The colours of Singapore – Joo Chiat

The colours of Singapore – one of my favorite photography subjects.

It’s funny but from Europe I’ve imagined Singapore as a very modern (which comes in my mind with greyish-glassyish buildings), and while it’s partly true, the Red Little Dot is so much more.

I already talked about all the beautiful green places all around the island, but another charming trait of Singapore is all the traditional colourful Peranakan shophouses all around the city. Who can see them in Little India, Emerald Hill, Chinatown, …, and of course Joo Chiat.

Joo Chiat is a small and charming neighbourhood, toward the east coast, well worth a stroll.

I arrived there early in the morning, and was welcome by singing birds on a balcony.

Joo Chiat © Catherine Houston
Joo Chiat © Catherine Houston

And of course I admire many Peranakan shophouses. All with different facades, all colourful, all full of history and charm. Here is just a few sample.

I stopped a few minutes near a very small temple, between two condos.

 

And like I always do, I enjoyed walking around the back streets, taking pictures of bikes (another ones of my favorites subjects) and hunting colours in every corner.

and hunting colours in every corner.

 

What’s your favourite part of Singapore?

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Flowers of Little India, Singapore.

As you may know by now if you stumbled upon my blog before, I love doing street photography in my free time (I’m not that rich in free time however, which probably explain the lack of regularity in my postings…).

Some of the most colourful streets of Singapore are found in Little India. I organised there a few weeks back a photography walk mostly focused on Tekka market (one of the biggest wet market in Singapore), but a short walk in the neighbouring streets gave me also the opportunity to rediscover some wall paintings, and to pay a closer attention to the flower shops.

The flowers are omnipresent in Little India.

There are sold not only in bouquets for the obvious decorative purpose, but also cut and/or organised for temple offerings. Either way passing through one of the many flower shops in Little India is overwhelming for your senses ( the colours, the smell, textures, …).

One of the many treasures of Singapore.

Bouquet of Flowers in Little India, Singapore.
Little India Flowers © MermozinePhotography
Little India Flowers © MermozinePhotography
Little India Flowers © MermozinePhotography

 

For more images and to purchase prints, please check out my website at: https://www.mermozinefineart.com/

Thank you 🙂

 

Minimalism (… a therapy)

flower, white, minimalist, photograph, minimalism

For the last few months I have been stroke by an urge for anything minimalistic in my photographs.

Minimum number of subjects, minimum colours, and even more recently a phase of white on white pictures (with just a little bit of textures and shapes). So of course, as a photographer, it could be my current school of thoughts (that sounds so cool and romantic right 😉 )….

and then again as a mom of now 4, living in a perpetual mess (visual, but also the noises, …) that could be an inconscient therapy…. my soul trying to resist the chaos by creating a little bit of cleanliness in my world!!!

In any case, here it is….

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The art science museum of Marina Bay Sands, in Singapore.
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A frangipane flower on the floor, in the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore.
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A fake window on a real green wall in Chinatown, Singapore.
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A row of silver mailboxes on a white wall, in Tiong Bahru, Singapore.
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Birds flying in a sample of street wall art in Singapore.
white, minimalism, minimalist, photography, coffee cups, cups,
A stack of white coffee cups on a white background.

 

You can see more of my work at www.mermozine.com or by following me on Facebook

You can also contact me by Email if you wish to purchase prints, at Photography@Mermozine.com.

Discovering Singapore: Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru, Singapore, street photography

Hello everyone :-).

I’m excited! I’m motivated! I will go out and shoot more !!!

I don’t know about you but when I know that I’m staying for a while somewhere I get a little “lazy” about visiting my new home. I always tell myself “there is plenty of time for that….”. But  then, before I realise it, several years go by, and it’s time to move again. So this time, I will go around and visit Singapore, one neighbourhood at the time (and yes I hope I’m here for several more years!).

So last week I decided to go for a stroll in Tiong Bahru.

Tiong Bahru is a hipster neighbourhood of Singapore, in the Central region of the city-state island.

This is such a lovely neighbourhood. First of all, it’s extremely peaceful – you have the impression to have been suddenly “teleported” (yes, I’m a little bit of a nerd…) to a little village in the countryside. There are a lot of pedestrian paths, bikes, greenery…

Then you notice the art deco architecture (far from the modern high rises from the downtown area or the high rise HDBs). The buildings are small, with spiral staircases, rounded balconies and storage areas on the ground levels (holding charming old rice cookers and bikes).

The predominant color is white with some touches of green from the vegetation and some amazing wall paintings (art paintings can be found all around Singapore so I will do a different post just on that subject).

And then, maybe because I’m french, I noticed the amazing smell from the bakeries and coffee shops! :-). All of that makes it your perfect neighbourhood for a morning stroll on the week-end (and there is a nice playground just behind the market, which makes it even more perfect if you’re visiting as a family).

PS: By the way, do you know the meaning of “Tiong Bahru”??? Well, according to Wilkipedia it means “New cemetery”…(thióng 塚 – Hokkien for “cemetery”, bahru – Malay for “new”)…you’re welcome :-).

You can see more of my work at www.mermozine.com or by following me on Facebook

You can also contact me by Email if you wish to purchase prints, at Photography@Mermozine.com.

My Paris (in Black and White)

Paris in Black and White

 

Paris in Black and White
My Paris © Catherine Houston

 

Paris,

Just a name, just a city,

But which has made for a long time such an impression on people, even the ones who just dream about it…

It’s a tourist destination, symbol of romanticism and love.

It’s a concentrated of History, with not only museums but walls, houses, neighbourhoods filled with histories.

It’s a big city hosting millions of people studying, working, living.

For me it was first a big, loud (way too much in the North) city were I spent a summer a long time ago working as a research student in a lab in a well-known hospital. I felt crushed by the city at the time, feeling only the monotonous rythmes “metro-boulot-dodo” (train commute – job – bed time, and repeat).

Then years (a life time??) later I came back and spend a year with my family in the center of the city and I learned to love it. I discovered Paris by foot (I admit sometimes quite painful with a stroller!!).

My Paris, became my paradise for Street Photography.

 

Must Love Boats… (Manarola, Italy)

I confess I have many passions…ranging anywhere from my kids, chocolate, photography, travel, food…

For whatever reason since I was a little kid going to vacation in Corsica with my family I had a big thing for fishing boats. It became a tradition to hunt on the harbour for a yellow boat, anywhere we would go. I still do look for fishing boats anywhere I go. 

A few years ago my husband and I, while living in France for a while,  took a mini-trip to Italy and more precisely to the Cinque Terra. I’m in love with anything involving sea-landscape (with a huge preference for the Mediterranean sea – so so blue -but in occasions any ocean will do too…). ;-). So obviously I fell in love with these five villages. The landscape was amazing, the architecture was colorful, the food was tasty, the sea was very blue…. and here they were… the fishing boats.

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We visited the five villages of the Cinque Terra: Monterosso, Vernaza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The villages were built up cliffs and overlook the sea. Although similar in many ways each one of them has a different personality.

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Cinque Terra Ⓒ Catherine Houston

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Today’s pictures are from Manarola. As you can see on the pics we went there in the winter and the weather was not exactly on our side. The fishing boats were therefore out of the water, in the streets leading to the sea.

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Cinque Terra Ⓒ Catherine Houston

Manarola-7220Cinque Terra Ⓒ Catherine Houston Manarola-7204

 

 

 

Express Road Trip – Bali

Bali…

This short name alone brings dreams to a lot of people.

One may think island, exotic, Asia, flowers, colours, beach, diving, volcanoes, rice fields, yummy food …

The best way to discover this Indonesian island would probably involve staying at least a couple of weeks with a good pair of hiking shoes. Meeting people, discovering villages, hiking in the middle of rice fields away from the tourists’ paths, climbing a volcano, going all the way to the adjacent island of Lombok, scuba diving, …

But what if you had only a handful number of days to spend there? (and/or if like me you were traveling there with 3 little ones!!). Then your best bet is probably to hire a taxi-driver for a day on the road…

Well welcome to my express road-trip to Bali!!

There is a few things that you can expect to see in Bali even on a very short trip:

1- Temples

You are going to see lots of temples and sculptures. Big ones, small ones. You will see some even on the side of the road on your way from the airport to your hotel.

 

2- Offerings and Flowers

Offerings are everywhere: on the side walk, in your hotel, on the beach, and of course in the temples.

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

3- Small markets and yummy looking fruits

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

4- Rice fields (within a short driving distance from Ubud)

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

5- Hard working people

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

6- Awesome gas stations

7- Dancers (in Ubud)

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

8- You may even come across a village’s celebration

9- And make sure to relax a little on the beach (a massage?) before catching you plane!

Enjoy!!!

The Lone Fishing Rod…

Let’s be clear…I don’t do fishing….

I love to eat fish, but fishing takes an amount of patience that I am (very) far from having. But I can photograph other people doing it right?

So anyway, a few months back I was walking in the Woodlands Waterfront area (very North end of Singapore, at the border with Malaysia) – and yes that’s Johor Bahru, Malaysia, in the background.

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Woodlands Waterfront Ⓒ Catherine Houston

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and I saw these quite lonely fishing rods…(and by the way my picture on the cover of this post was published recently in Being Published Matters!!! yeah!!!).

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Woodlands Waterfront Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Woodlands Waterfront Ⓒ Catherine Houston

Oh and super bonus… the fresh crabs/chili crabs at the local restaurant were pretty good too!! (and for a price more friendly than their counterparts on the more touristy part of town).

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Have a great week-end!!

Just a matter of scales…

Like many fellow photographers, I’m attracted to markets.

They are colorful, animated–it’s like “street photography central”!!

So, of course, one of my first photography targets in Singapore was the markets. Here they are called “wet markets”. They are indoor markets where you can find pretty much everything from fresh fruits, meat, fish, and flowers to lots of dry goodies.

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Scales Ⓒ Catherine Houston

Everything I like in a market was here (colors, people, cultural diversity, ….) but two things surprised me. First, to be very honest, my nose was caught by surprise when I walked by the durian stand…. (After one year here, I’m slowly getting acclimated to that very peculiar smell, but let’s say that it’s not something I’m used to…)

And the second thing was the scales.

I love those old fashion scales!!

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Scales Ⓒ Catherine Houston
Bugis-0065
Scales Ⓒ Catherine Houston

And yes, I even bought my own… :-)Scale-8503

And then…came the rain…

Yesterday someone said to me “it’s hot today”… and that startled me…

He was right of course, but I was surprised because …well…I’ve been here almost a full year now, and it’s been hot every single day…

Welcome to steamy hot Singapore!!!

That’s probably the first thing we noticed as an expat family arriving in the middle of winter last year….the heat. I think we adapted pretty well to the cultural differences, the different food, but the steamy heat was harder on us. Our little ones even started to get worried this mid-december by the absence of winter “Mom, is it going to get cold soon?” “Is it going to snow?” (and the real concern) “Is Santa going be able to come anyway?” (not to worry Santa came, and they are getting some “winter-feel” by watching Frozen over and over and over…).

So, in steamy hot Singapore you have 2 seasons

1- the hot and steamy dry season (with occasional big thunderstorms in the evenings)

2- the hot and steamy rainy season.

Right now we are in the rainy season and I kind of love it! It’s hot but somehow easier to manage. (And I always loved walking under the rain anyway.)

I love watching the rainy clouds coming in…

I even find umbrellas to be quite photogenic too :-).

I love the smell of rain, the sound of it on the roof, …

And I love to get out with my macro lens just after the rain…

I love taking pictures of the city through it’s water reflections on the ground…

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Rainy Singapore Ⓒ Catherine Houston

So let it rain!!! 🙂

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Catherine 🙂

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Rainy Singapore Ⓒ Catherine Houston