Raffles Photographic Society: 50by50

By Ina Song (19S07C) and Chloe Wong (19S07C)
Photos by Chloe Tan (19S03E) and Melvin Liam (19S05B)

Held at Dhoby Ghaut’s Visual Arts Centre, 50by50 was an exhibition of works created by members of the Raffles Photographic Society (RPS). The Year 6s were given a box measuring 50 cm by 50 cm – hence the name of the exhibition – to merge their photography with. In their words, “To make truly great art, one must think outside the box. (…) What creative challenge – or opportunity – does the box present? Does the box restrict, provide structure, or take on a completely unexpected meaning? Is the box simply a frame or can it add to or enhance the photograph?”

Though this is the first time that the RPS has conducted such an activity, the graduating photographers took the challenge head on and managed to create some truly thought-provoking works, incorporating themes such as identity, gender and family. Meanwhile, the Year 5s exhibited their light painting explorations, focusing on technical skills and creating visually stunning images.

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RPS members printing and cutting photos from the photo booth

Upon entering the venue, visitors were greeted with fresh popcorn, while tables of drinks and biscuits were set up inside the Visual Arts Centre. We also spotted a queue at the well-decorated photo booth, beside which members of the Photographic Society sat, carefully working on printed photos. The atmosphere in the room was lively, as guests wandered around, admiring and discussing the delightful artwork on show. As it was our first time visiting such an exhibition, we were excited to explore 50by50.

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Installation of “South Korea, Just Like Singapore”

One installation that caught our eye was “South Korea, Just Like Singapore” by Afiq Zuhairi Bin Sahri (18S06Q). It combines images of Singapore and South Korea to compare the daily lives of women in the two countries. As a fan of K-pop and K-dramas, Afiq was intrigued by the way South Korean media often portrays unattainable standards of beauty. As South Korean media continues to dominate global pop culture, the number of people worldwide who idolize Korea, its people and its culture grow exponentially. But how disparate are the lives of a Korean woman and, say, a Singaporean woman? It is easy for us who are far removed from South Korea to assume that the women we see in South Korean media are a representation of women in the country. However, Afiq found that the lifestyles of women in Korea were not very different from the lifestyles of those in Singapore, which explains why the scenes in the six central images parallel each other. He concludes that “South Korea isn’t a country that just focuses on entertainment, but is also a country with people living unique lifestyles, just like Singapore.”

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An RPS member discussing an installation with a visitor

Another striking installation appeared to display a clock dressed in shiny red coating. Upon closer inspection, this 50by50 piece of art titled “Mother Time” held layers of meaning and was made beautifully and creatively by Natasha Rae Zuzarte (18A01B). As described by the photographer herself: “Even though a square clock is unconventional, the box suggests self-containedness and structure, which is exactly what Mom represents.”

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Natasha and her parents in front of the installation “Mother Time”

 

In the time-telling machine, 8 different pictures are chained together loosely but proportionally, depicting the anchor of Natasha’s life, her mother, in various stages of her day to day routine as a homemaker. It could be said that cherished memories of motherly love are enshrined within this box-shaped clock. A touching and heartwarming exhibit meant to celebrate and memorialise a new start for her mother, Raffles Press would like to extend our congratulations to Natasha’s hardworking mother for starting full-time work in an office after more than two decades.

50by50 also marks the Year 5s’ first exhibition, a great way to showcase their talents and a glimpse of what we can look forward to from the Raffles Photographers in the year to come. In contrast with their seniors’ boxed artworks, the Year 5s were tasked with experimenting with a different aspect of photography — Light Painting, a photographic technique involving moving a light source while taking a long exposure photograph. While each of their works tells a story on its own, what stood out most was the contrast of glowing colours against dark backgrounds. Their works were individually stunning, and looked even better as a whole.

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Light painting works by the Year 5 photographers

Both Timothy Low (19S06L) and Tian Ruiying (19S05B) felt grateful and accomplished to have had their original works put up for the public to view. Ruiying added that the exhibition had served to motivate her to improve her skills through CCA sessions and further practice. She also praised the seniors’ pieces of art as amazing, creative and inspiring. There is no doubt that the Year 5 batch will continue to work hard, explore new photography forms, and present yet more outstanding pieces in time to come.

Other than covering events and taking photographs of you, for you, the Raffles Photographers are also talented artists who have brought their own unique visions and ideas to the local art scene. We thoroughly enjoyed viewing the works they created for this splendid exhibition, and look forward to visiting more of RPS’ exhibitions in the future. We wish them all the best for their future showcases in the years to come.

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