In Chinese Folk Culture, the 7th month in the Lunar Calendar is known as the “Hungry Ghost Month”. It is believed that during this period, the gates of hell are opened. A period when humans and spirits walk as one on earth. What was once dead is now amongst the living, what is living will someday be amongst the dead. Thus is the circle of life.

 

In the past, local communities in Singapore would set up staged performances in the form of Chinese opera or puppet shows to entertain the spirits, as well as for the local people. But in modern times, these traditional performances gave way to popular song and dance shows, “GeTai” (Ge means song, tai means stage).

 

The photographs presented here consists of a series of street portraits of the people who gather at various stage performances “Getai”, during the Chinese “Hungry Ghost Month”.

 

Hand-held long exposures are used to create an exaggerated sense of movement and softness. The deliberate tight cropping of each photograph enables the grain of the negative to be much more pronounced, making the subjects look almost like ash and dust.