fuji. Or was it? Who’s speaking? Who’s listening? Who owns the picture? Who owns the stories? Who gets to decide if they are heard? It always comes down to words. Does a picture paint a thousand words? How would we know this, if those words are not spoken?

Map-Making on Shifter

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Dan Milnor over at Shifter did a write up of Map-Making, the book that Eileen and I collaborated on. It’s always special, and a little harrowing, to have Dan’s discerning eye look over my handiwork. I did the layout for this book, and those of you who have a copy, will know that it is extremely simple. I am no designer and my goal for the layout was equally simple: to give each of her poems all the space they needed to breathe, and allow the same for each of my pictures. We might not have had that luxury of page count and negative space, had we gone the traditional publishing route. More than anyone, getting an indication from him that Eileen and I didn’t …


Charlene journal 2 Comments

Singapore. Despite my best efforts, the pictures that insist on being made here, the motherland, are those that slip between the cacophony of nation building.

One at a time

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Something is starting to twig. A word here, a sidelong look there. Cooked tar and smoking skin. It bites so badly that you are raw and limp, grateful. An introduction of colour. There. The Anthem of New Boots