Philipp Kindt can be found most weekdays on a street bench fiddling with his camera equipment, a backpack on his back and bags hanging from his long limbs and chest like debris from a monsoon leftover on a Tembusu tree.
While weekends are often booked with weddings and family events, and evenings are often spent photographing corporate events or the occasional show, during the week the Singapore-based photographer enjoys his profession as hobby and passion. “Singapore has the whole world in a single city,” Kindt exclaims with a smile and the shine in his eyes that only the young can have, “opening the map is like opening an atlas.” He is not wrong. Between the domed beauty of Islamic architecture in Kampong Glam, the vibrant colors and spices of Little India, the history, heritage, and food of Chinatown, and the museums and gaudy shopping centers in the Colonial District, one can walk ‘around’ the world without breaking a sweat.
The international character of Singapore is a boon for Kindt’s business and contacts. His parents are from Germany and moved to Singapore in the late 80’s for work, before young Philipp was born. He grew up travelling with them around post-Cold War Europe whenever it was possible to join their business trips, but he was always fond of being able to get a similarly worldly experience right in his own backyard. “I actually loved being able to roam alone or with friends in these beautiful parts of the city. My parents would never let me alone anywhere when we were in Berlin or Hamburg or Prague, but in Singapore from a young age I could walk and ride the bus or the MRT or the light rail. In Singapore I could really sit and talk to such diverse characters, and see how people were living, not just tourist traps and restaurants.” In Singapore, he says, he gets global inspiration and connection for MRT-pass prices.
Philipp argues that Singapore has much to offer to artists and the arts community. With so many cultures and languages and styles living side by side, the possibilities of finding new inspirations and new fusions is endless. Philipp is a photographer, but now he meets artists and musicians, acrobats yogis and singers, athletes and chefs, all mixed up in a kaleidoscope of languages and cultures and all the personal and petty unseen moments and histories that make up a life.
The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions and uncertainty that came with it gave the local fare a lot more shine. Philipp hasn’t been out of the country since Christmas time 2019, but he doesn’t feel like he lost much. In fact, he rediscovered his own city and his fellow citizens and all they have to offer. Food, art, history, architecture, rivers and islands and beaches. It’s easy to forget the beauty and cultural offerings that Singapore provides. As the world begins to open up again to travel and business may we all remember to enjoy what we have right here in front of us.