Singapore is a country free from the threat of natural disasters. In 2004, when the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami swept over Banda Aceh, Indonesia, the images of the destruction were seared into my then 11-year-old mind, and those images have never left.
Having lived in Singapore all my life, I have never felt the wrath of Mother Nature. Nor have I ever felt the fear associated with such an uncertain and sovereign force.
Hence in 2019 on a self-funded trip to Jakarta, I started in the north, where a seawall divides yet protects people from the sea. I wanted to explore the emotional connections between man and nature, and the reckoning that humankind will face. Through photographic fragments of place, land, and sea, perhaps the images would live in the viewer’s mind as resolutely as the images from 2004 did in mine.
With sea levels similarly rising in Singapore, The Blindness Of The Sea is a work of parallels and fragments, a question of our choices, and a dialogue between the tension present between our past actions, current decisions, and future reality.
Calvin Chow was born in 1993 in Singapore. He is an artist working with both the still and moving image, with an interest in the relentlessness of things, of time, of space, and everything in between.
In 2018, he received his BA in Communication Studies (Hons) with a specialisation in photojournalism from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University. With a formal education in photojournalism and its rigors, Calvin self-published Cratus, a black and white, risograph printed zine chronicling the struggles of a Singaporean Powerlifter and dreamer.
Calvin’s recent works focus greater on the conceptual. While unable to fully break away from the ties to the tradition found in the compositions of documentary photography, he longer works within the rules demanded by photojournalism. Currently, Calvin is working on a long-term project between Jakarta and Singapore titled The Blindness Of The Sea. It is a story about walls, water, human nature, and the sea. In fear of rising sea levels and humanity’s collective choices, Calvin began this project on a self-funded trip in 2019.
When in Singapore, Calvin works as a commercial photographer. He loves the outdoors, is an avid rock climber and scuba diver.