Stranger Danger

185 words; est. 1 min

Monday, 13 Nov 2023

My affinity with technology and the thrill of creation is only eclipsed by my fascination with humanity; an insatiable curiosity I’ve quelled through stranger portraiture.

Scouring the streets of Singapore, I seek out individuals whose unremarkable countenances, I believe, veil extraordinary narratives. My deteriorating vision’s an unexpected ally in this regard; as I struggle to resolve a sharp image, the fifteen-or-so seconds that elapse afford me invaluable opportunities to slip in unsuspecting questions and peel back layers of my subjects’ lives.

And as this sincerity prompts heartfelt conversations, I get to sit back and admire the lived experiences that make us human: the adversities: Afiqah, a closeted lesbian woman apprehensive of her Muslim parents’ likely disapproval; and the successes: Tinesh, the first of his family of 8 to graduate from college. Hundreds of portraits later, I’m confident that these dialogues have expanded my field of vision: challenging my preconceived notions; spotlighting the myriad stories Singapore is built on.

In a sense, photography has helped me regain my vision; to see clearer than ever before.