Seenthesis Publication by DECK Singapore

Promoting visual literacy through photography
By A&M

Chia Aik Beng, image from the ‘SingKarPor’ series. Image courtesy of the artist and DECK Singapore.

Chia Aik Beng, image from the ‘SingKarPor’ series. Image courtesy of the artist and DECK Singapore.

‘Seenthesis: Visual Literacy through Singapore Photography’ is a resource book published by DECK Singapore, with more than 100 photos and works by 32 artists such as Alecia Neo, Chia Aik Beng, and Zakaria Zainal featured across 240 pages.

DECK is an independent creative space located within the arts and heritage district in Singapore. It was co-founded by Gwen Lee in 2014 to promote photography in Southeast Asia. Uniquely constructed from shipping containers which houses a gallery space, a photo studio, a library, and a café, the gallery holds exhibitions featuring works by Southeast Asian artists and art students, with a focus on photography. Artist talks, such as a book sharing programme led by Singaporean photo artist Quinn Lum earlier this year in May, are also conducted here. The library has a variety of rare photography books that are accessible to the public.

Variations of the front cover of ‘Seenthesis: Visual Literacy through Singapore Photography’. Image courtesy of DECK Singapore.

Variations of the front cover of ‘Seenthesis: Visual Literacy through Singapore Photography’. Image courtesy of DECK Singapore.

DECK has steadily put out publications to contribute to the discourse on local photography, and as a participant in this year’s edition of the Singapore Art Book Fair, they will be selling ‘Seenthesis’ as well as their ‘Journal of Photography’ (Issues #0 and #1), and other print projects. “Visual literacy is essential and indispensable for everyone living in this current image-saturated world,” says Gwen. “Seenthesis is made with hope to provide materials that inspire our educators, the youths, and public in general, on the rich diverse photographic creation in Singapore.”

With a limited print of 1200 copies, ‘Seenthesis’ outlines the different ideas and approaches to photography in chapters such as ‘Documentary’ and ‘Typologies’. At the end of each chapter, there are brief write-ups giving context to the photos, so that readers can know more about the approaches, theories and techniques in photography, for a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the final product for each photographer. There is also a helpful timeline tracing the history and development of photography in Singapore between the 1950s and the 1990s.

Readers can expect to see familiar icons and scenes such as John Clang’s photos of a smiling Singapore Girl at everyday locations like a park, or a communal playground at a Housing Development Board estate, which capture the essence of Singapore through the artists’ eyes.

John Clang, ‘Land of My Heart: Dragon Playground’. Image courtesy of the artist and DECK Singapore.

John Clang, ‘Land of My Heart: Dragon Playground’. Image courtesy of the artist and DECK Singapore.

At the Singapore Art Book Fair, there will be a book launch and dialogue session hosted by Guo Yixiu, the book’s key author; Ang Song Nian, one of the book’s participating artists; as well as Gwen. Tying in with the publication, there will be an exhibition at DECK titled ‘Reading Photographs’ that is open to the public, together with free artist talks and workshops on weekends.


Contribute to the making of ‘Seenthesis: Visual Literacy through Singapore Photography’ here on Indiegogo.

‘Seenthesis: Visual Literacy through Singapore Photography’ book launch and dialogue session will be held at The Single Screen, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, 30 June 2019.

‘Reading Photographs’ will be held at DECK Singapore, 26 – 27 July 2019.