Singapore Shopaholic: Thirtysix and Peek!

I was introduced to photography the “old-fashioned” way, with a Canon AE-1 fitted with a 50mm f/1.8 lens, rolls of 200 and 400 ISO black and white film, sheets of paper, and a copy of Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual by Henry Horenstein.

I was partial to slide film and particularly loved how silent and meditative the darkroom was. But I put aside my analogue SLR for a digital one a few years ago.

Recently, however, given the my new-found interest in social media and the relative low-cost of a plastic, medium format camera, such as the Holga or the Diana, I have been asking myself: Should I return to my analogue roots?

o o o o o

It seems Singapore has fully embraced the analogue photography/lifestyle trend. I frequently see shutterbugs with a dSLR slung over one shoulder and a toy camera over the other. Two boutiques I’ve discovered during my city walks:

Thirtysix, a tiny shop tucked away in Sunshine Plaza, is owned by Cindy Tan and Jimmy Phua, founders of a regional online Lomography community, LomotionSG, and 8storeytree, a camera and rare film e-tailer. The store houses a wide array of cameras, accessories, and hard-to-find film. When I asked Cindy why she thought so many photographers, especially young photographers, were now experimenting with film, she said, “There’s no surprise [with digital photography]. It’s that sense of anticipation, of not knowing what will develop, that keeps people coming back for more.”

Peek!, on Armenian Street, opened a few months ago. This airy, quirky, retail space is for “anyone, of any age, who wants to try their hand at analogue photography,” said co-owner Joanne Lim. Peek! is committed to making analogue photography accessible: the store has an exhibition space (the Peek! Workspace) and Joanne and her team have organized a number of photo-taking excursions, such as a scavenger hunt this Saturday, in the hopes of bringing together like-minded individuals.

P.S. Both Cindy and Joanne recommend the Holga 135 (SG$75-SG$80) or the Diana F+ (SG$170-SG$180) for Lomography newbies.

(Additional credits: Photographs via Peek!’s Facebook page. Used with permission. Tape strip clip art via Pugly Pixel. Scallop medallion via Pugly Pixel.)

6 responses

  1. Thanks for unveiling this new find. I’ve been interested in photography for a while and thinking of experimenting with new hardware.

  2. Just on time! I have been thinking of my NIKON analog camera for a while. It’s in a drawer, alone and abandoned. I am not very good at learning how to use it though (or would you call me lazy?) and I have always wanted to learn how to develop my own film. Next possible class after book binding?

  3. As an analogue photographer, these places are no strangers to me cos I visit them all the time. I’m in the process of documenting other places that sell film, old school cameras and the likes. The more secluded, the better. I’m sure they are out there somewhere.