Emotive Pictures Captured Imagination and Praise
High quality winning entries at the "Building People" 2011 Photography Competition brought event to a successful close
Issue: Sep 2011
Wong Chek Poh's picture of a brilliantly lit Clarke Quay snapped the first prize in "Building People" 2011 Photography Competition
In quietude, in exuberance, at sunset, in the warmth of the day, with rushing crowds or flanked by a lone figure – CapitaLand properties across the world were captured in various situations at this year's "Building People" Photography Competition. More than 1200 entries were sent from Asia Pacific and Europe, including countries such as Singapore, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, France, and for the first time, Australia and Indonesia. This was more than double the number of entries received at last year's inaugural competition.
One of the highlights of this year's competition was the involvement of renowned National Geographic photographer, Catherine Karnow. Besides being part of the judging panel, Karnow also conducted a photography seminar for the participants who took part in the competition.
Due to the outstanding quality of photos received this year, in addition to the top three prizes, CapitaLand and National Geographic Channel also gave out three "Special Commendation Awards" to recognise competition entries that embodied the "Building People" theme. A "Voters' Choice Award" was also given to the contestant whose entry received the most votes between 7 to 21 July 2011 in an online public voting contest.
The top three winners, along with the "Voters' Choice Award" recipient, were rewarded with a photographic trail of CapitaLand properties in Singapore with Karnow (see Hot on the Trail of Picture Perfection).
Of the competition this year, Karnow commented, "I am extremely impressed with the standard of entries from Asia's highly talented amateur photographers. The winners of the CapitaLand ‘Building People' Photography Competition have creatively reflected the interaction between people and places within the context of CapitaLand's buildings."
Some of the best entries were exhibited at ION Station of ION Orchard between 6 and 9 August 2011
Catherine Karnow and Wen Khai Meng, Chief Investment Officer of CapitaLand Limited, in a fine exchange that marked a successful CapitaLand-National Geographic Channel collaboration
Competition Drew Novices and Veterans Alike
Between 6 and 9 August, 143 photographs from the competition covering areas like homes, serviced residences, offices, Raffles City developments, shopping malls, Clarke Quay and ION Orchard, were exhibited at ION Station (Basement 4 of ION Orchard). This allowed the public a chance to admire some of the best entries from the competition. (see Gallery).
At the prize presentation ceremony, Karnow also presented Guest-of-Honour, Wen Khai Meng, Chief Investment Officer of CapitaLand Limited, with a photograph of Raffles City Singapore which she had specially taken and autographed. Copies of the same autographed picture were also given to the winners.
"I was delighted to come across two kids mesmerised by the water fountain on the bottom level of Raffles City Singapore. Every time the water shot up, the little girl threw up her arms in delight. It was a wonderful moment and seemed to symbolise the joy you can feel in a place designed for function, fun and pleasure," explained Karnow.
In return, Mr Wen gave her a CapitaLand coffee table book with a personal note that thanked her for "helping CapitaLand tell its stories in such a timeless and universal language."
"This moves me deeply because I love that across an ocean a property company and a single photographer can come together in this same spirit of uplifting people, connecting people, for all the right reasons," she added.
Photography competition veteran, Liew Tong Leng's unique framing of Clarke Quay won him the second prize
Competition Drew Novices and Veterans Alike
"I have taken part in so many photography competitions since I started 20 years ago," said 42-year-old Liew Tong Leng who garnered the second prize. "The process of shooting for competitions makes me a better photographer and helps me to see my standard [vis-à-vis others']."
Liew has won over 130 photography competitions. His entry this time around, featuring Clarke Quay within an oval frame, took less than 10 minutes to shoot. But its appeal is enduring.
"This picture has a very nice use of vertical composition. You have the framing device of this oval at the top and then the round shape of the fountain in the centre. The repeat of the shapes is very pleasing and it has excellent light. I also like the inclusion of the tall buildings (in the shot) as it lets you know you're in a city," commented Karnow.
Third prize winner, Thomas Phoon, however, is a novice at competitions.
"This was the first competition I have ever joined," said Phoon. "But it certainly won't be my last!"
Iluma in the evening – this picture of the mall, illuminated against a deep blue sky, won Thomas Phoon the third prize
His picture of shopping mall, Iluma, at the Bugis area was the result of no small amount of research, which is how Phoon approaches photography in general.
"Whenever possible, I will do my ‘homework' and prepare myself [for a shoot]. In photography, never take anything for granted. Good pictures don't just happen, you have to create [them]," said Phoon. "[I chose Iluma because] it is the latest acquisition by CapitaLand in 2011. In terms of competition strategy, not many would have submitted pictures of Iluma and that would make my photograph unique among the entries."
Karnow picked Phoon's picture because of the beautiful light and colour and the fact that "the street lamps brought out the character of the building".
Karnow wowed the crowds at the "Building People" Photography Seminar
Personal Tips from a Professional
Winner, 50-year-old Wong Chek Poh, joined the competition because of the chance to meet Karnow and attend her photography seminar. Being awarded the top prize was an unexpected boost.
"I thought the top three prizes were not in any order of merit. So learning that I won the first prize was a surprise. I am elated. It is a kind of assurance that I am doing something right in photography," said Wong.
Karnow felt that Wong's shot on Clarke Quay at sunset with a ferry streaking across was a picture that made people want to look at for a long time, with its colours, details and dynamism.
"It gives you a sense of this moment of when this boat is going by and it gives you energy and dynamism. What you are looking for in a successful picture is emotion and energy," said Karnow.
An elated Wong Chek Poh claiming his first prize from Mr Wen Khai Meng and Catherine Karnow
Prior to the prize presentation ceremony, Karnow conducted the "Building People" Photography Seminar for the photo competition participants. With 20 years of experience in the field, Karnow covered technical issues like lighting, composition, capturing the moment, attention to details and including action in the shots. She also spoke about integrating people with locations to lend relativity to the scale of the landscape and add to the aesthetics and ambience of the shot, regaling the crowd with stories of how she engaged strangers to get them to agree to be photographed and sharing from her own personal portfolio. The participants enjoyed her detailed presentation. A few had come all the way from abroad to attend the photography seminar. One of them was Roger Evangelista from the Philippines.
Roger Evangelista flew to Singapore from the Philippines to attend the seminar by Catherine Karnow
"I enjoyed every minute of it. Already, I'm excited to be participating again next year," said Evangelista.
One woman who travelled from China also presented Karnow with an album of her (the woman's) own works.
"She was worried that her camera wasn't fancy enough. I was glad to assure her that it isn't the equipment that matters but the dedication of the person behind the cameras," said Karnow.
And dedication is certainly what all the winners of the competition had in common – dedication to their craft and their passion.
Read about Catherine Karnow and the winners' photography trail of selected CapitaLand properties in Singapore here
Click below to view the gallery of competition entries
CapitaLand-National Geographic Channel Photography Competition 2011
CapitaLand-National Geographic Channel Photography Competition 2010