Up first is photographer Gabe Chen, whose "Ambivalence" series beautifully captures the mood of renaissance art, particularly those of Dutch masters, and juxtaposed with elements commonly seen in high fashion editorials.
Hi Gabe. Can you share a bit about yourself and walk us through your journey with photography.
I picked up photography only in my 2nd year of polytechnic, taking up a photography major that Temasek Poly Design School's visual communication course offered. Since my poly days, I've worked as a photographer's apprentice for numerous photographers for five years; starting with my internship at Milk Photographie under Olivier Henry, and eventually becoming a freelance assistant with Stills Network. Having all these skills as an assistant, university was kind of a work sabbatical for me before taking the next step of being a full fledged photographer.
Your series, "Ambivalence", in The Glassgow School of Art Singapore's Degree Show brings together elements of renaissance art and fashion editorials — two very different concepts, yet the execution works. How did this come about?
It started with the idea of studying still life paintings of renaissance era Dutch painters and the peculiar semiotic resource each painting harboured. Besides that, I too studied renowned contemporary photographers and drew similarities of posing, lighting and compositional styles of the great renaissance artists that specialised in portraiture. Renaissance, by and large, is still being studied, copied and referenced until today. By joining my two areas of research, I decided to execute an editorial series out of the research of the renaissance era paintings.
What reaction do you want to draw out from those who view your work?
That fashion photography and fine art photography can go hand in hand, or be classified as either/or when looking at my photographs.
Which photographers inspire you and why?
Tim Walker, for his incredibly detailed concepts and ideas, and the team he works with especially the stylists, set designers, and hair and makeup artists that help shape his work.
What's the most memorable shoot you've done to date?
A shoot for a fashion designer's "Anti-Life" collection, where we literally created a dystopian set and editorial series of images. I also had the oppurtuinity to photograph Sheena Liam, the winner of Asia's Next Top Model Cycle 2, as she donned the designs.
How do you feel about selfies?
They're best on Snapchat, where your narcissim expires after 24 hours.
What's next for you after the Degree Show?
To pursue full time photography and art direction, specalising in fashion as a duo with my work partner and friend Jacki See. This project wouldn't have been possible without her.