Singapore street photographer sees beauty in the mundane
Drink cans, shoes, expressways and tall apartments are nothing special to most Singaporeans, but they are beautiful in the eyes of photographer Yasin Rahim.
The 31-year-old told Yahoo Singapore these everyday objects are part of a personal project he has been working on since 2011. “I [capture] 13 photos of the things I see on the street during the day… I was attracted to how different areas in the country evolve over a period of time.”
He added, “It [the project] also acts as a photo journal of mine so I can keep track of the changes, especially since everything in Singapore changes so fast.”
He uploads most of his photos onto his Flickr account, which he uses as a digital backup for his images. Flickr is also a platform he uses to learn from and engage in conversations with the photography community.
Yasin enjoys looking at the island from a bird’s eye view. He does this by going to the highest storey of a HDB block to find good vantage points to create images.
“From one of the HDB blocks near Lavender MRT, you can see the oil refinery, Kallang, Aljunied, the roads and the expressways. It’s a beautiful view which many people tend to overlook and take for granted,” he said. “Many of us believe that other countries look better. We criticise our country for looking boring or having too many slabs of concrete. But when they see another concrete jungle like New York City, they will say it’s an awesome view.”
Yasin first taught himself the craft in 2003 when he experimented with a cousin’s film camera. An apprenticeship gave him the chance to consider a career in photography. “I joined a local arts and culture event, Noise Singapore, in 2007 through which I was selected for a one-month apprenticeship programme. As an intern, I met other photographers and learned a lot while being their assistants. After that, I worked at a production house for three years.” He currently works as a commercial photographer.
His eclectic photo project is not without its critics. Some friends and family members have called his work “stupid” and “crazy”.
Still, Yasin intends to continue shooting his project until he has “conquered the whole of Singapore”. His response to the naysayers? “Do not pay attention to what people say, just take photos of whatever it is that you want. At the end of the day, it’s your photo.”