“Tell-tale Lines” commemorates the pioneer generation through photographs

“Tell-tale Lines” by local photographer Alan Lim is a series of black-and-white photos that shines light on the wrinkled faces and hands of Singapore’s pioneers. Ongoing until next Monday, this photo exhibition seeks to pay tribute to untold hard work of the pioneer generation of Singapore.


When photographer Alan Lim was growing up in the 1970s and 80s, one scene entrenched itself firmly in his mind – that of people working hard. Whether it was workers laboriously grinding out tofu with a traditional stone wheel at his grandparent’s shophouse in Waterloo Street, or his father starting his day at 1am lifting and butchering meat in a Toa Payoh wet market, the ordinary person in post-independence Singapore was always hard at work.

His illustrious 23-year career in photography began at the age of 6, when he stumbled upon a twin-lens reflex camera at home. It led him to study photography at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, then to work in the fast-paced news environment of The Straits Times for 12 years, where he shot luminaries from Zhang Ziyi, Gordon Ramsay, Jackie Chan, Tony Leung, Naomi Campbell to Alicia Keys.

Singapore photographer Alan Lim and his solo photo exhibition "Tell-tale-Lines".
Singapore photographer Alan Lim and his solo photo exhibition “Tell-tale-Lines”.

Thereafter, he set up his own studio Eleven Photography and continued doing what he does best – people, travel and commercial photography. One of Alan’s highest career achievements was conceptualizing a series of portraits for Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2009. Alan is also the founder of School of Photography Singapore, where he aims to raise the standard of the art form through workshops and courses for both professionals and amateurs.

This tireless ethic formed the backbone of Singapore’s miraculous ascent to affluence today. Mr Lim realised that while the contributions of politicians and business leaders are well-documented and celebrated, success would not have been possible if not for the legions of everyman workers who toiled behind the scenes. As their stories were never recorded on paper, Mr Lim notes that the only tell-tale signs now are etched on their weathered faces and hands.


This then spurred the creation of “Tell-tale Lines”, which is described as a series of black-and-white photos documenting the evidences of the tough times of the pioneer generation. Mr Lim sees his style is stark, personal, honest – allowing the subjects to tell their stories in the simplest of ways.


About the event, “Tell-tale Lines”

Date: Open from now till 28th March 2016
Time: Daily from 12PM – 8PM
Venue: The Substation, 45 Armenian Street, Singapore 179936

There will also be two one-hour Artist Sharing Sessions, on 24th March at 7pm and 27th March at 1pm at the gallery.
The event is free, registration is required. For registration, please email [email protected]