Nguan

“I’m doing more for the country’s image overseas than our tourist promotion board,” says the photographer Nguan. “I’m a better liar than they are.”

Singapore looks like a pastel-tinted dreamscape of brutalism and loneliness, with an occasional flower or rainbow mixed in, through the lens of Nguan.

Born and raised in the city-state of 5.4 million people, Nguan captures his birthplace like no one else. “I was looking for an original way to present the city,” he tells CityLab. “I decided on a look that made every setting appear like a painted theatrical set.”

Like Cheuk-ning Chung’s portrayal of life in Hong Kong’s estates, Nguan is drawn to concrete towers and lonely strangers. “I like the monolithic, cold, brutalist structures the best,” he says. “I can romanticize them; they give me more to do.” As dark as that sounds, his use of color provides an odd sense of comfort in each frame. Once you start scrolling through his Instagram it’s hard to stop. And he knows it.

“I’m doing more for the country’s image overseas than our tourist promotion board,” says Nguan. “I’m a better liar than they are.”

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of a woman on a SkyTrain car its way to the airport in Vancouver, British Columbia.
    Transportation

    In the City That Ride-Hailing Forgot, Change Is Coming

    Fears of congestion and a powerful taxi lobby have long kept ride-hailing apps out of this transit-friendly British Columbia city. That’s about to change.  

  2. Life

    American Migration Patterns Should Terrify the GOP

    Millennial movers have hastened the growth of left-leaning metros in southern red states such as Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. It could be the biggest political story of the 2020s.

  3. A photo of a homeless man on the streets of Los Angeles, California
    Equity

    L.A. Wanted to Use This Building as a Shelter. Now Trump Does Too.

    Los Angeles homeless providers were rebuffed when they asked to use the Hawthorne Federal Building, which the White House is eyeing to relocate Skid Row residents.

  4. a photo of a bike lane in Boulder, Colorado.
    Transportation

    Why Boulder Blocked Electric Scooters

    The famously bike-friendly Colorado city has some of the best cycling infrastructure in North America. But electric scooters still aren’t welcome to use it.

  5. Equity

    No One's Very Good at Correctly Identifying Gentrification

    A new study suggests there's a gap between how researchers think about gentrification and what journalists are telling the public.

×