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News / City Life

My Singapore: Lenne Chai, international fashion photographer

Lenne Chai
Photo: Lenne Chai

In Lenne's work, dream worlds come to life, the surreal and real blend together effortlessly and everything is illuminated. The talented photographer has been shooting since the age of 18 and has amassed a portfolio that includes publications such as V Magazine, Esquire and Elle, personalities like Lily Cole and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (that’s Game of Thrones’ Jaime Lannister) plus various campaigns for Puma, Uniqlo and more. Lenne recently moved to New York City to hone her craft but still makes short trips back, be it to work on a project or to get her Heng Hwa food fix. When she’s in Singapore, these are a few of her favourite hangout spots.

Food haunts
Xing Hua Family Restaurant
“I love Heng Hwa and Putian cuisine and this place has all the dishes I enjoy – served zi-char style – at an affordable price .” #01-274, 102 Towner Rd. Boon Keng.

Swensen’s
“Much like Asian-American food in the West, Singaporean or Southeast Asian-style Western food is a unique type of cuisine that can only be found here. I like going to Swensen’s for my fix – it seems like the one thing I’m unable to find in the US.” Various locations, including #03-37/38, City Square Mall, 180 Kitchener Rd. Farrer Park.

On location
Shooting in Singapore
“I love the brutalist architecture of Golden Mile Tower and Complex as well as the Pearl Bank Apartments – all of which will probably disappear in the next decade or so. I also shoot at HDBs and this huge patch of grass near my house that you see in a lot of my work.”

Activism and art
A personal project
“The civil rights of LGBTQIA+ Singaporeans, recycling and waste, and creating a sustainable working infrastructure for creatives in Singapore are important causes to me. The favourite thing I’ve ever shot is definitely An Issue Wedding, a fictional lesbian wedding I dreamt up in support of, and also inspired by, the 377A repeal petition.”

Hometown quirks
Only in Singapore
“It’s the small things that make me smile. For example, it’s 2pm on a weekday and I just walked past a snaking queue for Singapore Pools. I thought, ‘wah Singapore is really damn cock’, and I love it. Singapore’s pretty perfect as a place to live – I would love for Singaporeans to appreciate it a little more!”

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