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_Photo: Yip Cheong-Fun with an antique camera

Reverie is not a mind vacuum. It's rather the gift of an hour which knows the plenitude of the soul.

- Gaston Bachelard

French Philosopher & poet, 1884-1962

_About Yip Cheong-Fun


Mr Yip Cheong-Fun was a remarkable Singaporean who struggled against all odds and faced formidable challenges to emerge eventually as a world famous photographer. He understood how photography can be a great medium not just to record truth and beauty, but to capture the defining moments of the changes that affect all of us in any human situation, and to interpret the dynamic interplay of the elements that constitute life and the human spirit. Oftentimes he used his pictures to tell stories and to depict the changing times and life-styles. He also understood that when creatively manipulated, photographs can present aesthetic ideas: that is, to show us beauty in common things or experiences through his lenses, or delineate the subtleties in quaint things or unusual experiences.

This Master Lensman was elected by the Photographic Society of New York as the "Honorary Outstanding Photographer of the Century" for his outstanding achievements, especially as the Seascape Specialist in the Twentieth Century. In his work over half a century, there were deliberate engagements with aesthetic forms in the way he used photography as a specialized medium for creative art.

Even if we were not present in the decades of Mr Yip's practice, we live in that space through his lenses. And for those who lived through the early years in Singapore and other parts of the world, Mr Yip's work provides not so much nostalgia or memory, but a new perception. In many of his images, we have been gifted with that “plenitude of the soul” we might not have known then, but that we now cherish, through the creative works of Mr Yip Cheong-Fun. Few artists in the world have left such a large body of creative works. Few artists in Singapore have been able to develop such a large collection of photographic images which form the most beautiful and important records of Singapore’s social history. Few in the world have been able to keep such a collection together over the long years and changing times and through a turbulent period of world’s history.


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