6th CDL Singapore Young Photographer Award adds fresh angle with new ‘On the Move’ category

  • New category taps on the rising popularity of mobile photography
  • Minister for Social and Family Development Mr Tan Chuan-Jin opens exhibition of winning works at the National Museum of Singapore
  • Winner of Youth category impressed judges with his photo featuring soon-to-be demolished Rochor Centre
  • 22-year-old National Serviceman clinches third consecutive win in the Architecture category
  • Singapore’s photo community pays tribute to the late Mr Kwek Leng Joo, the initiator of the Award

Winners of the 6th CDL Singapore Young Photographer Award 2016 with Guest-of-Honour Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin (back row, centre), Mr Kwek Eik Sheng, CDL Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Asset Management and Chief Strategy Officer (back row, 4th from left), and Ms Esther An, CDL Chief Sustainability Officer (far right).

Singapore, 6 September 2016 - Winners of the 6th City Developments Limited (CDL) Singapore Young Photographer Award (SYPA) were unveiled today at a prize presentation ceremony held at the National Museum of Singapore. Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development and an avid photographer, presented prizes to the 15 young, budding shutterbugs, with a new ‘On the Move’ category as the latest addition to the biennial photography competition. This new category taps on the rising popularity of mobile photography, and encourages more youths to unleash their creativity while capturing precious moments on the go.

The CDL SYPA aims to discover and nurture local photographic talents between the ages of 13 and 25. Since its inception in 2006, the nationwide competition has grown in both scale and stature reaching over 7,000 youth photographers. In all, close to 1,600 entries were received from schools, youth organisations and photo clubs this year; representing a four-fold increase in participation rate since the competition started.

Beyond a builder of living spaces, CDL firmly believes in being a developer of lives and communities. Initiated by its late Deputy Chairman, Mr Kwek Leng Joo, the CDL SYPA is part of its long-standing commitment to supporting Singapore’s arts and youth development. This signature CDL initiative contributes towards enriching Singapore’s cultural landscape and has continued to receive strong participation. This shows that photography as an art form is gaining a significant presence in Singapore, especially amongst the youth.

Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development said, “Being a photographer, I am especially heartened to see platforms like SYPA empower our youths to further develop their talent and capabilities. We need more of such initiatives to encourage our youths to showcase their works and pursue their interests with passion.”

Winning Works

A 17-member judging panel, comprising industry professionals and esteemed photographers, reviewed nearly 10,000 images and were unanimously impressed by the higher standard and quality of winning works, as well as the high level of technical competence.

‘Youth’ category

Cited as the most coveted category of the CDL SYPA, the ‘Youth’ category saw 26-year-old Jonathan Chiang Shun Jie emerge as the top winner. His work ‘Flight of Fancy’ showing a flock of pigeons taking off at the soon-to-be demolished Rochor Centre wowed the judges, alongside his signature shots of urban living in densely populated Hong Kong and Singapore. The winning shot of the pigeons was the result of hours of waiting to capture the perfect moment. Jonathan started his photography journey eight years ago in Junior College and took part in the nation’s largest youth arts platform Noise Singapore in 2013.

‘Junior’ category

19-year-old Ching Ann Hui beat over 720 participants to emerge winner of the ‘Junior’ category. Her winning submission spoke the narrative of a thousand words in a single shot. The aspiring oncologist will continue to pursue photography – a passion she picked up at age nine when first taught how to use the camera. The budding photographer had also won a Junior Bronze Prize in the Royal Commonwealth Society photography competition in Secondary School.

‘Architecture’ category

Koh Chaik Hong, a 22-year-old National Serviceman and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts photography graduate, emerged victorious as the consecutive third-time winner of the ‘Architecture’ category. He won the judges over with his rendition of the South Beach mixed-use development, owned by CDL and IOI Properties Group Berhad, juxtaposed against a cloudless sky. Presented in monochrome, the photos were taken during his “book out” time. The judges agreed that Chaik Hong’s talent in architectural photography is accentuated by his unique eye for composition, as well as his clever play of light and shadows.

‘Themed Body of Work’ category

This year’s top prize of the ‘Themed Body of Work’ category went to Lyn Low Yu Neng, a 24-year-old graduate in Fine Arts (Photography and Digital Imaging) from the Nanyang Technological University School of Art, Design and Media, and first-time participant of the CDL SYPA. Her winning works cast fresh perspectives on the everyday and show great depth of introspection. Having only started pursuing photography in university, she is already one of two recipients of the Kwek Leng Joo Prize of Excellence in Still Photography 2015 and had her works exhibited at the ‘Mountain and Expanse’ Winners Showcase at DECK, an independent, revolutionary local arts community space at Prinsep Street.

‘On the Move’ category

The winner of the new ‘On the Move’ category is 25-year-old freelance communication designer Clement Cher Jia Long. Also a first-time participant of the CDL SYPA, the Glasglow School of Art graduate impressed the judges with images taken using his mobile phone, that explore the concepts of nature intertwined with the human, and the boundlessness and wide expanse of mother nature.

Uncovering Young Photographic Talents

SYPA nurtures young local talents and serves as a springboard for them to become career photographers. Some past CDL SYPA winners have even returned as judges. For example, Mr Raymond Phang, a judge for the ‘On the Move’ category and merit winner of the ‘Youth’ category in 2008, went on to win the top spot in the ‘Contemporary Wedding’ category at the Master Photography Awards in 2011, and is now a wedding photographer. Mr Hong Huazheng, a judge for the ‘Junior’ category and winner in the ‘Youth’ category in 2010, was conferred the Arts Supporter Award by the National Arts Council in 2014, and now runs his own thriving photography company. Mr Jonathan Yeap, also a judge for the ‘Junior’ category and merit winner of the ‘Youth’ category in 2006, is currently an award-winning photojournalist at Singapore Press Holdings.

Long-standing Partner

The National Museum of Singapore has been a long-standing partner of the Award since 2008 and will once again lend itself as the exhibition venue for the winning works from 7 to 30 September 2016. The exhibition will also feature photo works by the SYPA panel of judges as well as pay tribute to the late Mr Kwek Leng Joo, whose generosity of spirit, legacy and lifetime commitment has helped to raise Singapore’s standard of photographic arts and maximise the potential of young talents.

‘Flight of Fancy’ by Youth category winner Jonathan Chiang: This perfectly-timed shot captures a flock of pigeons taking off against the sunrise at the soon-to-be demolished Rochor Centre.

A poignant portrait capturing an intimate moment of the Junior category winner Ching Ann Hui’s father feeding her grandfather a month before he passed away.

Architecture category winner Koh Chaik Hong’s rendition of South Beach showed his talent in architectural photography, accentuated by his unique eye for composition, as well as clever play of light and shadows.

Part of the series themed “The Quiet Voice, Inside” which illustrates the photographer’s abstract feelings and thoughts about the human condition, this photo by ‘Themed Body of Work’ winner Lyn Low Yu Neng shows a dying insect on a window ledge, left for the wind to blow it away.

‘Boundless' by ‘On the Move’ category winner Clement Cher Jia Long: Captured through the photographer’s mobile phone, this photo taken at Uluwatu, Bali, portrays the boundlessness and wide expanse of mother nature.