My Weekend

Photographer Chia Aik Beng wants to leave a visual record for his children.
Photographer Chia Aik Beng wants to leave a visual record for his children.PHOTO: CHIA AIK BENG

Singapore street photographer Chia Aik Beng, 47, is a contributor to Everyday Asia on Instagram, a movement for invited photographers in Asia to share pictures which challenge stereotypical views of the country they live in.

His work was featured in a three-day special on life in Singapore in guardiantravelsnaps, the Instagram account of UK newspaper The Guardian, in March.

Chia has an exhibition titled Singkarpor at K+ Gallery in Scotts Square. On display are pictures depicting the lives of average Singaporeans. The exhibition will run till Oct 4. It is open daily from noon to 8pm and admission is free.

Chia lives in a five-room HDB flat in Sengkang with his wife, who is in her mid-30s and works in the oil industry, and their son, nine, and daughter, seven.

What are your weekends like?

I spend them with my children. They love it when I cook for them so I usually whip up a simple breakfast of sunnyside-up eggs or sausages.We usually spend the rest of the day watching movies or at playgrounds. I help them with their homework and do some art and craft projects with them. I once showed my son how to make a notebook with paper and he turned it into a comic book.

What do you do during "me" time?

When my family has gone to bed, I'll edit my pictures, using Instagram and Facebook, read books or do some illustrations. I usually read books on art and photography. Some books I've finished recently are Alex Webb And Rebecca Norris Webb On Street Photography And The Poetic Image and Keith Haring: The Authorized Biography by John Gruen.

Where do you like to go when you want to take pictures for leisure?

I like to visit the older HDB estates such as Redhill and places with high human traffic, including markets and hawker centres. I also like to shoot old-school coffee shops and provision shops. I want to leave a visual record for my children so that when I'm no longer here, they can see what their father saw.

If you could live in someone's shoes for one weekend, who would it be and why?

I would be a taxi driver. I like interacting with others and I want to meet all sorts of people, good or bad. I would like to photograph my passengers, with their permission, for memory's sake.

I would also like to explore different parts of Singapore and take pictures wherever I drive my passengers. I would like to go to industrial areas in Woodlands and Kranji, and explore very deserted places that no one wants to visit.

What is a good weekend to you?

One where I do not have photography assignments. The irony is that most of my assignments happen to be my "me" time because I am doing something I like.

Actually, the only difference between shooting for leisure and for work is that the latter comes with deadlines and the bonus of getting paid for doing what I enjoy.

Deborah Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2015, with the headline '(No headline) - DLWEEKEND18'. Print Edition | Subscribe