Award-winning photographer Yamashita: Singapore never fails to amaze me
Award-winning lensman here to photograph how Ramadan is observed
A National Geographic photographer for 40 years, Michael Yamashita, 69, is capturing for the first time how Muslims in Singapore observe the month of Ramadan.
In the five days he was in town last month, he visited and photographed places such as Geylang Serai for the Hari Raya Light-Up and the Yusof Ishak Mosque in Woodlands, where he saw Muslims performing their last prayer for the day.
These photos will be among many others, also taken by Yamashita, to be considered for a Singapore edition National Geographic magazine, to be published in August to celebrate National Day.
The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said 250,000 copies will be released via various public channels, including community clubs and public libraries.
Yamashita was also one of the judges of the #WhatMakesSG photography competition, which closed on May 22.The Japanese-American said his career began in Singapore, where he lived between 1976 and 1977.
He was shooting destinations around Asia, such as Japan and Thailand for Batey Ads, the advertising agency for Singapore Airlines at the time.
Yamashita returned to the US and scored a job with National Geographic in 1978.
Specialising in Asia, he has done stories on Marco Polo's journey from Venice to China, the Korean Demilitarised Zone, and Japan's history and culture.
He has also received numerous awards, including those from the National Press Photographers Association Pictures of the Year and the New York International Independent Film Festival.
He visited Singapore again in the 1980s on other assignments.
He told The New Paper: "The nostalgic part of me misses the time when there were real stalls in Chinatown, for example. It was a much simpler time then."
More recently, Yamashita was in town in April to shoot photos on sustainability here for local investment company Temasek, 20 of which will be displayed today at Ecosperity, Temasek's annual sustainability conference.
And on May 21, he photographed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife, Ms Ho Ching, at the Singapore Botanic Gardens as part of the #WhatMakesSG campaign.
Yamashita said: "It was interesting for me because Mr Lee is also a photographer. From his Instagram feed, I can tell he knows his stuff."
Yamashita also had the opportunity to photograph Jewel Changi Airport for the campaign. The Jewel opens to the public next year.
He said there is a good mix of the old and the new in Singapore.
"Some cities have changed very fast and without much reflection, but the good thing about Singapore is a lot of effort has been put in to preserve the past.
"At the same time, it is a forward-looking city. Singapore never fails to amaze and impress me."