Like You, Me, Everybody Else

Like You, Me, Everybody Else—The Story Continues

Time passes, and to paraphrase Barthes, photography is a new being of its own and remains relevant. This year, Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF) turns one decade old. Over the last 10 years, this independent festival in the small island-state of Singapore has presented works of more than 500 international photographers and organised an array of exciting programmes since 2008. Serving as a bridge, SIPF has reached out to over one million audiences, with the purpose of creating meaningful encounters to inspire and nurture photography practitioners in the region. I am glad that this objective and intention remains strong through times of challenges and uncertainties.

Parallel to SIPF’s celebration, the festival presents works of photographers with long-term pursuit and commitment to photography stemming from their beliefs, unique ideas and vision. Whether it is an intimate and personal anecdote or, a broader discourse on communities or nations, their richly woven stories bring out the universal narrative that you and I can relate to, connect with or respond towards according to our life experiences.

Under International Highlights, SIPF begins with the deeply personal works of Nobuyoshi Araki made between 1963 and 2018 in his iconic style of ‘I-photography’, including his most notable work Sentimental Journey, which narrates his love for his wife. The festival goes on to revel in Nguan’s pastel dreamscapes of Singapore since his returned to the native city in 2006. Making sense of photography’s relevance in the community, Mark Neville’s long term social documentary projects aim to bring practical benefits to the subjects of his works.

If the stories of individuals speak about life’s possibilities, Jiang Jian’s portrait documentary of 400 orphans since 2004 inspires one to wonder about life and destinies. SIPF also celebrates diversities in the voice of photography through Incognito: The Eye In Search, featuring works of three Japanese female photographers, Rinko Kawauchi, Yuki Onodera and Tomoko Sawada, who collectively explore beyond the surface, probing into the preconceived definitions of identity and societal norms.

For the first time, SIPF presents ideas and stories that we can hold in our hands and immerse in within our personal spaces – the photobook. The prizes for the Photobook Open Call are generously supported by Steidl Publishing and Dominie Press to encourage photobook publishing in Asia. Accompanying programmes include the Photobook Backyard as a market and platform for networking and distribution of photographers’ creations. There is something for everyone to participate in.

Like You, Me, Everybody Else embodies all of the above and more. It may sound audacious to say that photography encompasses everything, and exists in everyone’s life. Nevertheless, the current indefinite presence of photography on both the Internet and social platforms further attest to the dynamic nature of the medium. Photography possesses the capacity to surprise us, and an enormous power to move us emotionally. Like you, me and everybody else, we all arrive at photography, on universal and personal levels.

Festival Director
Gwen Lee