Month of Photography Asia

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Month of Photography Asia
MOP Asia logo medium.jpg
Genre Photography
Inaugurated 2002
Most recent 2011
Leader Shirlene Noordin

Month of Photography Asia (also known as MOPA and MOPAsia) was an international festival of photography in Singapore[1] from 2002 to 2011.

The festival promoted photography both as an art form and as a creative industry. Each year, Month of Photography Asia was curated along a specific theme and presented works by international and Singaporean photographers in relation to this.

The festival's main line-up of exhibitions was complemented by both public programmes, which included round tables, master classes, talks, portfolio reviews, screenings, tours and workshops.

Logo of MOPAsia 2010
Logo of MOPAsia 2009

The festival was first established in 2002 as the Month of Photography in Singapore, on a joint initiative by the Alliance Française de Singapour and the National Arts Council. It was inaugurated in the presence of Jean-Luc Monterosso, director of the European House of Photography, MEP). Phish Communications managed the 2003, 2004 and 2006 editions of the festival. In 2007, the festival took the name of Month of Photography Asia (MOPA or MOPAsia).

Curatorial themes[edit]

From 2004 onwards, a curatorial theme provided the backbone of each edition of the festival:

  • 2004: Popular Pleasures through Photography
  • 2006: Le Regard Documentaire
  • 2007: Wanderings[2][3]
  • 2008: Still/Moving: Photography & Cinema[4]
  • 2009: Engaging Asia[5][6]
  • 2010: Praxis
  • 2011: Memory[1]

Out of Focus[edit]

In 2006, the festival started a series of group shows titled Out of Focus dedicated to emerging Singaporean or Singapore-based photographers who had not yet had a solo show.[2] The first of these was curated by Tay Kay Chin. Objectifs: Centre for Photography and Filmmaking curated in 2007 to 2009.

Residency programme[edit]

In 2008, the festival initiated an artist residency programme in partnership with Lasalle College of the Arts, with the support of the French embassy. Alain Fleischer (other languages) was the first photographer in residence in 2008, followed by Françoise Huguier in 2009.


In 2009, the festival added InsideOut, a project that aimed to allow the audience to see Singapore through the eyes of migrant workers to foster mutual understanding. First launched in 2006 together with the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, the project was revived in the 2009 edition of MOPAsia as InsideOut II[7] and continued in 2010 as InsideOut III.[8]

ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu photography award[edit]

In 2010, the festival included the newly created ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu photography award. Established by Martell Cordon Bleu together with the Month of Photography Asia, this juried prize was aimed at recognizing the most outstanding photographer in Singapore who had shown originality of vision, presented thought-provoking ideas, explored new concepts and demonstrated a commitment to his/her photography.

In 2010 the jury included Martin Parr and Agnès de Gouvion Saint-Cyr. Sherman Ong was the winner with a cash prize of $30,000 as well as publication of a book of their work.[9][10][11]

In 2011 the winner was Sean Lee.


Logo of MOPAsia 2007 & 2008
  • Shirlene Noordin, director from 2006 to 2010
  • Shirlene Noordin and Raphaël Millet, co-directors in 2011

Notable photographers having solo exhibitions, talks, master classes and residencies[edit]


The festival collaborated closely with the European House of Photography (Maison Européenne de la Photographie) in its first year, and subsequently developed partnerships with photo agencies Magnum Photos and Rapho, as well as with the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation and the National Foundation for Contemporary Art (Fonds national d'art contemporain (FNAC)) in Paris,[27] and the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.

It worked locally with the National Arts Council (Singapore) (NAC), the Singapore Arts Festival, the Lasalle College of the Arts, Objectifs: Centre for Photography and Filmmaking,[2] Migrant Voices, as well as the Cathay Organisation (with its Cathay Gallery).

It partnered with high commissions and embassies, the United States of America Embassy, the British High Commission and the French Embassy in Singapore.[27][2]


  1. ^ a b reddotrevolver (13 July 2011). "Exploring ‘Walls Between Peoples’ in Month of Photography Asia, Singapore". Asian Correspondent. Retrieved 3 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Month of Photography 2007 : "Wanderings"". Embassy of France in Singapore. Retrieved 4 December 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Month of Photography Asia – Bertrand Meunier". Embassy of France in Singapore. Retrieved 4 December 2015. 
  4. ^ Online article by Iola Lenzi about MOPAsia 2008 in TimeOut Singapore
  5. ^ Online article about MOPAsia 2009 in TimeOut Singapore
  6. ^ Online review about MOPAsia 2009, Blankanvas
  7. ^ InsideOut II, Migrant Voices
  8. ^ InsideOut III,
  9. ^ The Straits Times (5 March 2010). "$30,000 prize for photography". AsiaOne. Singapore Press Holdings. Retrieved 4 December 2015. 
  10. ^ Official website of ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu photography award
  11. ^ Icon de Martell Photography Award,
  12. ^ Article about Pierre et Gilles Beautiful Dragon exhibition on
  13. ^ Press release about Alain Fleischer's "Time Exposures" exhibition, NHB
  14. ^ Channel NewsAsia. MediaCorp Retrieved 4 December 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ Steve McCurry's participation in MOPAsia 2009,
  16. ^ Steve McCurry's master class in MOPAsia 2009, PondMusings blog
  17. ^ Presentation of the Marc Riboud exhibition China 1957-2002, CNAP
  18. ^ Mattias Klum's exhibition on JamCanSing
  19. ^ Presentation of Mattias Klum's exhibition Testament of Tebaran,
  20. ^ Presentation of Marcel Heijnen's exhibition Residue,
  21. ^ Mattias Klum's photography seminar at the Asian Civilisations Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum
  22. ^ Mattias Klum's photography seminar at the Asian Civilisations Museum, GreenKampong
  23. ^ Mattias Klum's photography seminar at the Asian Civilisations Museum,
  24. ^ Mattias Klum's photography seminar, at the Asian Civilisations Museum, Photographic Society of Singapore
  25. ^ Article about Mattias Klum's exhibition on
  26. ^ Article about Mattias Klum's exhibition on Hardware Zone's blog
  27. ^ a b "Month of Photography Asia in Singapore". Embassy of France in Singapore. Retrieved 4 December 2015.