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Former recruitment consultant Eddie Sung wanted to be the first Asian known for rock photography

Published on Jul 21, 2014 6:15 PM

Eddie Sung used to dish out corporate advice while dressed in a suit and tie. These days, he is frequently dressed in faded jeans, sneakers and black T-shirts even when working.

That sums up the two starkly different lives he has led.

In the first, he gave career advice as a headhunter. At age 44, he retired from the corporate world to indulge his lifelong hobby - photographing music stars such as The Beach Boys, Metallica and Lady Gaga.

A self-taught photographer, devoted Beatles fan and collector of rock memorabilia including original outtakes of the Fab Four's iconic Abbey Road photos signed by the photographer Iain Macmillan, Sung, 55, is going places with his monochromatic images.

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Background story

My life so far

“They price it, I left it to them. To me, it’s like entering Harvard. I don’t care how much I sell. When you’re in Harvard, no one cares about your grades, you’re in Harvard, you’re king already.”

Eddie Sung, on his photographs, priced between US$600 (S$756) and US$3,000 and sold through American photography gallery Morrison Hotel Gallery. He is the only Asian photographer in its stable, which includes world-renowned rock photographers such as Terry O’Neill and Ross Halfin.

“When I wanted to retire, I asked myself, ‘Can I bring something to the table?’ And not just in Singapore because I was already known, I was always quoted in the papers as an employment expert. I wanted to do it only if I did something world-class. And I strongly believed that I could be different from all the other Western rock photographers. And I said, ‘Eh, I can do something different, so let’s do it, I don’t want to die not doing it. You always regret not doing something rather than doing it’.”

On quitting his headhunter job to spend his time indulging in his passion in rock photography

“After my wife and I retired, the only gainfully employed person in my household is our maid.”

On his family and household. He lives in a semi-detached house in Bukit Timah with his wife, 15-year-old son, 12-year-old daughter, both students, and a domestic helper.

“It’s taken a life of its own. The lighting was great on (Slipknot drummer) Joey as well as the crowd. Everyone had their hands up and their faces were all ecstatic after an awesome show.”

On the picture taken at American metal band Slipknot’s gig at Fort Canning Park in 2005. The band used this picture and others he took of the show on the sleeve of their live album, 9.0: Live, released in the same year. Sung’s pictures have also been used by other American bands such as surf-pop icons The Beach Boys and new wave pioneers Blondie.