Solomon Quek Jurong East, Singapore
Solomon Quek Jia Liang graduated with a bachelor of fine art from the school of art design and media majoring in photography (digital imaging}. He is currently working as an art educator. He sees photography as a mediator between the personal and the outside world, an invitation to contemplate the universal within the personal.
In the series 家(home) 2013, I present an attempt to present a simple contemplation of urban Singapore existence. Private and public, this work seeks to unravel and re-contemplate, the vernacular, the day to day. To observe, to reveal and attempt to resolve the discontinuity between assumptions, representation with our temporal experiences of time, home, relationships and places.
Solomon Quek was chosen by photographer Anaïs López
Laatikkomo’s interview with Solomon Quek 24.12.2015
L: Where are you from? Or what cities, and/or countries have you lived in – what places have influenced you?
SQ: I am from Singapore – Growing up in this country that is both a nation and a city-state has influenced much of my photography. It provides me the lens at which to view the world beyond my own.
L: What is your first memory of photography/film?
SQ: My first contact with photography was with my father, who always love to take pictures with his canon A-1, and when I was in my youth it was the BBC documentary “genius of photography” that inspired me to fall in love with photography.
L: I found an article with some photography tips you gave on day photography for the Youth.sg internet magazine, and the first tip you mentioned was on the importance and use of light. What kind of light are you drawn to, or what light prefer to work in/with?
SQ: I think awareness of light is fundamental in the making of all photographs. The choice of lighting is dictated not by what we prefer but what is best for our subjects in order to make significance centre to the work in order to bring forth their beauty. Much of the works in this series was shot with the ambient light of the environment; however I have other series of works that are purely lit by flash as well.
L: As is the case with many talented photographers, your images emit a special beauty regardless of the subject. Do you naturally see beauty wherever you look or is this beauty something you dig around for and pull up out of the mud?
SQ: Beauty finds me as much as I seek to grasp it in my photograph. I think the beauty I find echoes how I feel towards my subject. And being clear about how we feel help us see that beauty and make the pictures that I believe are important to make.
L: I noticed that the images you are showing in Laatikkomo all contain a detail in red. Does the colour red hold a specific meaning in your work or are you using colour as a way to link a series of images?
SQ: Yes red is one of the things I used to link the entire series together. However more than just that, red to me is also a signifier of blood ties, sacrifice and strength. I wasn’t conscious of the red details until the editing process brought it to light. When making the images it just felt important and appropriate for the meaning I wish the work to bring forth.
L: What traits from your own cultural background are apparent in the photography you currently make, or do you think your background influences your work in any way?
SQ: I think perhaps to understand my work we have to look at the contradiction of Singapore as a nation state, a nation that quest to be forward and prosperous at the expense of our cultural heritage and a permanent environment. As a result it caused us to be always searching for a place that we belong to. It is this cultural background that made me create this series of photographs. Photography is a means to interrogate my surroundings for meaning and significance. I make pictures of things that I yearn to understand more.
L: Could you list 5 (or more) words that you were thinking about when you made this work (shown in Laatikkomo)?
SQ: Hope, yearning, connection, sacrifice, strength.
Thank you so much solomon.