Nowadays, photography has become a widespread movement with the proliferation of digital photography and smartphone photography. From the selfies, wefies and photographs we took with our smartphones, not to mention photographs shot with digital compact cameras, mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, the total number of photographs that we are taking today is really phenomenal. In 2014, according to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report, people uploaded an average of 1.8billion digital images every single day.

Now, think back, how did photography came about and in which year? How was the early days of photography like? Photographs provided us with a lot of rich and cultural insights into the history, culture, development, changes and growth in the community, society and country, not just through the eyes of the photographers, you can also see the world during their time through the eyes of the subjects.

There is a very special exhibition taking place at The Perankan Museum, titled Amek Gambar (Taking Pictures): Peranakans and Photography, it would not just amaze the historian, heritage enthusiast, this special photography exhibition would be very beneficial to photographers (whether you are young or old, enthusiast or professional), from observing how photographs were taken during that era (especially portraiture photography) and the history of photography that started in 1839.

John Teo,  General  Manager of  the  Peranakan Museum,  said:  “Every photograph captures  a moment  in  time, andtells  a  story. Today,  we  take photographs  to  mark important  life  events – births,  marriages,  deaths –butalso  the  mundane, the  ordinary,  the everyday.  The  ‘photographs’in  Amek Gambar–from  monochrome  early images  on  metal plates,  to  dazzling digital  displays  –provide a  fascinating  insight, not  only  into the  Peranakan  world, butlife  in  Southeast Asiaand  Singapore,from  the mid-19th  centuryto  today.As we  enter  the museum’s  10thyear,  it is  also  timely to  showcase  our collectionof  photographs  of Peranakans,  one  of the  bestin  the world,  in  part through  the  generous donation  of  more than  2,500  photographs by  Mr  and Mrs  Lee  Kip  Lee.“

Source: Press Release from The Peranakan Museum

When you arrive at The Peranakan Museum for Amek Gambar exhibition, proceed to start off your photography discovery journey on the thrid floor. Your journey takes you through more than a century and a half of photography, their arrival in Southeast Asia, the early adoption, growth and evolution of photography in Southeast Asia. The affluent Peranakans were among the first to participate in this phenomenon thing called photography.

Walk slowly, observe each and every photograph, looks at their eyes, are they watching you watching their photograph? How and where did the subjects position themselves during a family portraiture shoot? Each and every photograph tells you their own unique story.

On the third floor where you kickstart your photography discovery adventure at The Peranakan Museum, the first section of the exhibition showcases early photography techniques that are not even commonly heard in today’s modern digital society. From albumen print, daguerreotype, negative prints, large format prints, glass plate negative, you can view and learn about the photography technology of the early days since the invention of photography.

For the photography gear heads, there is a display of old cameras, from twin lens reflex (TLR) to rangefinders, single lens reflex (SLR) cameras and modern digital cameras today. A pit stop that most (or all) photographers will stop, spend time admiring the old cameras and thinking to themselves, should I get one of those?

After you have finished admiring all the vintage analogue cameras on display, continue to the second floor of The Peranakan Museum where the Amek Gambar exhibition continues. Walking through the timezone, observe the changes in the photographs, from the studio settings, posture and positioning, clothings and fashion, the occasions when photography was brought into beyond the portraiture shoot, to the modern digital photography in today’s society.

As you leave the second floor Amek Gambar exhibition space, your Amek Gambar journey has not ended yet! Remember to participate and contribute your own photographic memories through “Space, Time and Memories” at The Peranakan Museum.

At the lobby on the ground floor, enter into this big and modern digital space artwork titled “we stop to watch the world go by” by local artist Sarah Choo and Larry Kwa. Do pop into this “My Best Side Photo Studio”, specially designed for the Amek Gambar exhibition and do your own photo shoot! Oh yes, the theme and props change at different times of the year! Share and tag your photo #tpmsg for the world to view your photography works!

This special and unique exhibition, Amek Gambar at The Peranakan Museum, would definitely interest history, heritage and cultural enthusiasts. A shout out to all photographers, I highly recommend fellow photographers (whether you are enthusiast or professional) to visit this exhibition, it’s not just about the cameras and gears, this exhibition presents the purist side of photography, capturing memories and moments lasting beyond generations.

Information and details on the exhibition

Amek Gambar (Taking Pictures): Peranakans and Photography

Dates: 5th May 2018 to 3rd February 2019

Venue: The Peranakan Museum, 39 Armenian Street, Singapore 179941

Admission fee:

  Local Foreigners
Adults $5 $13
Concession (Children & Seniors) Free $9

Enquiries: 6332 7591 /

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday: 10am to 7pm (to 9pm on Friday)

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