Calling for submission. The program will begin in February 2011.
Please click here for submission details.
“I feel that Clang was able to read me very clearly through my images.”
I first met Clang at a portfolio review that my school sent me to in 2004 when I was 19. I remembered Clang to be very direct and blunt about what he thought was good work and what was not. In the review, there was an experienced female photographer whom everyone in the class thought had the best work because it was well presented in a nice book and the images were ‘technically’ sound. However to everyone’s surprise, Clang actually shot down all her work.
When asked whose pictures he thought were good, and also to everyone’s surprise, he picked out 3 of my pictures (polaroid portraits that I took of my close friends). I think everyone did not understood why he liked them because my pictures did not look technically accomplished and my work was very poorly presented. However Clang’s reason was that he felt a stronger voice in those 3 pictures alone than in the other books. He did however also say that the rest of my pictures were contrived and were in that sense worthless.
Looking back now, this meeting alone and subsequent emails actually made me question my perception on photography and why Clang could so easily tell when I have not been honest and when I was trying too hard that my pictures became contrived. It is something that I am still questioning myself everyday and what he said I will always hold close to heart – ” working / thinking / working / thinking to reach a level of ‘SELF’ “
Although I didn’t have the chance to assist Clang before, these brief moments with him were enough to change my perception on photography entirely. He had shaped my values as a photographer and an artist. I feel that Clang was able to read me very clearly through my images. This made me appreciate his comments and somehow answered some of my questions I had as a new photographer. It fuels me with the desire to reach the level of clarity and consciousness of oneself. I guess it is not how many people you meet in your life who will shape your life experience, but who you meet, this one encounter, even brief could just change you entirely.
I am still very thankful to him today, and his comments are the ones that I really cherish. I’ll work even harder to be able to stand alongside him!
Stefan is a fashion photographer whose clients include Calvin Klein and Levi’s. He also shoots for editorials like Designare, Female, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel, Nuyou and Style Men.
“Clang, in his informal and unassuming manner, reminded us that we know more than we think we do, by being aware of our unique leanings and backgrounds growing up in Singapore.”
As a student who knew little and wanted even less, a brief sharing session by Clang on the afternoon of 12th June 2004 showed me otherwise. Clang, in his informal and unassuming manner, reminded us that we know more than we think we do, by being aware of our unique leanings and backgrounds growing up in Singapore. We, through our often inexplicable ways shrouded by our mishmash culture, are our own greatest assets. Our accents need not be watered down, and we should feel confident presenting very ‘Singaporean’ elements to the international stage. He taught me also that a bit of mystery never hurt anyone.
That afternoon, I also learnt about hunger, and that caution has to be thrown to the wind at times. From his own story about uprooting and working tirelessly on his craft, I was inspired to be stubborn about the quality I feel the concept deserves, but at the same time be humble enough to recognise that I will never know enough – and that that is really the pleasure of work.
Erica won the first prize in the 24th UOB Painting of the Year competition for photography and has been actively creating her art and involving in exhibitions. Her latest work was shortlisted from over 6500 entries to be exhibited during the Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF 2010).
“I have always been an admirer of Clang’s work and his dedication to helping other people.”
I am grateful for Clang’s continuous kind support over the years since our first meeting. He has given me invaluable encouragement and feedback for both my career and education. I have always been an admirer of Clang’s work and his dedication to helping other people. It is with great fondness that I remember when we were together on his roof garden, when a balloon aimlessly drifted passed us, catching our attention. To which Clang stated that the passing balloon is like existence. It was at this time that I became compelled to contemplate impermanence. Clang is an inspiration to me.
“One thing I truly enjoyed out of this mentorship was the essay writings I was assigned to do.”
I started off late in my tertiary studies, cos I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do earlier and I was 22. I decided to pursue studies in Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, thinking maybe I can pick up some art direction/design knowledge. During my foundation year, photography was one of my electives. And, I scored distinction A’s.
One of the first assignments I gave myself before entering into my 2nd year was to search for photographers I can look up to and learn from. So I frantically googled “Cool Photography/Legendary Photographer/etc” for 3 long days. Then I saw this one image on Google’s Images. It was Clang’s Upskirt series. The hue and composition of that shot was something I truly appreciate.
I managed to get his email online. And in May 2003, I dropped him an email, titled Photography Student from Singapore. No response. I kept checking my mail for a month long for this “Ang-Moh” photographer to reply. And when I was to about to give up… Clang finally replied!
On his 2nd email, Clang introduced himself as a fellow Singaporean who would like to mentor me. I remembered I was in tears while reading that piece of email. Cos never in my life (then), I was given such an awesome chance.
One thing I truly enjoyed out of this mentorship was the essay writings I was assigned to do. Covering Hiroshi Sugimoto, Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky and Thomas Ruff’s. From having no idea of these great ones, to understanding in depth of their photography work.
My last essay assignment was ” To try find 3 female photographers that I admire and tell Clang if their gender help their work.” It was this piece of work that made me realised, it’s gonna be very tough for me to be a photographer even in today’s society.
My first meeting with Clang was at Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge in October 2004. I remembered every word he said to me throughout that whole tea session. He told me to quit school and that I will be someone in 2 years time.
I told Clang I would give this a thought, as it’s not going to be easy. So I quit school the next day. And my life got better out from this bittersweet journey.
He pushed the hard door for me, not by dropping his name in the local industry. But for the fact, I knew he believed in me. And that pushed me mentally and emotionally.
Xuan has shot advertising campaigns for FedEx, Huggies, Levi’s, Nokia, Samsung, Singapore Airlines, The Coca-Cola Company and Vaseline and worked with agencies like Bates 141, BBH, Cheil Worldwide, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy & Mather and TBWA.
“John Clang provided calming reassurance during periods where I was full of uncertainty in my path towards becoming a photographer.”
John Clang provided calming reassurance during periods where I was full of uncertainty in my path towards becoming a photographer. In spite of his incredible track record as a photographer, he has always taken the time to share advice. His presence as a highly respected photographer both commercially and artistically has provided a model of encouragement and given me the courage to believe in my abilities as a Singaporean photographer.
Jing was recently shortlisted from nominated entries as one of the top three finalists for the ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu award. He has exhibited in Italy, Latvia, Singapore, USA and his commercial and editorial clients include M1, GlaxoSmithKline, Tiger Beer, Newsweek, Surface, THEME, amongst others.