Luciano Checco’s photographs about the seedy underbelly of Geylang and Little India took Singaporeans by storm. It was a sight that you won’t get to see on mainstream media or even the uncut version of 50 shades of Grey. His pictures showed the real deal happening in our squeaky clean Singapore backyard.
Checco had used a Leica M9 camera and produced his images in black and white. His pictures, exceptionally sharp given the low light conditions, depicted scenes along alleys lit only by the dim street light. He revealed scenes where skimpily dressed ladies (and transvestites) touched up their make-up and waited for their customers, scenes where shady characters come to life and claim their stake in the night.
Checco had taken over three years to capture these images and explained that he is using these photographs to raise awareness about the dark reality faced by foreign workers and sex workers in Singapore.
His photographs were criticised by AWARE Singapore (A Woman’s Right group), who raised concerns about violations of privacy and the serious consequences that could follow. In response, Checco eventually removed these pictures from his Facebook page. But it was enough for the audience to catch a glimpse of the seedy underbelly of Singapore and be transported to the stark reality on the ground.
Pic from AWARE FB
The black and white photographs were vivid. It was provoking. It was hard not to stare.
For a brief moment in between this breath and your next, it connected the audience with the people in the photograph. We sleep through the night, safe in our bed, complaining about the slow speed of our WiFi. They are out there in the streets eking a living in ways we can never imagine.
Foreign workers are REAL but hardly given attention.
Prostitution in Geylang and Little India are REAL but hardly talked about.
Through these images, you now know better.