Photos by Kwek Leng Joo raise $160k for ChildAid

Six photographs shot by City Developments boss Kwek Leng Joo have been sold, raising $160,000 for charity.

These framed photos were bought by Axis Architects, DBS, OCBC, GK Goh and Winnie Tsao.

They make up a third of the 18 photos Mr Kwek had donated to ChildAid, a charity concert to be held at the Grand Theatre at Marina Bay Sands on Dec 7 and 8.

The beneficiaries of ChildAid are The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund.

The 59-year-old managing director of City Developments Ltd said: “I’ve always believed in youth, who will be the leaders of tomorrow. The young, just like nature, can be fragile.

“They must be nurtured so that they can bloom to their fullest potential. I sincerely hope my works can help needy children to realise their dreams, providing them the education and opportunities that can change their lives and create hope for their future.”

Photography has been Mr Kwek’s hobby since his teenage years, but it had to take a back seat because of his heavy work commitments.

His passion for it was reignited in 1999, when he was asked to contribute several photos for his company’s corporate calendar.

Asked what makes a great picture, he said: “A good photo is one that speaks to viewers, conveys a message, a feeling or a story to them and is a lot more than a technically sound image.

“It must be able to capture the emotion of the subject and evoke feelings in the audience.”

When asked how he goes about getting great shots, he said he tries to keep things simple and avoids getting bogged down by equipment.

“Every good picture has a meaning or message behind it and the challenge is how to bring that out. The instrument that takes a good picture is not the camera, but the photographer,” he said.

Through the sale of three photo art books and auctions of his works, he has raised more than $1.5 million to date for charities and the environment.

Mr Kwek was also recently given the Lifetime Achievement Creativity Award by the American Creativity Association, making him only the second Asian among the 14 global recipients of this honour since 1994.

The award recognises creative leadership in all sectors of society, honouring individuals whose lives, work and achievements reflect the association’s vision of promoting personal and professional creativity.

This article was first published in The Business Times