87-year-old photographer shares wistful black & white shots of S'pore in the 60s & 70s

A bygone era.

Ashley Tan | May 21, 2019, 09:25 PM

Recently, Singaporeans have been caught in a whirlwind of nostalgia, as news of iconic old buildings like the Pearl Bank apartments and Queensway shopping centre made their rounds online.

And if you're a sucker for nostalgia, here's a major throwback to Singapore in the olden days.

A Singapore of the past

Veteran photographer Lim Kwong Ling has managed to capture a Singapore not many know.

At 87 years old, he has experienced Singapore's transition from its post-independence infant days, to the bustling hub it is now.

His black and white photos capture Singapore in the 1960s and 1970s, where HDBs were still nestled within a sprawl of kampungs, and urban walkways had yet to be paved.

One photo of two smiling kids in flip flops selling baskets of curry puffs at Marine Parade, surrounded by open fields of grass imbues a certain sense of carefreeness.

Boys selling curry puffs, Marine Parade. Photo courtesy of Objectifs

Lim's photos range from shots of everyday life in the past, to aerial views of the once-bustling Singapore River.

His children, decked out in Mary Jane shoes and traditional parasols, are even featured in one of the photos.

Lim's children outside their home. Photo courtesy of Objectifs

Singapore River aerial view. Photo courtesy of Objectifs

Here are wide angle shots that made use of water to create a symmetrical effect.

Children playing  at Mata Ikan. Photo courtesy of Objectifs

The photo below is of Potong Pasir when it was still occupied by kampungs and lush greenery, drastically different from the urban neighbourhood it is now.

Potong Pasir. Photo courtesy of Objectifs

Although the grey scale colour of the photos further highlight the solemnity of an era gone, at least we know these moments are stamped in history through Lim's photos.

Definitely nostalgia-inducing.

Upcoming exhibition

Lim, who has had his works displayed at the Fujian Art Museum and Shanghai Art Museum, will be displaying 55 of his black and white photos at a local exhibition titled "Portrait of Home".

The subject of the photos vary from landscapes, iconic landmarks, to street scenes and family photos.

The exhibition also seeks to facilitate intergenerational dialogue on the pace of Singapore's change.


June 20 - July 28, 2019

Tues - Sat, 12pm - 7pm

Sun, 12pm - 4pm


Chapel Gallery, Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film

155 Middle Rd, Singapore 188977

Admission is free.

You can find more information on "Portrait of Home" here.

Top photo courtesy of Objectifs