Sometimes, when I'm on my travels, I get asked what it's like to work as a professional photographer in Singapore. Often foreigners have heard about Singapore's famously strict laws regarding chewing gum, toilet flushing and are worried that street photography might be viewed as similarly deviant behaviour.
Given the increasingly zealous rules governing photography in public places that have come into effect around the world since the 2001attacks on New York's World Trade Center, it's perhaps understandable that street photographers visiting Singapore might be concerned that they wont be able to do their thing without ending up on the wrong side of the law. Well, let me just say that Singapore street photography is alive and well. In fact, for a freelance photographer, Singapore is a fantastic place both to live and use as a base for working across the region. Not only that, but with several great schools of photography, Singapore is also an ideal city in which to learn photography.
01 - Amazing light. Especially the legendary golden and blue hours. On top of which, we get great weather pretty much all year round: even when it rains it's rarely cold.
02 - A culturally diverse and cosmopolitan population, and no shortage of interesting characters to photograph.
03 - Similarly, there's a surprising amount of geographical and architectural diversity for such a small nation, offering a wealth of great locations in which to shoot.
04 - Easy access to so many amazing southeast Asian countries and locations within short flying distance.
05 - Great camera stores and photographic equipment rental companies: while Singapore might not offer the bargain camera shopping experience it once did, you can get pretty much everything here at a decent price.
06 - A safe and relatively crime-free environment, so you don't have worry about anyone relieving you of your valuable equipment mid-shoot. Also, as one of the least corrupt nations in the world, you are highly unlikely to be harassed by greedy and obstructive public officials.
07 - A fast and efficient transport network, allowing you to easily get around with all your gear.
08 - Plenty of world-class companies in need of good quality photographic services, so there's no shortage of clients.
09 - Unlike some other developed nations, there are no heavy-handed laws restricting the shooting of people in public places.
10 - An internationally-renowned biennial photography festival, SIPF, exhibiting some of the world's most respected photographers.
Admittedly, I spend a lot of the time on the road - either shooting documentary projects or running travel photography workshops in Bhutan or India - but Singapore is always a great place to come back to.
If you've got any experience of shooting photography in Singapore yourself - whether positive or negative - I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below!