Guest post: fresh and new perspectives on Singapore’s modern architecture with the Leica SL


The guest post “Fresh and new perspectives on Singapore’s modern architecture with the Leica SL” is by Klaus Tan from Chuttersnap (Facebook | Instagram). The full set of photographs can be found on Flickr.

The SL is a graceful knight – brilliantly precise in mechanics yet poised with regal allure. The five letters spelled “LEICA” speak of a repute that precedes itself. The SL doesn’t ask for permission to excel. It embodies the essence of creating authentic images with precision and pleasure.

The SL’s intuitive design is a decade ahead of its time. I found the exposure countdown timer extremely useful to gauge my schedule for each location, especially when each photograph required several minutes to complete. Furthermore, ISO 50 was such a pleasure to use. Silky smooth images with minimal grain, an essential for brilliant cityscape images.

I used the widest and furthest zoom lenses, the 16-35mm and 90-280mm, to challenge our typical conceptions of the Singapore skyline. To redefine the classical cliched scenes we’ve grown to be acquainted with, and portray these beautiful cityscapes in truly unprecedented perspectives.

I sought to present fresh takes on Singapore’s architecture, traversing 70km across the island’s central, south-western, and southern regions on a bicycle and on foot. That’s where the greatest density of high rise clusters are found. These buildings serve two functions – to present unparalleled viewpoints, or act as interesting subjects in composition.

The effort to find these special spots, however, was intensive. Some locations even had me shooting past midnight just to perfect the scene. Sweltering heat on the ground as I ran through the roads, misdirections, and getting lost included. This project took me to ankle-high mud sludges, a breakwater devoid of life and public housing areas with ever- so suspicious residents. However, it was worth it.

Few talk about the external experience while using the SL. It commands the attention of all. Whilst on the assignment, I’ve met numerous curious onlookers who’d cast a captive gaze at the LEICA brand inquisitively. And even two Hawkers (whom I purchased food from) recognized the iconic red dot and were thrilled to have me shoot themselves a photograph with their stall fronts.

There’s a curious sort of suspense and anticipation whilst waiting for the exposure to develop which I crave, and having the SL aided me to satisfy it. Up above the hectic bustle is found peace so surreal and magical. The gentle breeze licking your face as you savor the calm of dawn and dusk.

Through the photographs, I intended to replicate this majesty and awe I felt on-site in a visual manner. There was a huge amount of time to appreciate these pleasures – Three days back to back, over the course of 5 sessions in the early mornings and late evenings. And 7 minutes to create each frame.

I don’t for one moment think that Singapore is limited. Though the land we have physically is, we still have the potential, as creators, to create infinitely unique perspectives of the island. And this is the very quest that keeps me exploring my Singapore.

If you have an interesting idea for a guest post, you can contact me here.


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