After the completion of my dissertation on “The Provocative Landscape” in BA3a, I realised there were many other areas I had not really talked about. Hence I wanted to address them in a post here. This is still relevant for my research.

Dubai’s man-made islands

One area was that man-made islands or landscapes could be one of the points that relate to the provocative landscape. In a Travel+Leisure article, author Danielle Berman talks about Dubai’s Man-made Islands, which were meant to pique tourism and expand Dubai’s coastline. The mastermind behind these massive projects was the United Arab Emirates’ prime minister and Emir of Dubai.

Perhaps the most recognised of the bunch, Palm Jumeirah is aptly shaped like a palm tree, consisting of a trunk and 17 fronds, and surrounded by an almost 7-mile-long crescent-shaped island which is home to many luxury hotels and resorts that dot the archipelago). A process called land reclamation, which involves dredging sand from the Persian and Arabian Gulf’s floors. What is provocative about landscape was that the sand was then sprayed and “vibro-compacted” into shape using GPS technology for precision and surrounded by millions of tonnes of rock for protection.

The World (another Nakheel project) kicked off in 2003, and consists of around 300 small islands constructed into a world map. The stunning image of the man-made archipelago was taken by an astronaut far above our Earth on the International Space Station. It shows the World Islands development sitting in shallow waters just off Dubai’s coast but never got to be completed.

Phenomenon in landscapes 

Another area was the signs of a phenomenon in landscapes. In Jon Hilmarsson’s iconic image of the Aurora Borealis above Iceland resembles an iridescent angel glowing in the night sky. It was regarded as a controversial image that caught the media’s attention and eventually made it to a book by Fiona Finn – “I believe”, where she discusses the various and different religious signs that have been seen in pictures.


In Jon Hilmarsson’s iconic image of the Aurora Borealis above Iceland resembles an iridescent angel glowing in the night sky. It was regarded as a controversial image that caught the media’s attention and eventually made it to a book by Fiona Finn – “I believe”, where she discusses the various and different religious signs that have been seen in pictures.

It seems, provocative landscapes could also be from a religious point of view, as though a sign from the heavens. Of course, this is just one of the many examples out there and the chances of encountering such phenomenon are very rare.

Thinking back, this is something which I had not thought about at the time of writing my dissertation, and I thought this might well be an exciting topic to talk about which I think seldom talked about the photographic world.


Part of our requirement during my Arts diploma course at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) was to study the various contemporary art movement. For the first two years of my three-year course, we had a small segment of Art history lesson where we went through the different periods of arts from Prehistoric arts to contemporary art movement to South East Asian Art. At different points of time, I was given the Impression movement to study and present, and then the Romanticism movement for a thousand-word report. This was about 9 years ago.

The Impressionist  

As I learnt about the Impression movement, I came to learn about the french painter Claude Monet, one of the forerunners of the Impressionist movement. He was the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. The term “Impressionism” was derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise.

Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant)

Monet’s ambition of documenting the French countryside led him to adopt a method of painting the same scene many times in order to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons.

The Cliffs at Etretat, 1885

La Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877

I was particularly drawn into Monet’s landscape paintings. It was there that I became fascinated by his winter paintings (partly also the exposure of some BBC documentary series about the movement around the time of studying him). One of his famous winter painting was The Magpiean oil-on-canvas landscape painting. The Magpie is one of approximately 140 snowscapes produced by Monet.

The way Monet created the magpie as a focal point in the composition leads our eye to the bird through contrast and through repeated lines of movement in the fence’s shadows. The brushwork is masterful, as he uses the brush to show light, shadow and what remains of snow on narrow branches of trees.

The Magpie is a masterpiece of Monet’s early style, more Realist than Impressionist. There’s a sharp differentiation between light and shadow, though the shadows are mainly blue and not grey.  Dark footprints in the foreground add a bit of mystery, but more than anything make us think of the rawness of nature’s beauty with only a hint of human intervention. He is still using black which may have added just the right amount of contrast.  If we could not see the energy of his brushstrokes, a viewer may think the painting’s quality so good that it could be a photograph.  The whites are bright enough, though, that you’d almost want to wear sunglasses to look at the painting.  The Magpie appears to work its special magic by depicting what may be the day after a night of snow.

Floating Ice near Vertheuil,

By 1880, Monet’s paintings were gradually becoming more and more abstract.  He became less concerned with structure, depth and perspective and more about colour, pattern, vibration.  In the Floating Ice near Vertheuil, was one example. It was not only about the weather and how light effects the colour, but Monet was also very concerned with patterns, as his brushstrokes looked like dabs of paint, just quick impressions.

All that I have learnt from the research of Claude Monet’s paintings was also further emphasised by my lecturer’s advice in painting lessons during my foundation year in my diploma course (we were exposed to a whole range of art mediums), where white isn’t white and black isn’t black; there is aquamarine in white and amber brown in shadows, etc. It seems that my lecturers at the time were trying to help me see how the artist sees and to use my eye to see an Impressionist’s vision of the world. Studying these snowy landscapes had also given me an impression of the European landscape, locations of otherworldly and unique places which cannot be found in Singapore. It made we want to visit such places when I get older.

At another point in time, I had to research about the Romanticism movement for my thousand word essay during my diploma course, particularly Spanish painter Francisco Goya. Between 1810 and 1820, Francisco Goya produced a series of images entitled “The Disasters of War” were extremely gruesome as it depicted many scenes of death and destruction. This set of prints were created, largely believed as a protest against the violence during the uprising of the 2nd May 1808, or Dos de Mayo 1808. This lead to his later period which culminates a series of dark paintings he painted as frescoes, disillusioned by political and social developments in Spain, where he lived in near isolation until his death.

The Second of May 1808: The Charge of the Mamelukes, Francisco de Goya,1814.

About Romanticism

Romanticism (1800 to 1850) was characterised by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as the glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. The movement emphasised intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe—especially that experienced in confronting the new aesthetic categories of the sublimity and beauty of nature. It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble, but also spontaneity as a desirable characteristic.

Winter Afternoon, Hans Gude, 1847

In northern Europe, the Early Romantic visionary optimism and belief that the world was in the process of great change and improvement had largely vanished, and some art became more conventionally political and polemical as its creators engaged polemically with the world as it was. Many Romantic ideas about the nature and purpose of art, above all the pre-eminent importance of originality, remained important for later generations, and often underlie modern views, despite opposition from theorists.

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Caspar David Friedrich, c.1818.

As the beginning of the Romantic movement created a new interest in the landscape, practitioners included the German artist Caspar David Friedrich, who depicted remote and wild landscapes and was one of the first artists to portray winter landscapes as austere, forbidding and desolate. He idealises an uninterrupted nature, highlighted by creating excruciatingly detailed art. The emphasis on nature is encouraged by the low horizontal lines, and the preponderance of sky to enhance the wilderness; humanity, if it is represented, is depicted as small in comparison with the greater natural reality.

His winter scenes were solemn and still. Based on direct observation, Friedrich’s landscapes did not reproduce nature but were painted to create a dramatic effect, using nature as a mirror of human emotions. His aim was a reunion with the spiritual self through the contemplation of nature, paralleling Romanticism’s validation of intense emotions such as apprehension, fear, horror, terror and awe. Awe in particular – experienced when confronting the sublimity of untamed nature and its picturesque qualities – drew Friedrich’s interest, as seen in his idealised portrayals of coasts, forests and craggy mountains.  Most of his winter landscapes were plein-air depictions of winter scenes, using the quality of grey winter light to create the special winter atmosphere.

The Cross Beside The Baltic, Friedrich, 1815. This painting marked a move away from depictions in broad daylight, and a return to nocturnal scenes, twilight and a deeper poignancy of mood.

Another painter well known for using the plein-air technique was American landscape painter, Frederic Edwin Church, perhaps best known for painting large panoramic landscapes, often depicting mountains, waterfalls, and sunsets He also sometimes depicts the dramatic natural phenomena that he saw during his travels to the Arctic and Central and South America. Church’s paintings put an emphasis on light and a Romantic respect for an extraordinary yet natural detail, using romanticism, and luminism in his paintings.

The Icebergs, Frederic Edwin Church, 1861

Aurora Borealis, Frederic Edwin Church, 1865

The iconography of the Aurora Borealis painting suggested personal and nationalistic references. The peak in the painting had been named Mount Church during Hayes’s expedition. Aurora Borealis incorporated details of Hayes’ ship, drawn from a sketch he brought back upon returning from his expedition. Contrasting with his earlier works The North and The Icebergs (1861), the intact ship highlights Hayes’ achievements in navigating this space, as well as the state of the nation in navigating this contentious historical moment. Presenting the ship’s safe passage through the eerie experience, Church suggested optimism for the future with a tiny light shining out from the ship’s window. The Aurora Borealis is considered by some scholars to be best understood within a wider polyptych or multi-paneled grouping; the meanings of the paintings multiply in relation to each other and the harrowing period of American history during which they were created.

Rainy Season in the Tropics, 1866.

The Aurora Borealis was associated with Rainy Season in the Tropics (1866) for two reasons. First, the two paintings marked the completion of the arctic-tropical sequence created with The Heart of the Andes (1859) and The North is also known as The Icebergs (1861). These pairings drew together popular attention on the exploration of the arctic North and the tropical South. The second association between Aurora Borealis and Rainy Season in the Tropics was established through their compositions and “in their luminosity,” where each suggested a “renewed optimism in natural and historic events.”*

*Kinsey, Joni L. (1995). History in Natural Sequence: The Civil War Polyptych of Frederic Edwin Church. Redefining American History Painting, Patricia M. Burnham and Lucretia Hoover Giese (eds.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. pp. 172–173. ISBN 0-521-46059-X.


Why This Matters?

Studying these various art movements such as Impressionist and Romanticism have influenced my early practices in landscape photography with a certain pictorialist approach. The paintings from these masters have given me an impression of what the European landscapes could be like, therefore shaping my photographic practices and the preferential visual to dramatic landscapes and snowscape terrains, as I have subconsciously tried to emulate these art styles into my landscape photography.


Update 1: 29.04.17
Update 2: 06.04.17
Update 3: 13.05.17

Over the past two years, I have acquired some experience in photographing from Singapore bustling cityscapes to Iceland’s snowy mountainous landscapes. I have taken a wide variety of landscape photographs and I know what I look for in an image. It comes as no surprise to me that I have developed the eye to select the image for processing and I know how to pick the best images out of the batch after every photo shoot and give it a narrative context when I publish on my facebook page.

About curating my Images

However, one thing I still struggle today was to curate my photographs into a series. All the while I have been doing was to curate my images into the sort of a-photo-a-day thing and sorting them into a series was something which requires more time and effort.  A lot of advice I have had was that I do have a good collection of images and I needed to narrow it down much more. Cutting down from 50 to 9 or 10 images. I found this to be extremely difficult, because of these challenges:

    1. For these familiar places (in Singapore or locations I often passed by), I usually have a particular approach, from concept to post process. I would have formulated a particular approach in my head and only capture it that way. Hence, each image was created visually strong because there was an aesthetic direction. To cut them down would take a considerable amount of time to think through, depending on what factor or element I’m looking for.
    2.  For these unfamiliar places (usually locations I’ve visited for my first time), it would be difficult to use the first approach. To give it a different context would be more challenging since I take these photos because these scenes were of an interest to me in the first place. I would polish the images first and pick later. To fit them into a different context just doesn’t do any justice to the greater amount of images I have taken in the first place.
    3. The fact that we are being asked to narrow down our images to a top few selection and fit them into a series, but then what outlet could these “unselected” images end up in? Is there a platform to showcase them?

As I brood about curating my images for my portfolio works, I realise that there are actually different ways I can go about in curating them for different mediums. I guess the important thing was not to show every single image in every single medium but to strategically choose which images could go into which medium. For example, I would select certain images for large prints and certain images for postcards, etc.

Hence in this post, I discuss my thoughts and developmental process in curating my images for different platforms, including photo competition.

Website Homepage

For portfolio websites, images on the homepage need to be the best of the best. It needs to represent what I love doing as well as the services I can do. At some point, I struggled with this because I have images that fall between commercial and fine art spectrum. The images I submitted for BA3a was a strong portfolio of images I did, but not all of them were suitable for my website homepage. Some advice was that they should be a coherent series, but I argued that if I were a commercial photographer, I need to show as many skills and service as I can. Moreover, my photographs were visually strong as a single image with narrative context. It was difficult to string them together as a series since I have a particular style, a style that was native to me prior to my university enrolment.

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In the end, the way I decided the images that best represents me to be put on the website were based on these factors:

  1. That more of my images were leaning towards the “fine art” side, but I wanted to be a commercial photographer, specialising in landscape, travel.
  2. I have a particular style of vibrant colours and structural elements (images that I was exploring a different direction of would not be considered)
  3. I’m looking for that element of detail over the horizon.

Hence, images that did not meet these criteria were not put up.

Portfolio Print

The challenge of choosing images for my portfolio prints was that it has to represent me and my photographic style. Initially, I tried fitting them into a series, but I didn’t feel it worked out well. “Pandora’s Box” and “Allenmanstretten” were examples that I could fit my images into a series but my native style was not reflected well. This took me a while to figure out the element I am looking for. But eventually, I abandoned the idea of fitting them into a series and pick images based on my measurement of strong visual impact.

Since I will be based in Singapore after graduation, I naturally picked three images from my pre-enrolment to the university course that best represents me. The rest were images I have captured over the many locations I have visited over the past two years. The first collection, as one might call a series, is one that is true to my native style: vibrant colours and high detail elements. The second collection was less vibrant and more of the opposite direction I have explored over the past two years of my course. Other images that were somewhere in between were not impactful enough and did not make it into my top list of images for portfolio prints.



I initially want to print all my thumbnail proofs as postcards. I figured that since I shoot a lot, it made more sense to me to make them into postcards and sell them away if not needed than to print the whole bulk just for the sake of photo proofs. That would be quite a waste of money. So I laid out my images which I thought were postcard-worthy.

After visiting a few of the print companies, I eventually found Saxon Print, who was able to produce what I need. However, the catch was that the minimum requirement was eight copies of 16 unique images for almost a hundred quid. Due to this limitation, I now have to reconsider instead, the images for postcards.

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This became my top selection for postcards. I have selected 9 images that were not from the portfolio print collection with a mixed of images and sort of categorised them into four quadrants. Another reason I choose this way was because I could to sell them away.

  1. Top left quadrant were of cityscape images.
  2. Top right quadrant were images of mountainous locations.
  3. Bottom right quadrant was more of non-landscape images that were more experimental and
  4. The bottom left quadrant were landscape images that didn’t quite make it into my portfolio collection.


After discussing with James Smith on 1 to 1 tutorials, I eventually changed the bottom right quadrant and settled for this arrangement.

Online Store prints

Images that sell were of a different entirety to picking images with strong visual elements. One criterion for picking images to sell was that it has to have enough details to look good on prints.

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AOP Student photo Competition

For the student category in the AOP photo competition, there were three main categories that we could choose to submit: landscape, still life, people. strangely there were single images and no series. I looked at past year winners and wanted to wait for the AOP Open Category, but it would be too late by then.  I had a few contenders for submission, namely pandora’s Box and Rough Cut. Again, I struggled a bit in defining where my submitted images should end up in.

Pandora box was a series and it could be defined as landscape, or still life, depending on the perspective. The Rough Cut was more experimental and more towards landscapes. The crucial thing for me was to put my images strategically and not to put all my eggs in one basket, as to put all of them into landscape category and hoping one of them would come through. that would be quite a waste of money. Instead, considering that it was individual images submission, I could spread out my photos and include portraiture images as well.





It was a tough decision in choosing what images to send for competition. I also didn’t want to send in a proper landscape as many of past years entries looked more like the experimental types. In the end, I submitted two images for ‘Places’, two images for ‘Things’, and one for ‘People’. I don’t know how it would turn out against the other entries, but I’m just entering to try my luck out. Five images, £40 for the gamble.


The email finally came and I didnt get selected for the AOP student exhibition.  I  was a little disheartened by the unfortunate news that my works were not good enough though I am quite curious what kind of images got through. Perhaps I was too naive to think about my choice of images. Perhaps those proper landscape images might have been a better choice. But anyway, i dont wanna let it affect my concentration. Let’s move on. 


Free Range Exhibition


My initial proposal for the Free Range exhibition was to exhibit a large good one. I prepared a series of images and let them choose one image that they thought could be the one. Instead, they advised that it would be better for me to exhibit more images. In the end, this was the order of images they proposed.


The main reason I find this a difficult process was because although my market will eventually be in Singapore, I am submitting my works for a British audience which have a different emphasis in photography. The dilemma was that if I select my works one way, it wouldn’t work the other way. Should I choose one side or should I choose both sides? My solution is to find the flexibility in both worlds.


Curating images was a good exercise as it trained me to be much more critical about my selections of works through countless revisions and constant self-analysis, as well as advice from others. Identifying the problems early meant I have more time to figure out a solution. I now know how certain images fit together in different contexts based on the certain elements I need to look for and understand why some don’t fit well. Yet the skill of rearranging the flow of images are another area I need to hone and of course, this takes years of experience.

Analysis: Print Consideration

Some thoughts I had for my prints were that I wanted my final prints to highlight the contrast of vivid colours and structural style effectively. There should be a smooth tonal transition from shadows to highlight. I had the preference for Lustre or semi gloss over Matt as I thought that would suit well with my photographic style. I had three considerations of paper types and had them test printed.

Baryta Fine Art Paper Vs Photo Rag Paper

Baryta paper enables rich blacks, wide gamuts, great contrast and sharpness, and smooth tonal transitions on my images. It also has that bit of texture on the paper. PhotoRag paper were the ‘regular’ paper we use to print for our submissions. The Oyster Lustre finish is the perfect combination for my photographic style. I have tested both the Baryta Fine art and Photo Rag paper, I realised I still liked the photo Rag paper more. The fact that we often print them for submission kind of give the idea that it’s cheap and of low quality. But actually in fact quite the opposite (at least for me). In addition, I don’t have to spend more to purchase separate paper as that will cost more money for me. Hence, I decided to stick with Photo Rag paper.

Metal Print / Infused Metal Print

This print process uses Dye Sublimation to print onto metal plates. This is what I wanted for my final exhibition images.


Free Range Exhibition Proposal

29th June – 5th July


Free Range is the platform for showing the best works. Since I would not be staying in the UK after graduation, the aim of showing my work is not about getting future work in London, but rather to get myself noticed. This work needs to be of the highest quality yet realistically achievable and on a reasonable budget. In consideration of my landscape photography style, which is a focus on vibrant colours and structural contrast, I have developed a general preference towards lustre and gloss finish. I have found that infused metal prints could be the best representation of my work. Hence, I intend to exhibit one landscape image in large format metal print. For contingency plans, I am considering Acrylic print and Hahnemuhle Oyster Lustre paper as alternatives.

Potential Market Audience

After graduation, I may not be able to carry the metal plate back home, due to its bulkiness. Hence, I am also keeping the option open, of selling the print away for a profit. Potential buyers could be art collectors or corporations looking for quality fine art prints. 


I have been shooting on full frame cameras, these images would not be able to compete in the medium format range. The ideal quality for full frame would be 24×16, or A2 equivalent. 

Dimension Reference

Size Width x Height (mm) Width x Height (cm) Width x Height (cm)
Maximum 2000 x 2000 mm 200 x 200 cm 78.74 x 78.74 in
A0 841 x 1189 mm 84.1 x 118.9 cm 33.1 x 46.8 in
A1 594 x 841 mm 59.4 x 84.1 cm 23.4 x 33.1 in
A2 420 x 594 mm 42.0 x 59.4 cm 16.5 x 23.4 in
A3 297 x 420 mm 29.7 x 42.0 cm 11.7 x 16.6 in


Proposed: HD Metal Prints

Infused metal prints can make colours extraordinary vibrant and the depth of coating gives the contrast in photos a luminous quality that no paper can achieve.


Print type:       Dye Sublimation
Paper:              Aluminium Metal
Dimension:       33.1” x 46.8” (A0 equivalent)                        .           24” x 16” (A2 equivalent)
Mounting:       Float Mount
Frame:            None
Budget:           min £265.95                                        .           min £85.95


Proposed Alternative (1): Acrylic Print


Print type: Ultra HD Photo Print Under Acrylic Glass
Paper: Kodak Metallic
Dimension:      33.1” x 46.8”   (A0 equivalent)           .      24” x 16” (A2 equivalent)
Mounting: Slimline Case with Aluminum Rails        .     Slimline Case with Aluminum Rails
Frame:            None                                                   .           None
Budget:           min £375.95                                        .           £98.95


Proposed Alternative (2):  Giclee Lustre Print


Print type:       Giclee Print, Lustre
Paper:              Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm
Dimension:      33.1” x 46.8”   (A0 equivalent)                 .                 24” x 16” (A2 equivalent)     Mounting:       Dibond with subframes
Frame:            Wooden Frame                                   .           + £30
Budget:           min £374.44                                        .           > £50



Print type:       Giclee Print, Lustre
Paper:              Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm       .
Dimension:      48” x 36”         (A0 equivalent)             .                 24” x 16” (A2 equivalent)
Mounting:       Classic                                                 .           Classic
Frame:            Wooden Photo Frame (outside)            .           Floater Mount? (outside)
Budget:           £90 ++                                                 .           > £150


Analysis: Website References

Update 1: 20.03.17
Update 2: 16.04.17
Update3: 09.05.17

I have been advised that my portfolio work should reflect my style as a coherent thematic series. I digress. It is not that I am against that notion of one-photographer-one-style approach for one whole series, but the South East Asian region’s market is quite different from the UK, due to the nature of the small market being saturated and competitive. It is a good exercise to develop series of consistent looking images, but If I were to be a commercial photographer based in Singapore, the mentality has to be that more skills I acquire, the better chance of me getting more work.

On this post, I not only discuss having a style as a coherent series but also share some insights on the website platform other photographers used. These are just some examples to proof my point.

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Tan Kay Chin is a Singapore-based photographer. He spent the early part of his professional career at The Straits Times, where he held positions from photographer to picture editor. A vocal advocate of photography in Singapore, he founded Southeast Asia’s first photography workshop, Shooting Home with Objectifs and has exhibited widely and his photographs are collected by Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European House of Photography in Paris and private collectors. Tay Kay Chin was a lecturer at the Nanyang Technological University for a few years until 2015 and has supervised many final year projects in the areas of photojournalism and illustrated feature.

Though Tay Kay Chin is a photojournalist, we can see from his website that he has done a wide variety of genres from documentary to travelogues to architecture as well as commissioned projects across many industries. The documentary element is still present in the majority of his works, but he has also used a wide variety of styles, from panoramic on one project and black and white photography on another. some colours are washed-out and more toned down, while others are more contrasting. His website is running on WordPress template with small sliding pictures on his homepage and blog entries below. Categories separating genres from his personal and commissioned works. He also separates books from his limited edition prints.

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CJWadha is a commercial photographer who provides creative solutions to art directors, designers and business clients. Portraitures are his speciality and highly sought after for his environmental portraits. With a personality to connect with everyone from CEOs to ministers to the common man, he has created iconic images for a diverse set of clients.

For CJ’s website, most likely he used HTML web pages, made by website professionals. from his portfolio works, we could see that even his commissioned portraitures show a diversity of approaches, where the style in lifestyle is done differently from business corporate portraitures and sports portraitures. Yet in his personal works are landscape-based images with different styles. Could we say that his best personal works are not curated coherently? If that is such a case then I think that defeats the purpose of categorising them as “personal”.

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Lumiere Photography is a multi-disciplinary photography company based in Singapore, which seems to have a specialisation in events photography. while they may not necessarily have the strongest visual image or the coherent series around, but their experience in many genres of photography and videography makes up for it. Their clientele base is most likely built through event photography with over 100 clients under their belt in both private and government sector and this is what makes them a reliable service. As for the website platform, it is pretty safe to assume that they have used WordPress template, because of the sheer amount of contents and portfolio images they had to manage. I think as a photography business consisting of a team of photographers, this could be the better approach as a commercial service instead of one-photographer-one-style approach.

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Stefen Chow is a Singapore raised photographer and artist currently based in Beijing, China. the award-winning photographer has had work widely published and exhibited internationally. Stefen undertakes long-term projects with a social conscience. Stefen is the co-founder of ‘The Poverty Line’, a global visual project that contextualises poverty. He has held group and solo exhibitions as well as being jury for many competitions and held TED Talks. The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Beijing has acquired works to their permanent collection. Hs website was most likely HTML web pages.

Having worked in a wide array of genres in photography projects as well as commissions, it is evident that his approach in photography does not stay coherent. As a highly esteemed photographer, does it mean that the broad range of approach portfolio reflects badly of his methodology in curating images? I don’t think so. In my opinion, it simply means his experience in photography has spanned across so many genres, and versatile in many approaches. all these experience has enabled him to take the advisory role in the photography scene.

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Tuckys is pretty much an all-rounder photography service which seems to specialise in a wide variety of genres, such as corporate photography, corporate portraits, interior photography, aerial videography and theatre photography. From its WordPress-based website portfolio, I guess these amount of works were amassed through many years in the field. It might also mean that the more capabilities the service can cater, the more diverse clients they can get. It might also mean the harsh reality of the industry in the small market, that everyone is trying to amass as much service capability so as to clinch more diverse clients.


These are some examples from my market region. But having a diverse style as a portfolio series does not only reside within my region; this approach has also increasingly become widespread among other photographers around the world as well. here some of the photographers I admire, to proof my point.

Ming Thein | Trey Ratcliff | Serge Ramelli | Finn Beales | Chris Photo

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Ming Thein is a commercial photographer specialising in product photography on location and corporate reportage. He is also the Chief of Strategy for Hasselblad, well-respected by the photographic community.

From the categorisation of the portfolio images on his website, they were not strictly a series, to begin with, though he tries to include some of them. We can see that even the visuals in his series are not that consistent, apart from using Hasselblad most of the time. Yet surprisingly for a high-profile person, he chooses WordPress blog (not a template) for his portfolio website.

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Trey Ratcliff is a Photographer, Artist, Writer & Adventurer. Trey’s images and stories have captured the beauty of exotic travel destinations and the humour of the bizarre situations he often finds himself in.

I’m not entirely sure if the term “portfolio website” fits this website, but one thing for sure is that it contains some of Trey’s best works to be sold as high-quality prints and he used WordPress template. Again, his images are not that consistent as a series as his works are not curated in that way in the first place. However, this unique approach works for him, so it works.

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Serge Ramelli is a French photographer specialising in landscape and urban photography.  He uses Squarespace for his portfolio website, his best images were arranged according to generic subjects, not as a thematic series. By showing his best images this way, he pulls the focus on the singular image as a visual narrative, rather than the series as the narrative. This works for him as a commercial photographer.

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Finn Beales Finn is an award-winning photographer. Attracted by his cinematic style and the narrative he weaves throughout his work, he shoots travel, lifestyle and commercial commissions for the likes of Apple, Land Rover, Audi, Barbour and a variety of other global brands. Attracted by his cinematic style and the narrative he weaves throughout his work.

Finn uses Squarespace to showcase his works, and its clean layout really stands out for me. His photographic style was largely consistent, and he does categorise his works in a thematic series. however, in the case of other categories such as editorial and landscape category, the image visuals do not look similar. This is the closest example I can find who has a fairly consistent style present in his portfolio, but then again, he didn’t strictly categorise them as thematic series. he presented them as a bit of both.


James Russell Cant

This is an example of categorising images into thematic series. It is really a good way of curating images according to particular themes and built up over a long time. However, I think this kind of approach does not fit the series of images I am making now. However, for my personal works, this might be the way to go.


My Website


In October when I was back home, I met up with an acquaintance whom I met with during my working years. He was in the web consultant agency and was the best person for advice in this area. Though he does not do WordPress templates for his clients, it was his advice that I choose “.photography” as my domain name. It is slightly more expensive, but nevertheless a unique domain. It was also through his network that he managed to could get me a hosting server free for the first 12 months, which would serve as a testbed for my business plans.

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Based on the above references gathered and weighing the pros and cons on my previous posts, I decided to go with WordPress template. I did with content management system because I wanted to start my business small first. In the sense, buying a template at a one-off fee certainly beats a monthly subscription hands down. It would also be easier to expand in the longer run such as the e-commerce and other services, and I could tweak HTML codings if I needed to. I was looking for landscape scrolling templates and good ones were hard to find. Initially, I made a small blunder, as I choose a free hosting platform instead of a self-hosted platform. I went on to create a proper business gmail account and directed my original email to This process was called “masking” in technical terms. It was challenging for me at first, and it took me a while to figure it out, under the advice of my acquaintance.

After curating my best images meant for submission, I decided to put that collection, or series as one might call it, into a portfolio page on my website. this was because earlier on when I did it in a thematic fashion I felt it didn’t present my best potential out. I created a “work” subpage under portfolio so those would house the thematic approach, which may also include personal works (at the moment) I am slowly expanding my works and I intend to include more video works as well as my pre-uni works.  For now, I do not have any commissioned works, hence I put it as a generic category.



I intend to create a few pages with a more responsive interface. the theme itself has its limitations (and quite a bit of it ). Under Works Page, is a different format from Portfolio, where I can call out project categories based on “year” tags. Most of my older works from pre-uni days are locked in my archive disk back in Singapore. I plan to add them after I graduate when I have the access.

I did not want the work research in my Reflective Journal and Visual Logbook to end after I graduate, hence I have incorporated it as my Journal for my portfolio website. I intend to carry on updates in my journal in future, but perhaps more as a diary journal format.

Alan McFetridge is a New Zealand-born but London-based photographer whose work has been exhibited, published and commissioned for the past 14 years. He specialises making imagery come alive and pursuing extraordinary projects that become realised through the power of the vernacular and narrative. In 2013 Alan began lecturing at Norwich University of the Arts and continues to guest lecture in the UK. He is currently working on his first monograph, a major body of work on habitat currently being shot across the globe.

What I like about his works was the versatility of skills and techniques shown in his works, particularly in the landscape genre which includes the commercial car photography.  Almost all of his images were shot with 4″x5″ large format cameras.

As Long as the Sun Shines is a series of photographs that delves into the aftermath of a wildfire on the newly formed edges of a vast wild land. It begins at the origin of ‘the beast’ and the charred aftermath deep within the heart of the earth’s largest ecological community of plants and animals, the boreal forest. This shows the consistency of his images as a series.

In Underworld series, despite having multiple elements, such as interior shots, outdoor landscapes and even human elements, his control in colour tones were consistent on all of these images, that is, the pale bluish tints. Underworld was a project made in 5 years after earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 caused unexpected and substantial damage and trauma to an area in Canterbury, New Zealand.

yet in his 17 years of commissioned works shows a different side of his skills, particularly in the automobile advert images he has produced. cars were placed in different conditions and lit differently. the car could be a 3D model, or that he has worked with a team to lit the car on location. There is the vivid colour element present in most of his car images, I guess it’s his preference for the split toning effect.

To be honest, I have only met him once during the first two weeks of my year two course in the group critique session. I had just started out in Uni but I didnt know he was such a talented photographer. I remembered he used to advise students on trying out the split-toning effect in photoshop and now I could see why. I ‘d wished I had spoken to him a lot more.

Sam Barker is an award-winning photographer, including two AOP and two Kontinent Awards in 2014 for his portraiture. Sam’s signature cinematic lighting style has made him sought after in the world of Advertising where his distinctive style has led him to be commissioned for campaigns in Europe and the US for the likes of Hugo Boss, Glennfiddich and Landrover amongst others, shooting subjects as diverse as Matt Damon to Lewis Hamilton, to tribal chiefs in Africa and the Americas.

Sam began his career in photography in 1997 whilst attending the prestigious London School of Printing. It was here he lost his hair but gained a distinction and a job as an assistant for Matthew Donaldson.

Within a short period of time his work was spotted by The Telegraph, shooting amongst others, a then rather green Benedict Cumberbatch for Sue Steward on the Arts pages. Commissions started to follow from the likes of The Sunday Times, GQ Magazine and Harpers Bazaar. It was not long before his work was picked up by worldwide publishing houses and advertising agencies with commissions for sport, finance and portraiture. Sam is also a regular contributor to the National Portrait Gallery where he has 12 portraits in the permanent collection.

Sam Barker now shares his time between London and New York. His passion for great pictures and adventure has also seen him shoot travel stories and personal projects in Iraq, Ethiopia, and Colombia and Bhutan.

Sam Barker’s campaign for HSBC in 2015 shows how his landscapes were able to be used for commercial purposes.

However, his contribution was only a part of the larger movement by HSBC, to celebrate their long-term partnership with WWF, and the work of the HSBC Water Programme, which was to install a ground-breaking interactive sound installation at Gatwick Airport. It takes travellers along the 6,300km-long Yangtze River in just under two minutes, providing a fascinating insight into the sounds, people, local businesses and wildlife of the river. Sam, images were also put up with as part of the installation.