It takes a special breed of people to put aside self and ego to work tirelessly for a cause that has little, if any, perks and often takes one out of one’s comfort zones.
It is these special, extraordinary individuals who are celebrated in the Singapore International Foundation’s latest tome – a coffee table book to commemorate the foundation’s 25th anniversary.
Between its striking green covers, 25 of its Citizen Ambassadors are profiled, their stories told in personal, sometimes moving interviews that chronicle their soul-searching journeys. Their quest? To bring the very things we take for granted – clean water, communication, language – to the less fortunate in places near and far.
The 108-page book, produced by SPH Magazines’ Custom Publishing division, was recently launched at the SIF’s 25th Anniversary dinner.
Geoffrey Lim, Art Director, Custom Publishing, who was tasked to oversee the personality shoots & design layout for the massive project, shared some insights into a few of the more memorable photo sessions.
At each of the 15-30 minute photo sessions, some 50-100 digital shots were done of each candidate, with much whittling and curation to be done before the final results that appeared in the book. Overall, Geoff says “I’m quite happy with the results, especially with the images shot by our inhouse photography team. Even those given to us by the subjects to show them doing onsite voluntary work came out quite nicely. For those photos that didn’t have very good resolution, we turned them into black and white, and it worked.”
Alvan Yap – Among all the shoots we did, this was memorable because Alvan Yap has a hearing impairment and he works with deaf children. When it came time to pose, he was very game about using sign language, and this universal ‘I love you’ sign was the shot we settled on. It was a quick half-hour shoot, but the results were great.
Kathy Xu – Kathy’s cause is saving marine life, and she was quite timid and reserved as she hadn’t had much exposure to the media and photo shoots in general. Contributing editor, Denyse Yeo, got her to talk about her interests in diving and gradually she became more relaxed.
Justine Lee – He’s quite young (at 24 years old) and we felt he could carry the suit and tie look quite well without looking too formal. He did, plus he has a charming smile.
Pramodh Rai – It was really easy to shoot Pramodh – with his Bollywood-star looks and sharp features. He’s quite admirable, as he developed an app that allows India’s less privileged to communicate with their family and loved ones at very little cost.
Richard Tan – He was initially quite formal in his poses. Then we found out his background as a dancer, and encouraged him to show us his dance poses, and it was just so natural after that. He volunteers in East Timor, helping children to be more expressive through dance.
Seluasundram Nagalingam – This army officer does work with the environment and water facilities. We found out that he initially encountered some resistance from family over his voluntary activities. His family is fully onboard now and his wife even accompanies him to help with the cause.
Wee Hong Ling – All our profile shoots took place in our SPH Magazines studio, except for this lady, who is based in New York City. We got her to send over a photo of herself and an illustrator worked off the photo. The style of illustration is inkwash, which is less rigid and more freehand-style. It’s also fitting for this candidate as she’s heavily into the arts.
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