Landscape of You 01

After thinking a little more in depth (and also because my grandfather happened to come over to my house on a Sunday) I the subject of my film to be about my grandfather instead of just any ol’ landscape. I changed to film to be about my grandfather and all the people and events in his life that made him the man he is today. I feel that it is a great way to cap off a trilogy.

I took a couple of shots that might work for the film.

The shots are blurry, I know. But looking at these shots, they feel very typical and expected. I felt the need to try out other shots to have more options.

These shots were more candid; perhaps making it feel more intimate.

Looking at these shots, I’m starting to reconsider the 1-second film with the long credits. The shots do not seem to fit the film concept so much anymore. I will retake the shots and see what happens next. I have a general idea of what shots I want to take but I feel that I shouldn’t be so fixated on how I want the film to turn out; trying to keep the process as organic as possible. After all, this is about keep it real.

Angel in The Phone Camera

Close to 1000 images to look through.

I have sorted them out into categories that I think the photos make sense to be in. Of course, there are some overlaps, but I duplicated them to fit into the categories.

Photos from AhGongSlides include:

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Photos from Birthdays include:



Photos from Family include:

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Photos from Food include:

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Photos from Gong 80 Birthday include:



Photos from gongong include:



Photos from hisART include:

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Photos from hisHome include:

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Photos from Mama include:



Photos from mamaNgong include:



Photos from Nature include:



Photos from Other include:



Photos from Scanner no Scanner include:



Photos from TV include:

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After looking through the photos. I decided to work with the images that he took of the TV.

It has enough photos to fit into a slightly more coherent story in 30 images or more.

I just have to figure out how to arrange my images to tell a story more than just “my grandfather took these photos”.

After the shoot: Swimming with fishes

While looking through the photos, I tried thinking about the narrative I wanted to convey.

At this point, the only information I had was the rough time period of each item and the materials used. I wanted to know the man who made the items. I called up my grandfather and had a long conversation. When he gets started, it’s hard to stop him.

I might not include this in the actual submission so I thought I’d add this in here. (Paraphrased for easy reading)

“Where did you find the seahorse and crab?”

“Back in the 1970s, I would spend my free time going to Changi beach in the evening to catch fishes. We used carbide lamps to help us see in the dark. You had to wait for the tide to go down before you went out look for the fishes. There were even sea snakes, sawsharks and catfishes. You don’t really see them nowadays with all the reclaimed land.

A carbide lamp

One time, I waded in the water and felt a sharp pain on the leg. At first I thought that it was a sea snake but once a sea snake bites you, it doesn’t let go. This sharp pain was short so it can’t have been that. I looked down and saw this huge catfish swimming away. What’s worse, the pain made me stumble. The lamp touched the water and stopped working. I couldn’t see the shore because the street lamps were blocked by trees. Thankfully, the wind came and blew the trees aside for me to see the shore. During the drive back, my leg was still numb from the pain. I had so much difficulty working the pedals. When I reached home, my roommate gave me some Chinese medicine and I felt much better.

During the 15th day of the lunar month, the king crab (horseshoe crab) would come to the shore in pairs. You can eat the eggs but you need to know how to remove them because if the bile gets onto the eggs then you’ll get mabok.”


The photoshoot

I went over to my grandparents’ house over the weekend t0 take pictures of the crafts that he has done. I arrived at Lengkong tiga to some famous beach road nasi briyani; which my grandparents queued 1/2 hour for.

It was the best.

Looking around his house, you could see all sorts of ornaments. Mostly figurines and a whole array of tea sets. I have fond memories as a kid of playing with all the different things that my grandfather had made- and also watching Space Jam on LaserDisc. It’s been a long time since I’d been at his house alone. It seemed much smaller now. Strangely though, there are still crafts in his house that I had never seen before; like the cobra in the featured image above.

When I was young boy, I had always assumed that the things that he owned were bought, but only when he started making coconut zodiac animals for us did I realise that his home was quite homemade.

Back when my parents were living with my grandparents, they owned a coat rack. My grandmother wanted one for their room so my grandfather made a similar one out of wood. Guava tree wood, specifically; his wood of choice for its strength.

He talked about how he collects coconuts whenever he finds them, much to the displeasure of my grandmother.

We proceeded with the set up of the shoot area, which was near his balcony. Natural light, best light. Also, Natural light, only light. And also, Natural light, time-sensitive light. So therefore I needed to work fast.

I taped white cloth on the ceiling and let it drape down. With a table on one side of the cloth and the objects on the other side, I created the following:

Like the goat at the bottom left, he leaves the things he has made all over the house

Getting the light to be consistent was a challenge. I had to use the camera flash (I know, I cringe too) with tissue as a diffuser.

When it got darker, I had to use a light and because I did not have a proper light stand, I became the light stand.


Timers are also great for reducing the shake when pressing the shutter button (because I had a subpar tripod).

Because the shoot was by the balcony, wind was inevitable so getting the photos without too many creases was a challenge. I had to wait for the right moment to snap each photo.

He sat on the sofa behind the white cloth, occasionally coming over to see how I’m doing and also to tell me more about the things he made.

After we were done, my grandmother heated up some pastries, peeled a bunch of rambutans and offered them to with along with mooncake and ginseng water.

I am loved.

I wished that I had taken a photo of them then and there, instead, here’s a photo of them dancing at my grandfather’s 80th birthday.