The Art of Botanical Portraiture

Better Photography|January 2020

The Art of Botanical Portraiture
Shannon Heng gives you a glimpse into his intimate botanical portraits, and the thought process behind it.
Shannon Heng

Several years ago, I was invited to give a talk at a regional photography event on the theme “What you are best at”. This simple statement set me up in a conundrum of self-appraisal. After much thought, my answer came as a resounding no... Good, maybe, but I definitely was not the best. The medium being as diverse as it is, learning never ceases, and the more you learn, you begin to realise how less you know. So, what am I best at? Instead of cracking my head over the question, I am going to list down the things that I am good at based on my photographic experiences.

I’ve always had a vivid imagination. I enacted scenes of battles and fantasy on paper with crayons, which fascinated and confused my parents in equal measure. And like all supportive Asian parents, I ended up with a degree in Computer Engineering. On the contrary, this stereotypical and linear educational approach provided several silver linings. One of them was the inculcation of a vigorous engineering design process that gave me the skill set to channel my imagination into coherent artistic ideas, with photography becoming my preferred medium of expression. With the same engineering approach, I focused on the pursuit of good craftsmanship, with a belief that a strong foundation in photography is the key to overcoming any challenges when articulating ideas.

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January 2020