My name is Rebecca and I’m a photographer and the author and creator of this strange little digital book. I was born in 1986 in Singapore, where I currently live and work, and I have been a professional photographer for the last eight years of my life.
I’m an advertising and commercial photographer, which also means I am a generalist, rather than a specialist, photographer.
My commercial work spans everything from portraits, lifestyle, editorial, food to travel, interior/architecture and product photography. I work with clients across multiple industries both in Singapore and overseas—they include The New York Times, Singapore Tourism Board, Conde Nast Traveler, Monocle, Qantas Airways, etc. My job is to help magazines, newspapers, private banks, airlines, government agencies, property developers, non-profit organisations, small brands, and so on, tell the stories they need to tell via photography.
That’s my commercial work. In my personal photography, I’ve always thought of the whole endeavour in more mystical terms. I know it sounds crazy, but my personal work is about connecting my soul to my camera. When I pick up my camera, I want to tell honest stories about where I am, who I am, what I am feeling. I want my photographs to connect to the deeper parts of me that usually don’t get to see the light of day.
Before photography, I was a few different things. I dropped out of university in my second year, where I was a literature major, to study music. It was my dream at that time to work in the music industry, but things didn’t work out (I have zero talent for music), and I ended up opening a cafe on the third floor of a shophouse in Singapore’s Chinatown. I know the cafe was meant to happen, because a few years later the client who would give me my first big break as a photographer turned out to be someone I got to know through the cafe.
Call it serendipity. Fate. Or simply life.
After my cafe closed, I searched desperately for things I could do without having to work a 9-5 job. I wanted to be free (I’m an Aquarius after all), to live life on my own terms. I published an indie magazine on funds I borrowed from my mum. I was a part-time DJ at a Chinese radio station, wriggled my way into writing a weekly column for a national newspaper, and did marketing for an arts organisation for six months. I taught tuition and, for about a year, tried to be a freelance writer.
When none of these turned out to be viable ways of making a living, both financially, emotionally and spiritually, I sat down, made a list of all the other skills I possessed, and realised photography was going to be my last and best bet.
I had to give it my all. There was no other way.