Assignment 4 – Review

In approaching Little India as my subject, I set out to show a slightly different side than that put forward by most travel magazines. Little India has a vibrancy that is palpable at night. You could consider that most of Singapore is nocturnally similar but I feel in general it is more homogenised than Little India which retains something of it’s colonial and Indian character and heritage. The smells, sounds and sights make it a sensory experience for the traveller which other parts of Singapore are lacking in due to their sanitisation. The whiff of urban decay and traditionally bright colours show a different hue under fluorescent light and engender a transformation of the environment in contrast to daylight hours.

As a vehicle for the project I used, as discussed with my tutor, the colonial history and names to evoke another era. After this discussion it also occured to me that another major influence over this heritage area was cattle. Therefore these seemed like two good vehicles to transport me around the specific area I had selected.

I have got to know Little India reasonably well over the years and this I think leads to two differing takes on the successful nature of this project. My familiarity meant that I could identify the connections and areas of interest to complete the work. I knew that the areas I selected would take me on a fairly succinct journey around the area and that there were a variety of interesting images to be made in each of them. I enjoyed the use of the very bright lighting. It can be quite a challenge but the harshness and directional quality of it also throws up differing colours and contrasts on the people and places.

On the other hand my familiarity may also be seen as a stumbling block. It could be that I write about and photograph the place with cliches. Indeed this appears in my notebook as a side note. How do I avoid photographing preconceptions and cliches? Possibly I am still seeing it very much as a tourist and as such am not giving the review I felt I was. I am still very much a Westerner and ‘tourist’ in the country and region. So, very difficult to tell what eyes I am seeing through for this assignment and could be a comment on the current amount of time I’ve spent in the country. Almost truly living here but, certainly not local. This last comment makes it sound like I would rather have given a ‘locals’ point of view which I don’t think is true either. So maybe my narrative needed more work to decide where I was coming from (quite literally).  This will only be born out by the feedback from my tutor.

With no end result, my narrative (which is open to discussion) would have been non-apparent and the images would have wound aimlessly around the streets. This would probably have resulted in a confusing narrative at best and probably not a terribly interesting one. With the constraint on images numbers, the narrative needed to be quite succinct.