New Gen #1: Photographer Christopher Sim documents the quiet riots of youth and music subcultures in Singapore
When did you fall in love with photography?
It was a whirlwind romance that happened in 2012. I picked it up as something to supplement schoolwork and I never looked back.
One overarching theme in your work is youth culture in Singapore. How would you describe youth culture in Singapore to those who are unfamiliar and unaware of the scene?
I get what you're asking, but youth is a state of mind lah. We have friends that are parents, we have friends' parents that attend gigs, and we have friends that are still studying for A-levels.
Youth culture is dissatisfaction with the status quo. You're old if you're happy to be resting on your laurels du jour. The people around me don't stay content for long. After a project is released, the next one will be started on really quickly. There have been three album releases from Middle Class Cigars this year, and we're barely in Q3 of 2018. There's been an earnest push for inclusivity too, reflected in the work that's been coming out: the first Queer Zinefest happened in July, and this week, a local publication put out a scathing essay accusing Hedi Slimane's Celine of being sexist.
Who are the young and local artists, designers and creatives you admire?
Creativity thrives on collaboration so singling out one person would be antithetical. Here's a far-from-exhaustive list of people that have inspired me recently: Nigel Lopez, Raphael Ong, and the rest of Middle Class Cigars, design professionals Jasmine Ho and Miki Charwin, photographers Benita Leong, Wanjie Li, feedbeng, and Lenne Chai, writers Daniel Peters and Karen Gwee, Ricks Ang from Kitchen. Label and ceramics artist Michelle Lim.
Who are your influences?
Is there a subject, location or object that you wish you could photograph?
Send me back in time to photograph my parents' wedding. If their wedding photos were shown today, the photographer who they hired would be featured on mothership.sg.
What is one change you wish to see in Singapore?
I wish more people would understand Sharon Liew's incisive satire.
Do you have any tips for other aspiring photographers?
Keep doing it. Bring a camera everywhere, one with manual controls. Don't worry about gear. Worry about your work; look over what you've made every few weeks. Read often and read widely. Purists are the most boring people you'll meet.
How do you see your photographic work developing in the future?
Hopefully, my practice will become more multidisciplinary. I've been dabbling with ceramics and sculpture in school, and there are some treatments for short films floating around on Google Docs.