Shooting home: What 'home' means to these young photographers

These are poignant snapshots of what home means.

The young photographers who took them - from international students under travel restrictions to Singaporeans growing up amid land scarcity - drew inspiration from their surroundings.

The photos are part of an exhibition held by the Shooting Home Youth Awards (SHYA) programme.


Frustrated with her growing library of unsorted digital photos, the photographer sought help from a computer vision software – a program that can quickly classify images into predefined categories up to human standards. Taking inspiration from the program, she identified a part in each image that the network might have processed for classifying the image, and then punched it out. In doing so, she reflects on what she photographs, why she photographs and the value of a photograph. PHOTO: LISA PEH


This project is inspired by the many albums of pictures that my parents have of my childhood, as well as the memories that come with them. The pictures show the timelessness of a home – that even after all these years I am still able to look back at these pictures and pinpoint the exact places within my home where these memories were created. Ho(me) is a series that reminisces about the past even as it ponders the relationship between memories and space, as well as the long lost joy of being a child. PHOTO: EVAN LIM


To reclaim is to regain. Juxtaposing hoarding images with the artist’s family photographs, Yang Pertama playfully investigates the dichotomy of what a picture attempts to illustrate, versus a lived experience. Combining photos of his family printed on vinyl stickers with picturesque backgrounds from hoardings, the artist attempts to evoke his experience of growing up in the old Jalan Satu estate. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD SYAHRUL ANUAR

The programme, run by the Objectifs centre for photography and film, allows students aged 15 to 23 to develop their photographic skills and ambitions.

Started in 2011, it has mentored more than 90 students to date.


VOID is a poignant exploration of unaesthetic modern human interventions on burial practices due to land scarcity in Singapore. The degree of human intervention involved in returning the body to nature is becoming progressively larger as burial practices evolve from abandonment to the elements, to burial in the ground, to cremation and exhumation, where the dead make way for the living. PHOTO: CHERYL YIP


This project is an investigation into the personal lives of international students and their process of settling down in a foreign land. With an interest in the individual and his place within a micro-community, the photographer excavates the private and shared lives of international students in Singapore. PHOTO: ALEXANDRA CHIN


A visual play on the word “hand-me-downs”, this series captures the quirky hand gestures I have subconsciously adopted from the people in my life. This is essentially a light-hearted take on the bigger concept that we are all, simply, an amalgamation of everyone else. PHOTO: GOH JING WEN

Themed around the idea of home, the programme encourages participants to be inspired by their surroundings as well as the issues most important to them.

The images at the exhibition address a variety of subjects close to the photographers' hearts, such as their families and friends.


Middle Child Diary is an ongoing photo series exploring my possessions that reflects my identity and who I am today. Growing up as a middle child was a bittersweet experience and I am no stranger to rivalry and favouritism. Yet again, being a middle child may not necessarily be the bane of one's existence but an invaluable life lesson one will learn. PHOTO: PAULINE WONG


At the start of this project, there were hints of familiarity in the place and in the love I felt from my grandparents, yet my weak understanding of them had put a distance between us. Over the course of this work, I began to understand my grandparents and their relationship better. Their reliance on, acceptance of and love for each other form a strong and unyielding pillar. PHOTO: LIM YI ANN


Gazing upon the night sky, I never fail to be astonished by the familiar sight of the moon. How many full moons have passed since I was last home? Many international students have been stranded in Singapore because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this respect, the images and projections are at once tokens of memories and an interface for continued contact with home. PHOTO: DAN N. TRAN

This year, the class of 2020's exhibition explores how the definition of home differs for young people from different backgrounds, especially in the light of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

For instance, Ngee Ann Polytechnic student Evan Lim's project, titled Ho(me), is inspired by the many albums of pictures that his parents have of his childhood, as well as the memories that come with them.


Growing up, I watched my aunt take on the role of caregiver, always tending to the needs of my grandparents. Her unwavering support and unconditional love for her parents strike a chord in my heart. This series of images aims to capture the many cherished moments between my aunt and grandmother, exploring in depth the theme of caregiving. PHOTO: PEK YAN LIN


"Anata" means "you" in Japanese, but it is also used as a term of endearment between couples. That is what my parents have been calling each other for the past 35 years of their marriage – and the past two years of divorce. Anata explores the relationship between my divorced parents, and how they navigate, cope with and make sense of the same space that they share. PHOTO: WATANABE SHIYA

"I teared up several times during the process of creating these images as I was reminded not only of the memories that these pictures hold, but also of the people and family who created these memories with me," said the 17-year-old.

The exhibition presents the works of the 12 participants of SHYA 2020, who were mentored by photographers Grace Baey, Joseph Nair, Marvin Tang and Nurul Huda Rashid.

They attended the mentorship programme over some two weeks from November to last month.


Called Home; Neither Here Nor There explores the journey of making tangible the lifelong process of finding "home". From physical to emotional barriers, the photographer seeks to answer the question of what Singapore means to her and what it holds. Memory and archival imagery act as pillars of support on this meandering path to understanding and navigating "home". PHOTO: GIANNA CHUN

The exhibition will run until March 12 at Objectifs' lower gallery and courtyard in Middle Road, from 12pm to 7pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays, and 12pm to 4pm on Sundays. Admission is free.

There will be free artist talks on Zoom this Wednesday and on March 3 (8pm-9pm).

Those who are interested can register for them at this website.