Singapore's Darren Soh the only winner from Asia in Apple's global photo contest

Local photographer Darren Soh was one of the 10 winners of Apple's Shot on iPhone Challenge.
Local photographer Darren Soh was one of the 10 winners of Apple's Shot on iPhone Challenge. PHOTO: CY KONG

SINGAPORE - Local architecture photographer Darren Soh has been named one of the 10 global winners of Apple's Shot on iPhone Challenge.

Apple announced the list of winners on Tuesday (Feb 26) and Mr Soh, 42, was the only winner from Asia.

The winners' photographs will be featured on billboards in select cities, Apple retail stores and online. The photographers will also receive a licensing fee for their work.

Mr Soh told The Straits Times that the win is "not a big deal" as he does not take photographs with competitions in mind. But he is happy that his photograph of a reflection of Potong Pasir Housing Board flats taken from a community club's basketball court was his winning submission.

The photograph "happened by chance", Mr Soh said.

He had been in the Potong Pasir estate, shooting the iconic sloped roofs of the flats in the area, when he noticed the reflection of the buildings in the wet floor of the basketball court.

"I was just trying different compositions and taking many pictures without realising that a bird would be in the shot."

He submitted five of his photographs via e-mail for the competition, including shots of Singapore's cityscape and public housing.


Mr Soh's winning photograph - a reflection of Potong Pasir Housing Board flats taken from a basketball court. PHOTO: DARREN SOH

Mr Soh, who started photographing buildings for a living 13 years ago, enjoys taking pictures of buildings from the 1960s and 1970s, including the iconic Golden Mile Complex and People's Park Complex.

In many of his personal photographs on Instagram, he tries to showcase the history of HDB homes as well.

"As a photographer, it is always nice to be recognised for the work that you do," Mr Soh said.

"But I am happier that this win means that an image of public housing in Singapore has gone global, especially when our public housing landscape is changing so much."

Mr Phil Schiller, one of the judges of the competition and Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide marketing, said of Mr Soh's winning picture: "You are compelled to think about where and how this photo was taken, the bird flying in the corner provides the single sign of life in an otherwise surreal composition."

He was among an international panel of judges which included Mr Pete Souza, former United States President Barack Obama's chief official White House photographer; Mr Jon McCormack, Apple's camera software team leader; and Ms Chen Man, a Chinese fashion photographer.

Photographers were invited to submit their work for consideration between Jan 22 and Feb 7 this year.

Participants could either post their photographs on Instagram, Twitter or Weibo, or submit their entries through e-email.

In May 2016, Mr Soh's composite image of lightning activity in Sembawang earned him an interview with British broadcaster BBC.

The stunning photograph was created using 12 images that were shot from a HDB block at Sembawang's Montreal Link, and it was his first time producing a composite image of a lightning storm.