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Budding talents unveiled at the 5th CDL Singapore Young Photographer Award

  • Female photographers win 3 out of top 4 Awards
  • Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong, to open Exhibition of winning works at National Museum
  • 19-year-old student clinches second consecutive win in the Architecture category

Guest-of-Honour, Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister of Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Communications and Information (second row, centre), CDL Deputy Chairman Mr Kwek Leng Joo (Minister’s left), and the Award partners with this year’s young Award winners.

Singapore, 13 August 2014 – Winners of the 5th 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 Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Ministry of Communications and Information, presented prizes to the 12 young, budding shutterbugs of the biennial photography competition.

The CDL SYPA is a nationwide photography competition that aims to discover and nurture local photographic talents between the ages of 13 and 25. Since its inception in 2006, the CDL SYPA has grown in both scale and stature. In all, over 1,500 entries were received from schools, youth organisations and photo clubs this year; representing a three-fold increase in participation rate since the competition started. Submissions from students between the ages of 13 and 18 increased significantly as well. In addition, for the first time in the competition’s history, the number of female winners clinching top honours in the four categories outnumbered their male counterparts.

A nine-member judging panel, comprising industry professionals and esteemed photographers, reviewed nearly 10,000 images and were unanimously impressed by the overall sophistication and creativity displayed in the submitted works.

Mr Kwek Leng Joo, CDL Deputy Chairman shared, “Since its inception in 2006, CDL SYPA has grown by leaps and bounds. I am heartened to see so many young photographic talents with immense potential emerging in each edition of the competition. One interesting trend we have observed in this year’s competition is the increase in the number of younger participants taking part, and who have exhibited their artistic flair through the images they captured. These trends show that photography as an art form is gaining a steady and significant presence in Singapore. Together with our partners, we hope to nurture a thriving community of local photographic talents and produce more quality artistic content that Singapore can be proud to call its own.”

As part of a growing trend, CDL SYPA also recorded a shift in what used to be considered a male-dominated field, as female participants clinched three of the four top category awards this year.

Vanessa Lorraine Chea Yuen Leng, a 16-year-old Chemical Engineering student from Temasek Polytechnic, emerged victorious in the Junior category. Her winning submission was a mix of abstract, architecture, still life and night scene images, and received praises from the judging panel for its depth in composition. An avid photographer of three years, Vanessa’s interest in photography was inspired by her father, who is also a keen photographer.

Twenty-three year-old Charmaine Yap Shu Hui took top honours in the Youth category with her images capturing various subjects such as nature, people at work and architecture. Her passion in photography was first ignited in 2004, but it was only during the Singapore Youth Olympics Games in 2010 that she began taking photos professionally. She picked up new photography skills and discovered her potential after meeting a mentor.

Koh Chaik Hong, a 19-year-old photography student at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, impressed the judges with his rendition of the Republic Plaza building at Raffles Place, and clinched the Young Architectural Photographer Award once again this year, after winning in the same category in 2012. His winning work, presented in monochrome, depicts the CDL- developed landmark building at the heart of Singapore’s business district in stately solitude, under the clever interplay of light and shadow. Chaik Hong’s talent in architectural photography is proven and he has won further plaudits with his even more impressive and thoughtful pieces this year.

Bernice Wong Shu Fen, 25, won the Themed Body of Work category with “The Last Frontier”, a documentary work featuring the to-be-demolished Lim Chu Kang Jetty. Through her anthropology-centric photography essay, Bernice captured the myriad roles that the jetty represents – a sanctuary, a place for socialisation, and a venue for recreation.

The winner of the Youth category will receive prize money of S$5,000 while winners of the other three categories will each receive S$3,000. In addition, 8 merit award winners were also recognised and will receive S$1,000 each.

The National Museum of Singapore has been a firm partner of the Award since 2008 and will once again be supporting this worthy art initiative by offering the museum as the exhibition venue for three weeks from 13 August to 7 September 2014. The exhibition will also feature a line-up of photo works by the SYPA panel of judges: Kwek Leng Joo, Chow Chee Yong, Lee Tiah Khee, John Clang, Darren Soh, Ho Hui May, Bob Lee, Sarah Choo and Robert Zhao.

SYPA Youth Category winner Ms Charmaine Yap (left) sharing a laugh with Mr Lawrence Wong (centre) and CDL Deputy Chairman Mr Kwek Leng Joo (right), as she describes her winning works.