Photo by Tan Chin Hock
The complexities of sibling relationships hold a unique and enduring fascination, as they weave together shared experiences, love, rivalry, and support. In my award-winning photo essay "Siblings - The Ups And Downs Of Having One," I aimed to encapsulate this roller-coaster dynamic through a series of intimate and touching photographs featuring my own children. In this blog post, I'll share the story behind the photo essay, detailing the challenges and triumphs I encountered while creating this heartfelt and deeply personal project.
The Inspiration: My Daughters' Journey
As a Singaporean photographer and a father of three daughters, C1, C2, and C3, I have been documenting my children's lives since the birth of my first child in 2011. I wanted to capture the special moments and connections between my daughters as they grew up together, learning from one another and creating a strong sibling bond.
The photo essay "Siblings" is a visual chronicle of these experiences, showcasing the ups and downs of having brothers and sisters. It is a tribute to the depth and greatness of love among young siblings and a reminder of the importance of family values.
Creating Timeless Memories: The Artistic Approach
To give my photo essay a timeless quality, I chose to mostly photograph in black and white. However, I also included some color pictures to provide contrast and variety. The images in the book were taken over several years, capturing spontaneity moments like the older girls being entranced by their baby sister, blowing bubbles, building sandcastles, reading books, whispering secrets, and making up after quarrels.
In addition to the photographs, I included anecdotes and stories to provide context and share my personal experiences as a father. These narratives added depth and emotion to the images, further drawing readers into the world of my daughters and their sibling relationships.
The Struggles and Triumphs: Overcoming Challenges
Creating "Siblings" was not without its challenges. Capturing the raw emotions and authentic interactions between my daughters required patience and a keen eye for the subtle dynamics that defined their relationship.
Another struggle was finding the right photographic style to convey the emotions I wanted to express. Experimenting with different techniques and approaches, I eventually settled on a combination of black and white and color photography, which I believe successfully captured the essence of my daughters' journey together.
Despite these challenges, I am proud of the final result – an award-winning photo essay that resonates with parents, siblings, and anyone who cherishes the bonds of family.
The Impact: A Universal Resonance
The response to "Siblings" has been overwhelmingly positive, with readers from diverse backgrounds connecting with the images and stories I shared. With a goal to reach international audience, the book has been translated into Japanese, Spanish, and French.
In addition to winning the PX3 photography award, I donated the prize money to a local charity hospital, reflecting my commitment to giving back to the community.
Looking Forward: A Continued Focus on Family
After the launch of SIBLINGS, I would go on to release 3 photo books - "Memories Of The Circuit Breaker" (Promoting importance of strong families", "Drenched To Fill You Up" (Uplifting Food Delivery Riders as Silent Heroes of the COVID pandemic) and "Grandparents - Cherish Them When They Are Still Around" (Promoting multi generational living) and raised more than $30,000 for a local non profit community hospital, with the photo books.
These endeavors reflect my steadfast commitment in promoting the significance of family and the remarkable ability of photography to honor, safeguard our bonds, and elevate underprivileged communities.
Read the original interview piece with PX 3 at https://px3.fr/interviews/chin-hock-tan/