Sam Chin

Sam Chin, a young documentary photographer based in Singapore, has turned his lens mainly toward societal and environmental issues in recent years. His latest series, SuperHeroes, focuses on migrant workers in Singapore but not in the traditional photojournalistic angle.

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TOP TO BOTTOM, from (“SuperHeroes“)
© Sam Chin, 2012

In the latest figures released by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower in June 2012, there were 277,600 foreign workers holding a construction work permit. This is out of a total of 1.2 million foreign workers in a country with a population of 5.3 million (all squeezed on an island with an area of 704 km²/272 sq mi). Despite such high density, Singaporeans tend to overlook the many foreign workers who toil day and night in their midst – the tireless men who contribute to the development and maintenance of the country.

Sam seeks to “mediate the situation” by imploring his countrymen to view these workers in a different light. With a few strobes and a white backdrop, the hardworking men are separated from their harsh-looking workplace into a makeshift on-location fashion shoot. This method forces the viewer to confront the absurdity of the situation while challenging preconceived images of how these men should look like. I absolutely adored the stoic expressions and the fashionista-like poses that some of the subjects adopted.

This series can be viewed at the National Museum as part of Objectifs’ 10 Years of Shooting Home exhibition from now till Dec 27.

For more of Sam’s works, please visit his website here.