It Figures, Doesn’t It?
When you have a camera in your hand, don’t you always feel compelled to look everywhere, to all points of the compass, just to ensure you don’t miss anything that might make an unusual photograph?
This was taken on a hot, humid December afternoon in Singapore. I only spent a day and a half there and I had an eastbound flight to catch very soon. But I simply had to cover as many miles on foot as possible, just to ensure that I hadn’t missed anything in a city that has captivated me since I was in primary school.
With the clock ticking down, I was on my way to the famous Raffles Hotel and took a short cut, hurrying (legally) across the stepping stones of a fairly large water feature in parkland. A long way to my left, I saw what seemed to be people in fancy dress, sitting on a bench.
No, I didn’t have any time to spare. I wasn't going to miss my flight, no matter what happened. But when you’re in a situation like this, you simply have to investigate it, don’t you? You can’t just pretend you didn’t see it. You can’t just walk away, a slave to time that ticks inexorably away, and always wonder what it was that you were never able to determine.
So I checked it out. I jogged a little closer until I realised that the figures were actually an art installation in the grounds of the Singapore Art Museum, housed in a sprawling colonial-era building. Luckily I had my 18-125mm lens on the camera, so I was able to shoot the scene from across the wide thoroughfare.
The interesting aspect, in my mind, was that all five heads were at different angles, as if emphasising that there are many ways to look at any situation. Just before I walked on, I composed a slightly different shot because I wanted to include the old-fashioned street light and the blue-and-white sign.
And as soon as I had the shot composed, I realised there was another neat (but unintended) facet to the shot. Look carefully and you'll see there are five of the high colonial archways, so common in tropical climates, in the shot. In other words, one archway for each of the figures.
It’s not every day you get a chance to shoot a figure of speech. Or five figures of speech.
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