TIONG BAHRU through the eyes of Samantha Tio

Samantha Tio is an artist and portrait photographer born in bred in Singapore. Along with fellow photographer Alecia Neo, Samantha was the production photographer for the TIONG BAHRU shoot.

Samantha enjoys creating environmental portraits that weave together personal narratives together with anthropological concerns, while her portraiture work is highly thought of.

Her latest body of work, Table for One is a year long archive of solo diners whom she meets by chance. The work looks intimately into Singapore’s eating-out culture and uncovers moments of convergence where individuals negotiate their own private world in these public spaces.


Writes Sam, (Table for One) looks intimately into Singapore’s eating-out culture, using restaurant interiors as backdrops for monologues of alienation, individuality, loneliness and independence. Just as much as space in the city informs social situations and urban planning charts out the dynamics of a city’s culture, Table for One uncovers moments of convergence where individuals negotiate their own private world in these public spaces and moments of chance that brings two people together. In this process, I’m uncovering the relationships between loneliness, food, fate and the city.”

In a previous project, CONVEYANCE, commissioned by the Singapore Art Museum, Samantha explored the nightscapes of Asia, using slow shutter speeds to create kaleidoscopic abstract patterns of the streets of Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

Samantha is currently creating new works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She lives by the rice fields with a pet Pitbull name Nona. By night, she enjoys watching fire flies. Read more about her work and stay in Yogyakarta here.

Says Sam about the TIONG BAHRU shoot: “Working behind the lens for ‘TIONG BAHRU’ together with Joe and Christine and the people from the cast and crew gave me the experience of working in a different community – one that came together in a common vision for the film. Though the shooting was for just a brief period, this group of creative people continue to motivate and inspire me in my work.”

See some of her work on the project below and and in the film at the top of this blog piece and see the full collection, including the work of Samantha’s collaborator Alecia Neo, here.

Find out more about Alecia, here.

More on Photography: Buenos Aires-based Irina Werning revisits family photographs, to show us how time works its changes in her Back To The Future project. It’s a fun collection, but tinged with melancholy. See some of her work here.

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