A photographer’s personal project to take portraits of 50 different nationalities living in Singapore has been published as a book to mark the former colony’s 50th anniversary.
Tom Soper, who has just returned to his birthplace Bury St Edmunds after five years in Singapore, wanted to do portrait work for newspapers and magazines and thought the project would allow him to hone his skills.
“I had my paid work, but I wanted a personal project to keep me fresh and interested,” he said. “Having it published as a book was a dream, but I would have been happy if I’d had one photo in a magazine.”
But a client put him in touch with a publisher they thought might be interested in the work as a book, and the result is called Singapore: A Portrait in Diversity.
Singapore had given Tom the opportunity to turn a hobby into a business.
Having lived in Bury until he went to university to study archeology, Tom had an interest in photography but ended up working in event management and project management in the charitable sector.
Then his wife Lizzi got a job in Singapore.
“It gave me the opportunity to get a fresh start,” he said. “I did a lot of work with schools and was doing landscapes.”
He also worked for companies and NGOs, taking pictures everywhere from studios to boardrooms.
Clients have included JP Morgan Corporate Challenge, Kyle Publishing and National Geographic Traveller Magazine.
While doing that he had become struck by the number of different nationalities living and working in Singapore, which sparked the idea of the portrait project.
Now he is back, he is hoping to find similar photography work in the UK. Working for himself gives him the flexibility he needs because they have a two-year-old son, Sam, and Lizzi is studying for an MA at Cambridge.
You can see Tom’ work at www.tomsoperphotography.com