Setting Sail - A Tribute to the Chinese Junk (1956)
Photograph Print by Yip Cheong Fun.
This artwork is mounted on mattboard.
Down Memory Lane in Singapore:
Setting Sail – a tribute to the Chinese Junk, 1956
The Master Photographer, Yip Cheong-Fun was awarded the title, Outstanding Photographer of the Century by the Photographic Society of New York as the Century`s Seascape Specialist in 1980. He is known for his seascapes and has an unparalleled number of images capturing life by the sea and of course, the sea itself. Taken in totality, however, he demonstrates the same energy in his historical landscapes. This picture of a Chinese junk was taken off the coastal waters of Singapore in 1956. It is a colourful picture of a Chinese Junk in full sail in a sea with waves and ripples shimmering in matchless splendour. It shows the unique skills of Yip The visual effect is developed by the photographer using lights and shadows in different tones and textures, embellished with other details of lines, forms and silhouettes. The photographer`s sense of aesthetic form is felt by looking at the magnificence of the tall masts and stately sails of a vessel that dominated world trade a thousand years before the European nations have mastered the art of ocean voyaging. Chinese junks rumbled and snarled around fishing grounds and the coastal waters of many countries.
The great variety of Chinese junks, in terms of architecture and size, shows the originality that pervades the Chinese craft industry. No nation has shown greater independence in arts and craft than the Chinese, and this is manifest in Chinese junks, especially in regard to the architecture of these junks. Western nations, in fact, have learnt and copied a great deal from the Chinese. A case in point is the system of watertight compartments. The junks incorporated other maritime innovations like the balanced rudder and spoon-shaped stern at a time when Westerners were still hugging coastlines in open longboats. But then these junks slowly vanish into oblivion due to containerisation and the technological changes in shipbuilding.
Yip Cheong-Fun, the Master Photographer, had the rare gifts of creating photographs carrying a telling message with images forged by a combination of all the crucial elements involved such as content, composition, light and timing. Moved by these rare qualities, the Photographic Society of New York, elected him to be The Honorary Outstanding Photographer of the Century (the Century`s seascape specialist.) Yip was also a recipient of the Cultural Medallion conferred by the Government of Singapore, the highest national award given to an individual for his or her achievement and contributions to art and culture.