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Street Photography Singapore – Red Light District to Orchard Road Lah

street photography singapore

Street photography Singapore – it’s hot, it’s humid, and the streets are far more interesting than some western media would have you believe. Last week, I spent about 24 hours taking photos on the multi-cultural streets of Singapore. Not since my visit to Hong Kong earlier this year have I had a chance to indulge in some street photography in an Asian country. Fuji X-Pro1 in-tow, I headed out to see what I could find.

Street photography in Singapore, or any Asian nation for that matter, is a blast. The diversity of ethnicities, the textured urban landscapes, and round-the-clock street level activation –  Asia in general certainly holds some of the world’s most vibrant streets, and Singapore is no exception. Singaporeans may be reserved,  but they almost universally have no problem with having their photo taken.

Bugis Street photography Singapore



30 Responses to Street Photography Singapore – Red Light District to Orchard Road Lah

  1. Elise VanCise Sep 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    I like how they were in the crowd not just sneaking a shot from the distance. Beautiful work.

    • Nate Sep 19, 2012 at 2:29 am #

      Yes, I don’t have a zoom lens, so shots from a distance are pretty much impossible for me. In any case, I much prefer not being sneaky, I feel it contributes to a better image. Thanks Elise for the kind words.

  2. Noelle Sep 18, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Excellent post Nate! I love that you chose black and white for the pics. I’ve always felt B&W expressing more emotion. You do such a great job with street photography, gives me something to aspire to.

    • Nate Sep 19, 2012 at 2:28 am #

      Thanks Noelle, I always appreciate you dropping by and leaving your thoughts.. especially seeing as they’re always so kind ;)

  3. Desmond Sep 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Sometimes it takes a third party to mention it, before you realize how caught up you are in your own world. Your photos were refreshing and impactful, having captured these often neglected emotions of Singaporeans. Good job! I am hoping though, that your personal collection had a couple of light-hearted shots of Singapore life as well? :)

    • Nate Sep 19, 2012 at 2:27 am #

      Hey Desmond, really appreciate the compliment. I’ll have a look back through my photos, maybe I do have one or two light-hearted shots…

  4. Paul Sep 18, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    Love the photos, but I actually think this is a situation where colour would have been more appropriate. Singapore has such a luscious tropical pallet. On the other hand, by removing this from the equation, perhaps it has allowed you to better portray that under the surface feel. Mixed thoughts!

    • Nate Sep 19, 2012 at 2:26 am #

      I know what you mean Paul. I guess my feeling, right or wrong, is that colour would have somehow “watered down” what is actually portrayed in the image. When the image is bright and vibrant, it almost seems to overpower the subject or content of the photo. Still, I might take a crack at colour here in KL. We’ll see!

  5. Slightly Yellow Egg Sep 19, 2012 at 1:20 am #

    That first one is killer bro’!

    • Nate Sep 19, 2012 at 1:37 am #

      That was my favourite too.

  6. Andrea Sep 19, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    John assumes the same look when we travel =) I seriously love these – and have had a bit of a relationship with Singapore since I spent a couple of months there when I was 21. We have passed through it since then because it is close to Perth and I have a close friend there as well. I find it an interesting city but seems to be so crowded and expensive, even more than I remember it. There is such an interesting cultural mix there. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Keep the street photography posts coming. Yours always inspire me. I’m finally quite comfortable with my new camera but have been doing more urban landscape shooting than close-ups of people. I really want to work on it! I’m still quite shy…

    • Nate Sep 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

      Cheers Andrea… I will certainly have more street photography posts on the way. Singapore is expensive, especially for accommodation. BTW, your urban landscape shots are great, I love checking out your latest stuff!

  7. Roland Dobbins Sep 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    Be sure to upgrade your X-Pro 1 and lens to the new 2.0 firmware. It really improves focusing in low-light conditions.

    • Nate Sep 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      Done! It really does make a big difference – I am pretty close to relying on autofocus 100% of the time now…. we’ll see how it goes!

  8. Tom @ Waegook Tom Sep 19, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    I really like these photos – I’m not a brave photographer but I love photos of people. Maybe Singapore is somewhere to try, as you suggest. As for the socio-economic thing….I have many Singaporean friends and they often say how the country is deteriorating in terms of personal freedom and becoming some kind of strange, almost plastic land where everything revolves around glitz and pleasing the government.

    • Nate Sep 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      Thanks for the compliment Tom. As for Singapore – yep, you hit the nail on the head. That’s the exact impression I get as well, after having visited here a number of times. It’s a really strange place these days, but as an outsider – incredibly interesting.

  9. Jan Fervers Sep 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Very nice series, compliments!

    • Nate Sep 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

      Thanks Jan, appreciate it.

  10. Funkigreendog Sep 21, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Great series…loving the guy with the beard, as well as the final shot. Love Asian countries.

    • Nate Sep 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

      Agree FKD – Asian countries are great.

  11. memographer Sep 22, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Pure sample of Street Photography! A Guy With A Water Hose, 1% Calls, and Dream Killer are my favorites. Liked your Facebook.

    • Nate Sep 23, 2012 at 1:08 am #

      Cheers Memo…and thanks for the FB likes, I get a little lonely over there ;)

  12. Han Sep 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm #


    Kidding and you know it ;

    Ice cream pick is my fav Nate, and demonic lady in first =gold!

    • Nate Sep 27, 2012 at 4:46 am #

      haha thanks Han…. yeah, Ice Cream pic was a sleeper for me – but demonic lady is demonic indeed ;)

  13. Meng Yeap Dec 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Using an 18 mm lens and you can have such a close image, that must be like on their face.
    I am really impress. Really curious on the time you shot the photo, It will be awesome if you would share some of your experience. and one thing, is interesting on how you see the life in singapore,
    just like the phrase “life is slowly being sucked out of many Singaporeans “.

    • Nate Robert Dec 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      Cheers Meng – yes, I get in nice and close, I often pre-focus to between 1 and 1.5 metres. I will share some of my experiences one day soon – stay tuned.

      • Meng Yeap Dec 18, 2012 at 9:24 am #

        waiting forward for that but one thing I am very interested to know about street photography in different part of the world.
        Can language be a barrier??Especially in country where not everyone speak English.

        • Nate Robert Dec 18, 2012 at 9:29 am #

          Language can be a barrier – I often need to rely upon smiles, and body language, to get me through.


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