Using a Webcam, the photographer and visual artist made live recordings of his family, transmitted the images via Skype and projected them into his New York living space. His wife, Elin Tew, then photographed him next to his virtual clan for a modern-day take on an old tradition.
Formal family portraits, often snapped in a studio, are common in Singapore, and Clang says he wanted to find a creative way to preserve the practice for the many Singaporean families separated when members, like him, go to live and work abroad.
"This is how families, dis(membered) through time and space, can be re(membered) and made whole again through the use of a third space, a site that is able to reassemble them together within the photographic space that we call a family portrait," Clang says in an artist's statement.
Here, Jessie Leong, her daughter Megan Marsh, and pooches, all based in Hong Kong, pose with family back in Singapore. They are (back row from left) Brandon Wong and Jessie's sister Belinda Leong, brother Donald Leong, and (front row, from left) Donald's daughter Jeanette Leong and parents Helen Ang and Robert Leong.
Clang -- who has shot commercial photos for clients including AT&T, Boost Mobile, IBM, eBay, and Nokia -- often focuses his personal work on themes of proximity and distance. The complete "Being Together" series of 40 images will be exhibited during Clang's solo show at the National Museum of Singapore in early 2013.
Alexia, an investment adviser, has lived in Paris since 1999. Her daughter was educated in Europe but moved back to Singapore to take a job as an account executive. Also pictured is Alexia's partner, Pierre de Fouquet.
"Drawing upon my own experiences of being separated from my family as a New York-based Singaporean," John Clang says, "this work documents and examines our condition of new-wave diaspora -- Singaporean families of various races and ethnicities grappling with the same predicament of separation through time and space."
Here, Krishnan poses with (from left) his sister Maligah Krishnan, mom Anjemmal Krishnan, niece Maya Nirasawa Thevar, sister-in-law Tokiko Nirasawa, nephew Asuka Nirasawa Thevar, and brother K Veerapandiyan.
"Being Together" doesn't mark the first time the New York-based photographer and visual artist has focused on his Singaporean family, and specifically themes of memory, identity, and the longing of a son living overseas. In the series "Erasure," for example, Clang painstakingly fades images of his aging parents "as a graphic portrayal of how life quietly empties itself from them."