S’porean student photographer captures picturesque shots of Simei and Tampines – Mothership.SG


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Several photo sets of seemingly mundane events in Simei and Tampines have gained traction on Facebook as they have sparked fond memories and nostalgia for neighborhoods among internet users.

The photos, taken by Raphael Hugh, a 24-year-old Singaporean university student, are part of a series of photo sets he planned for different neighborhoods in Singapore.

Series of photos of neighborhoods around Singapore

Raphael, an undergraduate student at Yale-NUS College majoring in Urban Studies, decided to take photos of the neighborhoods around Singapore in order to hone his photography skills and experiment with street photography and new editing styles.

“I felt the best way to do it was to take pictures of something more relatable and closer to home, like the unique neighborhoods around Singapore.

So the neighborhood photo sets were really just the product of my experiments with a new style of photography! “

Talk to MothershipRaphael said he originally planned to spend his summer at a design class hosted by the NUS School of Architecture.

However, he was canceled due to the increased restrictions in Phase 2 (High Alert), leaving him two and a half months of free time.

Raphael said he chose to start his series with Simei and Tampines because he was more familiar with both neighborhoods, having lived all his life in eastern Singapore.

“I wanted to capture hidden places that only local residents knew and tell the stories behind them,” he said.

“Simei in particular is so small and under the radar that Singaporeans either don’t know it exists or think there is nothing fascinating about the neighborhood (just another ulu city ​​in a way).

So I went for long walks in the estates and took pictures of familiar places that I knew were hidden community icons of every neighborhood. “


On May 29, Raphaël sharing a series of photos taken around Tampines. Each photo was accompanied by a brief description and comments from him.

Photo by Raphaël Hugh.

“The central path for pedestrians and cyclists in Tampines Ville is flanked by low-level HDB maisonettes. Families in the ground floor units have cultivated beautiful gardens right outside their doors!

Photo by Raphaël Hugh.

“I always walked past this building right next to the MRT tracks on my evening runs, but never noticed its incredible color.”

Photo by Raphaël Hugh.

“A community garden in Tampines Park, a very unique park that is home to a tilapia fish farm. The uncle featured here is semi-retired and comes to the garden twice a day. ‘The seeds that NParks give, not enough seed. . fill my balcony. ‘”

Photo by Raphaël Hugh.

“Prime Supermarket in Tampines West. Tampines is a huge area. After walking for hours, I somehow found myself on that side of town that I had never really explored before. “


Raphael posted the second set of neighborhood photos on Friday (June 4), this time from Simei.

In the photo captions, he recalled childhood memories watching the National Day parade along Simei Road and shared his thoughts on phasing out HDB empty deck mom stores.

Photo by Raphaël Hugh.

Photo by Raphaël Hugh.

Photo by Raphaël Hugh.

One photo that sparked fond memories for many internet users was that of Mirana Cake House.

Photo by Raphaël Hugh.

Raphaël wrote:

“A classic in Simei. This Mirana pastry shop has been around for ages and anyone who has been in Simei for awhile certainly knows it. Solid waffles that have been eating their sugar buns since I was a kid.”

The two series of photos were warmly received by Internet users, the Tampines publication having collected more than 500 shares and that of Simei more than 1000 shares.

Raphaël was encouraged by the warm welcome and by the personal commitment of the people with his photos:

“As a major in urban studies, my fascination with the built environment, people and photography converge very well in this series.

I think the most amazing part is seeing other residents sharing their own memories via the comments under each photo. It’s great to see people relate to the images I have taken and to know that the places that have deep meaning to me are just as important to other people. “

You can see the full set of photos of Hugh de Tampines here:

And from Simei here: Many Facebook users have also expressed appreciation for seeing their beloved neighborhood sights captured in the photos.

Re-develop interest in photography

Raphael started exploring photography in 2017, taking photos on his iPhone.

He was “very reluctant” to enter the digital SLR photography scene due to the high costs associated with purchasing equipment, until a friend from the National Service (NS) sold him his Canon 600D under. -used at a good price, which Raphael continues to use on this. day.

After completing NS in 2018, he deepened his photography skills by doing an internship as an assistant for two local photographers, Juliana Tan and Pandora Wong, an opportunity for which he is extremely grateful, as Tan and Wong have it. helped learn the ropes and gave him insight into the industry.

He experienced a crisis in 2019 after starting college and dealing with other priorities:

“I gave up my interest in photography for two years because I was frustrated with my lack of developing photography skills and my inability to capture good stories through images.”

However, he rekindled his interest after taking a photography module last year and decided to start exploring the art form again.

Plans to photograph Jalan Besar, Sengkang and more

He said he intends to photograph many other neighborhoods around Singapore, including Jalan Besar, Bedok, Sengkang and Joo Chiat, some of which have already been partially completed.

“For the next series of photos, I hope I can do the same and capture the unique characteristics of the many neighborhoods Singaporeans proudly call home.”

He said he was “particularly excited” by Sengkang’s photo set, which he will likely collaborate on with another photographer who lives there:

“This is one of the newer housing estates with a younger population in Singapore and the area should definitely have a different vibe from what I have experienced.”

He also plans to continue photographing Simei and post another set of photos, this time perhaps focused on people rather than places.

“Simei will also always be a special place for me and there are still many stories to discover despite its small size.”

Raphael plans to publish his future photo sets on a dedicated website Facebook page for his photography, as well as on his Instagram page.

Top photos via Raphael Hugh.

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