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StreetWise – 24HourProject Interview with Aik Beng Chia

This is the second of nine interviews that Sheldon Serkin has completed with photographers involved with the incredible 24HourProject, please see his introductory article here. We have put each interview into a separate article so that it’s easier for you to navigate, they can all be found under our new column StreetWise, here.

This one is with Aik Beng Chia

Who are you, both in real life and on instagram?

My name is AikBeng Chia also known as ABC in the community.


Image – @aikbengchia

These migrants were watching TV at a coffeeshop at around 8pm in Little India. What captured my eyes were, everyone was so engrossed watching the show, there was another stall assistant looking against the direction in his own ways. The silhouettes somehow make him stands out, so I couldn’t help it but to capture it’.


What city did you document?

A little red dot on the map called Singapore.


Why do you participate in this project?

I’ve been participating for the past years and the reason being I enjoy seeing the whole community coming together and share their cities in 24 hours.


I know that you’ve participated in past years as well. Is participation in the 24 Hour Project now an annual thing for you? Why?

Yes it has become an annual thing for me, reason being like I mentioned earlier, it’s nice to see other photographers from all over the world coming together as one and share what they see. Also it’s an annual gathering with friends, new and old from the local scenes.


How did you approach the project this year? Did you plan where to go or have an idea about what you wanted to document, or did you just let fate decide as you wandered through the streets?

I don’t have a plan, I just let fate decide where I wander and let the images come to me.


What was the biggest challenge you faced during the 24 hours this year?

The biggest challenge to me is at night after midnight, where there’s less activities on the streets where I am.


Do you feel like the time pressure was beneficial to your creativity this year, or did it just make you nervous and diminish the quality of your images slightly?

No pressure, just chill and have fun along the way.


Image – @aikbengchia

‘It was 4am when I saw this elderly couple sitting at the bus stop waiting for the taxi having a conversation. It was the space between them that attracted me. So many questions came to my mind, why was there a basket between them? What were they talking about? It was that moment of ‘intimacy’ I felt it at that moment that made me took the shot’.


Did you develop a workflow for every hour in order to manage uploading your next image in time?

Not really, most times is I just post what I captured at that point of time and upload it after I have edited my photo.


How was your experience this year different from last year? Did you alter your approach at all? If yes, what did you change and how did it work out for you?

Still the same actually, The only difference is my tools, when I first started, I used to shoot solely on a mobile phone. But last year and this year, I’m using a camera with wifi capability to shoot on the go.


What was your secret to staying up so long?

Enough rest before the project started and listening to music to keep me company. Chatting with friends along the way via whatsapp or messenger.


Was there a point when you considered giving up and going home? Did you walk the whole 24 hours?

No, I didn’t give up but I did go home for a nice shower before I headed back out to continue photographing.


Image – @aikbengchia

‘4pm and I was walking along the alley that I stumbled upon a Toy Robot cardboard that’s was being dumped. Some how it felt so random and surreal that in the midst of ‘chaos’ there it was, standing there looking at me’.

Please share your 3 favorite images from the day and talk about why they are your favorites.

All of the above.


Sheldon has been shooting street photography in New York City with an iPhone since 2010. His work has been featured on a number of popular websites, including He is currently preparing Awful Bliss, his first book of street photographs, and posts daily on instagram, eyeem, and flickr as @shelserkin, and on his blog,