Back for the second update of DP3006’s Documentary Photo Project 2!
This time round we were told to pick a second round of documentary photographers and how they would inspire us for the second half of our project. Of course, we were given the privilege to decide whether or not we wanted to co continue with Project 1 or to start on a totally new project.
After the first critique for Project 1, I was pretty hesitant to continue working on documenting “Our Generation” because I couldn’t strike the balance between such a conceptualised and abstract body of work to documentary photography. Also, during the critique some of my batchmates did bring up very valid and relevant points, of how it might seem too biased with the conceptualising part no doubt the statements represented the truth.
I was feeling pretty agonised because a huge part of me wanted to challenge myself by keeping the traditional way of documentary, and just directly photographing the rawness of what was happening, at that point in time. This accompanied with my near-death experience at the Old Choa Chu Kang cemetery where the thunderstorm was SO HUGE my entire family were bracing our lives against the strong wind and heavy rain. Funny thing was, I was pretty ready to *touch wood* die, and also, I felt worried that at that moment when everything happened there was nothing outside of my family anchoring me in life. So I started to panic and wondered if I was even meant to be doing what I was doing – majoring in photography. I then decided to go all the way back to my roots, to something I used to do when I was young – visit the wet market.
Surprisingly enough, it was such a joy to document Project 2, which is the preservation of wet markets as a vital part of our grassroots culture in Singapore. It was a lovely trip down to the Bukit Batok wet market, as I made a trip down in casual attire – tshirt and fbt shorts – with nothing but my phone, keys and my disposable camera. HAHA. The moment I stepped into the wet market there was already a vendor who started asking me what I was doing there that early, etc. While having short casual conversations with the people there, I tried my best to take note of the things they said so I could quote them if i ever needed (thank god I did that).
I think the best part about this project, was honestly the connection I felt when I was there. A warmth I received from the vendors even though they didn’t know me and vice versa. Also, hearing what they have to say about how the wet market is slowly dying out, it made me realise that when the society strives to keep up with technology and convenience, there is indeed something that is sacrificed and exchanged for that.
I still don’t know if the wet markets will be something that Singaporeans will try to preserve in the future. However, I am thankful I got the chance this time round to experience what I experienced, and if working on this small documentary project can help change the mind of one person, that’s more than enough for me. 🙂
Thank you for reading! x