Clang Mentorship Program 2013 – Calling for submission

The program will begin in February 2013. 

Submission Guidelines
1. Submit up to 15 images. Each image must be in jpeg with a long dimension of 1000 pixel at 72 dpi, in RGB format.
2. Curriculum Vitae
3. A word document containing the following information:
a) bio
b) artist statement (if any)
c) A short paragraph on how this mentorship program can help you
Email all the above to:
Submission Fee
Jan 31 (Thurs), 2013 (at 11.59pm, Eastern Standard Time)
Note: There will be no extension on the deadline.
You will receive an email by Feb 8 (Fri) if you’re selected.
Consent Agreement
Submission of an entry automatically constitutes the applicant’s acceptance of all conditions as mentioned above. It also acknowledges my right to use the images and any related correspondence on my website solely for educational purpose and to bring awareness to the participants and the program. 

For more information about the program, please visit:

2012 Mentorship Program Finalists

This year, I’ve chosen Carrie Lam (Singapore), Dana Meirson (Israel) and Lim Yaohui (Singapore) to be in my mentor program. Looking forward to our first conversation.

Here are some of their work.

Carrie Lam

Line of Connection

This series is a photographic essay that interrogates the relationship between photography, memory and documentary. It is a progress that observes the past through the present and the present through the past leading to the eventual merger of the past and present.

It begins by revisiting memories and going back to my mother’s childhood place. I wish to turn memories into a lived and shared visual experience through my lens. I believe photographs serve to construct a sense of personal histories that become reworked through their transmission to stranger.

However as time passes visiting past memories is not enough for me, moving on to creating memories and documenting what is happening around serves a greater purpose in my life. Thus I progress to document daily life and to explore the relationship between my mum and me.

Drawn to the multi-panel panoramas of compositing, my images consist of photographing each frame and connecting them in triptych, it is almost like telling a story which comes in hand in hand with what I want to share. Having each photograph connect to the other through a line of perspective, yet stitching them up doesn’t fits entirely. It is this line of perspective that guides the viewers through each photograph and the line that symbolizes the connection between relationship and the past and present.

Dana Meirson

art is more of a quality then a profession.

the way you look at things, the immediate interpretation you give to them.

the allegories you choose in order to pronounce yourself, your dreams

Lim Yaohui,

He had a stroke in 2008. I wish I could be his shadow, watching his every step. I do not wish to see him fall or collapse on the floor again.

My father.


2011 Mentorship Program – Competition

Debbie Tea

Congratulations to Debbie for emerging as the winner. I want to mention here that it’s a marginal win as the votes were divided among the mentees, and Alecia is a close second.

The public vote winner is Ping, whose vote was submitted on Sept 15 @ 5.10pm. Winner will be contacted via email in the next two weeks. Names that were excluded from the draw are those who were late or voted for more than one person.

I would like to thank Aeli, Amelia, Cindy, Gwen & Jae for reviewing the works and also the public for supporting this competition.
Information on next year’s program can be found here:


2011 Mentorship Program – Testimonies

During the course of the Mentorship’s candid conversations and email exchanges, I am humbled and inspired by Clang’s willingness to share.

His heart truly knows no boundaries. I have learned well through his openness and honesty.

Clang’s acute observations and advice have aided me vastly in my work and thought processes. These ideas will continue to influence and guide me, I’m sure, in ways I do not always expect. His lessons are always simple yet far-reaching. He possesses the ability to immerse himself into the worlds of others, into our private feelings and experiences, as though reading our fortunes through our images. In this way, he affirms who we are, giving us the strength to take charge of our artistic growth.
- Alecia Neo


雖然是偶然機遇下認識了Clang, 但我非常感謝Clang在這段期間不斷地鼓勵和啓發我。透過這樣的計畫,我再也不會覺得在創作的路上倍感孤獨和無助, 即使事實上選擇走這條路勢必是會經過一連串的孤獨和挫折。而我也謝謝Clang以及在這個計畫裡的所有年輕藝術家, 透過一連串的談話,提醒我必須時時重新檢視自己是誰,雖然看似簡單實則困難, 而這樣的課題將終其一生不斷地圍繞著自己。創作和拍照是反映自我的一種表現,透過這樣的對話, 可以不斷地抽絲剝繭,不斷地與他人溝通分享, 就如同在計畫中與大家一起談話般。感謝大家時時提醒著我 – 終其一生千萬別忘記一開始對於選擇創作和拍照的初衷!
- Ali


Having participated in Clang’s mentorship program, I gained so many insights and countless valuable experience which opened my eyes to a whole new dimension of the so-called art world. The lessons Clang shared gave me time to think deeper in different angles, which in turn allow me to explore into the places I haven’t yet managed to reach in the past.

Clang’s mentorship program gave us privileges as mentees. I feel lucky to have the rare opportunities to talk to the guest lecturers during the program (i.e. the professional people in the industry). They shared with us many valuable things not easily accessible outside the mentorship program.

Clang has an undying passion for art; always looks for ideas and the other sides of every little thing. When I talk to him, he never judges me, be it a ’stupid question’ or the most absurd question ever; he never shot me down. I feel that I can always learn something new every time we have a conversation. He would always try to make us think in different shape, size and color. He inspires me to find myself and my ‘truth’.

He is a teacher that I can always learn from and look up to; a friend that would share, listen and care; a person that I could trust and count on.

This program has taught me what I need to reach to my goal, as well as surviving in it; while John, he has taught me to be a person who lives.
- Debbie Tea


Congratulations to Lavender Chang

Lavender Chang, who is one of my mentees, was recently awarded the prestigious Noise Singapore Prize of the photography category. There were more than 7000 entries this year.

An initiative of the National Arts Council, Noise Singapore is Singapore’s foremost youth arts festival, dedicated to creating noise about the creative talents of youths below the age of 35 in Singapore.

The series consists of images of one-room HDB flats entitled ‘Block 12, My Territory, My Dignity’. They allow people to see how the occupants decorate and organise their homes, which in turn provide insight into their personalities.

联合早报 : 更多年轻人以艺术形式关心社会 by 王舒杨

my paper/我报 : 让年轻人一起“闹”艺术 by 欧倩慧

See the complete series here. Or visit the show at ION Orchard (Basement 4) in Singapore, from now til March 3rd (Thurs).


2011 Mentorship Program Finalists

Congratulations to the five mentees:

Alecia Neo (Singapore), Chen Wen Li (Taiwan), Debbie Tea (Indonesia), Lavender Chang (Taiwan) and Sam Kang Li (Singapore)

Out of the images they submitted, I’ve picked a few to share them here. These five photographers have demonstrated great potential and poetry in their work. I look forward to be a part of their journey.

Chen Wen Li

Lavender Chang,


Mentorship Program – Submission closed

My inaugural mentorship program has reached its submission deadline. I have received slightly more than a hundred entries.

Initially, I was planning to only accept 2-3 candidates from the submission but I think it will be too difficult. I’m now seriously considering selecting more, though it’s still very difficult to select the final few. Many will ask what am I looking at when I make my selection? To be honest, when I set up the program I have no clue too. I requested the entrants to submit a body of work and their thoughts on why this mentorship program will help them. I will look at all the work, read their thoughts and decide who will benefit most from this program.

It is very important to know that for those who are not selected, it does not mean the works are not good enough. The selection is not based purely on merits of the work submitted. This program is not merely a critique of your work, and I would dare say it is not about critique. It is about sharing. It is about in depth discussion of one’s work, thoughts and dreams. Pursuit of photography can be a very lonely and frustrating path, I will lend you my ears and guide you along, hopefully to find the door that will open up a fresh and exciting chapter of your visual journey. I will also share with you more about what I have gone through and whatever else you want to know and curious about. The idea is to mentally prepare you for this journey. If I have the answer, I will share. If I don’t, we will find out together.

For those selected, we will try to have a one to one chat fortnightly and a group chat once a month. Selected conversations and images will be shared on my website. Also, the mentees will be able to email me whenever they want when they have any questions or if they have anything to share with me about their progress.

As for those not selected, I will also do my part to write an email to them, commenting on the work they submitted and the questions they have on the written essays. Please note that due to the overwhelming submissions, it will take me a bit of time to reply everyone. I thank you for your patience.

Stay tuned…. results will be disclosed before Jan 31.


Clang Mentorship Program 2011

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 Khoo

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 Lai

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.


Louis Lau



“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 Ong

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 Quek

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.