Glimpses of Singapore 31 December 2008, A Photographic Journal by People with Physical Disabilities

Singapore, 24 February 2009 – Roslee Karim would never have dreamt of dabbling seriously in photography, especially not after being diagnosed with spinal cord injury following a road traffic accident in 1991. The accident rendered him with weak limbs and consequently, a motorised wheelchair-user.

An introduction to a group of photography enthusiasts in late 2008 led the web designer from SPD’s Multimedia Centre (MMC) to break new grounds and try his hand in photography, resulting in five pictures which he took on the last day of 2008 being featured in the coffee table book ‘Glimpses of Singapore 31 December 2008, A Photographic Journal by People with Physical Disabilities’.

The book contains close to 50 photographs that captures various images of Singapore. They were taken by 13 physically disabled trainees from SPD’s MMC and IT Apprenticeship Programme (ITAP) at a photography event held on the last day of 2008.

The project ‘My Viewfinder’ is an offshoot of a bigger annual event, A Visual Account of the Last 24 Hours, organised by Eye é City. The event attracts photography enthusiasts who comb the island on the last day of every year in search of images that personify Singapore for them. These captured images are selected and compiled to document Singapore through time.

Roslee took his pictures at the Singapore Botanical Gardens, showing lush greenery and the often-forgotten laid-back aspects of Singapore. With advice from a volunteer each from Victoria School and Eye é City who accompanied him on the expedition, the postcard-worthy images Roslee captured reveals another hidden talent in him – a natural eye for good angles.

On being featured in the coffee table book, he said, “I’m excited and proud to be part of this project. Photography has opened a whole new dimension for me and given me another way to express myself.”

The coffee table book will be on sale at S$30 per copy from the launch of the My Viewfinder exhibition displaying selected photographs taken for the project, and thereafter at SPD and selected book stores. The exhibition will be held at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in National Library Building from 27 February to 6 March.

Thirty framed pictures will also be on sale at the exhibition at S$300 each. Proceeds of the sale will be channeled to funding SPD’s supported employment programme.

General manager of the SPD Ability Enterprise Mr Tommy Tng said, “This exhibition and coffee table book is the material fruit borne from the creative sparks of our trainees who are skilled in digital art. We hope that through photography, our trainees can find a new platform from which they can express themselves and find independence and self-reliance.”

Venue sponsor for the exhibition, Dr Andy Nazarechuk, Dean of UNLV was all praise for the work by the disabled artists that will be put on display, said, “These individuals exemplify the determination and persistence that we should all seek to emulate. They are an inspiration to all who see their work, and help prove that anything is possible for those who have the courage to follow their dreams. We are proud to exhibit their photographs on our campus.”

Those interested in purchasing the coffee table book and framed photographs can contact Tan Zhen Hui at 6579 0737. The exhibition is open to the public from 10.00am to 6.00pm from 28 February to 3 March. Admission is free.