Visiting the Residents: Unearthing Photographs & Personal Histories

Visiting the Residents: Unearthing Photographs & Personal Histories

Being a relational art project with a tag line “Preserving Precious Memories”, it is important to us that we keep the element of interaction with the community.

We strive to do this through door-to-door visits with the residents of the neighbouring HDB near the public library, where the team sets up the collection booth. With the involvement of student volunteers, the project connects the residents with students of a younger generation, and engage meaningful conversations about personal histories and memories.

For the past three weeks, we have been collecting photographs from the residents, who we got to know better by talking to them about their memories, of a moment in time of the stories they captured with their photographs. Students from Hwa Chong Institute and Hougang Secondary School, as well as friends who participated in this journey, have been making their rounds together in the Toa Payoh neighbourhood. The photographs and stories they collected are nothing short of intriguing, informing and in fact, unexpected.

Student volunteers arrive in the afternoons after school, or on weekends to visit the neighbourhood either in pairs, or in small groups. Prior to heading out, they are briefed on their introduction of themselves and the project to the residents, and having positive attitudes throughout the visit. Should a resident be interested in learning more about the project, and in the event that the resident wishes to participate, volunteers may be invited into the resident’s home. While accepting the photo contributions, volunteers are encouraged to be curious and inquisitive so Contributors are encouraged to share their personal stories in relation to the photographs at hand.

The student volunteer team from Singapore Snaps taking part in a slightly uncommon volunteering endeavour.

The student volunteer team from Singapore Snaps taking part in a slightly uncommon volunteering endeavour.

The corridors of our HDBs may look similar, but each home holds stories waiting to be discovered - These are the stories our volunteers get access to when a willing resident opens the doors to let them in.

The corridors of our HDBs may look similar, but each home holds stories waiting to be discovered – These are the stories our volunteers get access to when a willing resident opens the doors to let them in.

When a Contributor submits his or her photographs, we take great care in ensuring that the photographs are kept in its original condition until they are returned. These are the steps that we take:

Step 1: We account for all the contributed photographs.

Singapore Snaps Photo Archival 1

For each set of photographs collected, we have two types of calculations: 1) Total number of photos submitted 2) Of these, the total number of photos selected for scanning. This way, we ensure full accountability for the photos submitted.

Step 2: We protect the photographs and albums with bubble wrap.

Singapore Snaps Wrapping

Loose photographs and photo albums are wrapped in protective bubble wrap before delivering them to our professional scanning studio for digitising.

Step 3: We deliver the package personally for scanning. Once scanning completes, the SG Snaps team returns the original photographs and albums to the contributor, together with a free personalised DVD containing the digitised photos.

And that, folks, is what we do on a typical “workday” at SG Snaps. We have just finished our stint at the Toa Payoh library and will be at the Central Library and Bukit Merah library from 11 June onwards.

Thinking ahead, we wonder… how will the photographs collected at Bukit Merah differ from the contributions and stories in Toa Payoh? Will we see a greater variety of photographic types and content, or more similarities? How will our collections in Bukit Merah and Central Library shape the 3 animations? Join our journey, and we shall see!

Till then – Much Love & Be Well.

Writen by Annette

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