From The Community

Committee Picks: Open Category

Chua Kian Chiang

The question is, “Is it worth it?”

I have never imagined myself picking up photography back in 2015 and making a decision to pursue professionally right after my National Service. Seeking validation and approvals from my closed ones, to reassure myself that my choice is right.

Photography, for me, was an escape from reality and loved how I can see things differently through the viewfinder. A way that no one sees them but for us. While laughter might be the best medicine for joy, in this case, photography works as the best medicine for me too.

With that being said, knowing when to put down our camera and having a real conversation with the person you are photographing. See how it changes the way you look at each other and how it changes the stories you tell. It may sound so simple but yet so difficult to achieve - Communicating with a stranger and understanding their story.

While getting the right composition, framing, and settings are equally important, but nothing beats capturing raw emotions at the right moment. Eventually, the important photographs are the ones like this that matter the most to me, at least.

Photography is a lifelong journey, and learning will never stop for me. That’s what kept me inspired and made me who I’m today. This is my story.


  • Tell us more about what inspired your entry?
    The photo was taken back when I made my solo travel trip to Hong Kong intending to photograph every single day. A couple of weeks ago, before my trip, Hong Kong was undergoing one of the most intense storms in its history. That means most of the places that I was planning to go to, including Victoria Peak was in destruction.

    When I was walking up to Victoria Peak, I came upon this scene (as shown in my photograph). It was quite a memorable moment for me as street lights like this don’t appear that often especially it happened in a chaotic scenario. Therefore, I decided to mount the camera on the tripod and took a silhouette of myself at this scene during this chaotic period.

  • How does your entry connect to you personally to the theme This Is My Story?
    The theme “This Is My Story” connected to me personally because back then, I was only 22, and I was serving National Service. After seeking validation and approvals from my closed ones to reassure myself that my choice is right, I decided to pursue photography professionally right after my National Service. I gave myself two years to pursue this industry and seeing how far I can achieve. This solo trip to Hong Kong, which I went during my National Service, was particularly memorable to me as I went through quite a several incidents, including almost losing my life because of a passion I am pursuing.

  • How did you conceptualise your shot? Did you use any specific techniques to achieve certain effects in your shot?
    There aren’t any specific techniques that I used. I mounted the tripod and set to the lowest ISO, 100, and lowest f stop, f4, to remove any form of noise since I am taking a silhouette of myself.

  • How did the use of post-processing enhance the storytelling ability of your entries?
    I personally feel that the black and white edit makes the subject pop and interesting as the light shines across the walkway. It removes distraction and let the viewers focus on it. Additionally, the photo was dark and moody to express my emotions/thoughts at the point of time.

  • If you had the chance to retake your shot(s), what would you do differently?
    If I were to retake the photo, I will probably shoot in portrait mode and adjust to a longer focal length, 85mm, to get more depth, and I will stand more to the right side and removing all my stuff that was on my back hah!

About the Photographer

  • When, how, and why did you get into photography?
    I picked up photography back in 2015 and started with an iPhone 4. It was partly inspired by Instagrammers back then and the scenery that we have in Singapore. I wanted to capture every scenery place that I went to and the food that I ate! As months passed by, I took my brother’s Canon 550d with his broken kit lens to play with, and I realized photography is not that easy. I wanted to challenge myself to play with it, especially the autofocus, which was spoilt, and everything has to be manual. Eventually, I got hooked on it.

  • Do you define yourself by any particular style(s) of photography? If so, what are they and why?
    Perhaps wedding photography or street photography. I love capturing raw emotions that make an impact when people see it. It’s something that sounds easy, but actually, it isn’t easy.

  • How has your photographic journey been affected by COVID-19? Are you more inspired to take more photos? Have the restrictions hindered, or conversely enhanced your creativity?
    My photographic journey definitely has been affected tremendously due to COVID-19. I am a full-time wedding photographer, and a lot of government restrictions have been in place. Due to the circuit breaker back then, I sort out my thoughts and read some photography books, and I am more inspired to shoot again, and hopefully, the photos will be interesting hah!

  • What are your photographic goals after Montage 2020?
    My photographic goal after Montage 2020, was to focus more on snapping photos that are more impactful and interesting. Learning how to observe and listen to a subject before snapping right away. Of course, if there are other contest opportunities, I will like to take part in them as well.