Lee Chang Ming is a Singaporean photographer interested in identity, visual semiotics and representation. He graduated from National University of Singapore in 2015. He is also the founding editor of Nope Fun, a platform that features photographers and artist from all over the world.
How did this project come to be? How long have you worked on it?
Photography has been a coping mechanism for me to process my environment and experiences. Starting on this project was a means to deal with being queer and trying to articulate it from my personal perspective.
I began to work on this project in August 2016 during the inaugural Southeast Asian Masterclass. I hope to continue this project because I feel like I can say more, and because the issues I try to deal with in the project are things I’m still grappling with. My process has been somewhat spontaneous, but I’ll definitely need to meet more people.
How does your work with Nope Fun influence your work as a photographer?
While looking at all kinds of photographs and seeing how different photographers edit and present their work, I get a better understanding of what resonates with me, which then influences what I want (or not want) to show with my own photographs.
What did you learn from embarking on this project, especially in a country that may be more conservative, such as Singapore?
Some of my participants didn’t want their face to be shown, so I had to find ways around that. On the other hand, it was interesting that generally the younger participants were more willing to having their face shown. Perhaps they’re more open to talking about these things, which can only be a good thing.
What are some of the things that you are anxious about? Why?
Sometimes I feel life here can be a little too fast-paced and I can hardly catch my breath. Maybe the weariness breeds anxiousness? I’ve been reading Future Shock by Alvin Toffler, which talks about how an accelerated rate of technological and social change leaves people and societies feeling disconnected. Even though it was written in 1970, I think it totally nails this sense of unease of living the in a post-industrial society.
What is the one thing that you would like to change about Singapore?
I hope people here in general would stop seeing success only in terms of material wealth.
Suggest us a couple of songs to listen to, if we ever find ourselves in Singapore — walking on the streets alone at night.
This Feature is part of COLLECTION #01: “IN THE CITY”