Preview: 5th Singapore International Photography Festival

By Leonard Goh (freelance writer/Singapore)

Here’s a glimpse of some exciting programs and exhibitions for the biennial photo festival

5th Singapore International Photography Festival 2016: The Archive from DECK Singapore on Vimeo.


The Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF) has come a long way since its inaugural edition in 2008. This year, the festival sports several firsts, making its mark as one of the most important photo festival in South East Asia.

The theme of this edition of SIPF is Archive. During the press conference, festival director Gwen Lee said that the notion of archive is a daily affair, and this is even more apparent in today’s world, where people document their lives and share them on social media platforms for all to see. With this in mind, the theme of Archive seeks to recognize this shift in our life.

From August to October, SIPF has multiple photo exhibitions taking place all over Singapore. At the same time, there are also programs and workshops for photographers of all levels to participate in.

CAPA asia is proud to be the media partner for SIPF, so you can expect robust updates and reports on the happenings during the festival period. For now, check out some of the highlights of the upcoming SIPF.


A room with a view

A room with a view is SIPF’s inaugural curatorial project. Previous editions of SIPF had the photographers act as their own curator for exhibitions. But this year, Carol Chow , an educator in journalism and curator from Hong Kong, has a careful curation of six female artists based in Hong Kong.

Born between 1949 to 1982, these six artists document their personal life as well as societal issues, tackling the notion of vanishing spaces and identities. From an early preview of the works during the press conference, we saw how the artists, born in different years, view the world around them. Which, at the same time, gives a beautiful insight into their mindset.

A room with a view is the first exhibition for this year’s SIPF.

A room with a view
Date: 20 August – 16 October 2016
Time: 12PM-7PM (Tuesday to Sunday)
Venue: Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore at LASALLE College of the Arts, Prinsep Street
Admission: Free


Witness: The Archive of Cultural Revolution

The reality of most revolutions is often different from how historians remember them. And it is through photography that’s able to show the real side of these significant events in human history.

Between 1966 and 1976, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution took place in China. Then, a young photojournalist by the name of Li Zhengsheng was working for the Heilongjiang Daily and captured the reality of the revolution. The party in power then wouldn’t want these images to be published or even seen. Li then risked his life and hid these negatives under his floorboard.

For the first time in South East Asia, 80 photographs from Li’s documentation of the revolution will be on exhibition. Surely this is one show that is not to be missed.

Witness: The Archive of Cultural Revolution
Date: 10 September to 29 October 2016
Time: 11AM-8PM (Tuesday to Sunday, closed on public holiday)
Venue: The Arts House Singapore
Admission: Free


Daido Moriyama: Prints and Books from 1960s -1980s

For the first time in Singapore, Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama will have a solo exhibition in Southeast Asia as part of SIPF. This show will probably headline the festival, considering the popularity of Moriyama. For those not familiar with him, Daido Moriyama is considered as one of Japan’s most influential living photographer, along with Araki Nobuyoshi.

For this exhibition, the SIPF team has traveled to Tokyo to meet Moriyama. He has also selected 20 unpublished works from his Hunter series to be part of this show.

According to the festival director, Gwen Lee, the exhibition will feature a mix of original prints, wallpaper installation as well as photo books.

For fans of Moriyama’s works, this is one exhibition not to be missed!

Daido Moriyama: Prints and Books from 1960s -1980s
Date: 6 October to 13 November 2016
Time: 12PM-8PM (Tuesday to Saturday), 12PM-6PM (Sunday)
Venue: DECK
Admission: Free for festival pass holders/ S$15 for single entry


Open Call Showcase

SIPF’s Open Call Showcase has been a staple in previous editions of the festival, and the 5th edition is no exception. This year 40 photographers from 18 countries were chosen from their portfolio submission, and will have their works featured in easily accessible locations to further engage Singaporeans in the art of photography.

For the first time in SIPF history, six Downtown Line MRT stations will feature the works from various photographers. The six train stations are: Botanic Gardens, Rochor, Little India, Newton, Bugis and Beauty World.

Other than the train stations, Alliance Française de Singapour and the National Library Building will also play host to the Open Call Showcase.

Open Call Showcase
Date and Time: 6 October to 13 November 2016 (Downtown Line MRT Stations)
14 September to 29 October 2016 (Alliance Française de Singapour)
Alliance Française de Singapour – 12PM-8PM (Monday to Friday), 12PM-6PM (Saturday)
6 October to 13 November 2016 (Open Plaza, National Library Building)
10AM-8PM Daily.
Admission: Free



5th Portfolio Review

What’s a photo festival without a portfolio review, right? The 5th Portfolio review will bridge and connect photographers with curators, critics and editors from all over the world. Photographers will get to sit with their reviewer of choice for an intense 20 minutes discussion on their works. Over a period of 3 days, photographers may choose to meet up to 8 reviewers to have a concise, in-depth look into their works and how they can proceed ahead.

One portfolio will also be chosen for the CAPA Prize for Best Porfolio. The winner will walk away with S$2,000 cash prize, and a feature on CAPA asia!

The prize will be presented on 9 October, at the final session of the evening presentation.

Date: 7 October 2016, 10AM-1PM, 2PM-5PM
8 and 9 October 2016, 10AM-1PM
Fees: 5 Appointments – S$300
8 Appointments – S$420
Venue: DECK
Limited to only 40 participants. Click here for more details.

More on 5th Singapore International Photography Festival

Daido Moriyama: Southeast Asian Debut



Leonard Goh

Leonard is an advocate of photography in Singapore and also an educator in this field. He has served as senior writer for the now-defunct CNET Asia, before moving on to working for various camera companies in the business development and marketing capacities. He is also a co-founder of Platform, a not-for-profit photography initiative in Singapore which also published Twentyfifteen, a collection of 20 books to commemorate Singapore’s Golden Jubilee (SG50).


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