Inside this issue
Xuan-Hui Ng is from Singapore and currently lives in Japan. Her work is represented by Foto Relevance Gallery (Houston, Texas). She is an instructor for Santa Fe Workshops and will have a solo exhibition, “Transcendence: Awakening the Soul”, at the Griffin Museum of Photography (Winchester, Massachusetts) in December 2023.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
Xuan-Hui Ng began photographing as a form of self-therapy while she was grieving the loss of her mother. Spending time in nature gave her a sense of perspective and reignited a sense of wonder, reminding her that there is much to live for. Her interest in photography grew out of a desire to prolong the tranquillity that she experienced, and she describes her images as a collaborative effort with nature.
We touch on what Xuan has gained from mentoring, pacing and learning to live with serendipity, as well as the circle that has brought her back to workshops as an instructor. Xuan has previously said that she finds it difficult to write about her photography, yet you’ll find that she talks about it eloquently.
Would you like to start by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, what early interests you had, and what you went on to do?
I was born and raised in Singapore. I learnt ballet and piano as a child and later competed in sailing (in the “Optimist” and “420” categories). I’m a TV addict and watched lots of Cantonese TV series with my mother as a child. In college, I fell in love with comedies like “Dracula, Dead and Loving it”, “Space Balls” and “The Young Frankenstein”.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spent a year at the International Monetary Fund as a research assistant. My mother’s death from colon cancer prompted me to return to Asia to be closer to home. One of my best buddies from college was working in Hong Kong at an investment bank and seemed to be really enjoying it. I decided to apply for a job at the same firm and spent the next 14 years in investment banking and finance related jobs.