A few months ago, I was approached by a friend with a really interesting request. Would I be interested in shooting photographs of local food to be showcased as part of an interactive exhibition in the Singapore Pavilion at this year’s World Expo in Shanghai? Of course I said yes. Repeatedly. The 2010 World Expo, which opens in just a few days, is expected to draw some 70 million visitors. To have my pictures seen by even a small percentage of these people, supposedly coming from all corners of the globe, would be pretty darned awesome.
Plus, I had an pretty immediate idea for the kind of photographs that I wanted to shoot. Or rather, I knew how I wanted the food to be portrayed. I didn’t want to shoot the dishes that were selected — obviously iconic Singaporean foods — in their traditional forms. I wanted to shoot them as re-imagined and re-invented by one of our most talented chefs. I wanted, through the photographs, to portray both our heritage and our innovativeness. In some ways, for me, this project wasn’t just about food but about our culture and where we’re headed.
To help pull off the food I’d be shooting, I called upon a chef whose culinary concepts and continued exploration of our cuisine have always impressed me. To my great satisfaction, Willin Low, chef-owner of Wild Rocket, accepted my challenge and became my collaborator on this project.