Stefen Chow is a Malaysian-born, Singapore-raised photographer. Stefen undertakes long term projects with social conscience. Stefen is the co-founder of ‘The Poverty Line’, a global visual project that contextualises poverty. In this interview with artist Debasmita Dasgupta, executive director of ArtsPositive, Stefen shares some exciting bits of his journey as a father, photographer & mountaineer.
What inspired you to become a photographer? Was that a childhood dream or a turning point in life?
I was trained as an engineer, but I loved the outdoors. I became part of a university team to climb Mount Everest, and I also took on the role as the photographer. Till then, I thought photography was something you only do on holidays. When I documented my teammates up in the Himalayas, the pictures meant more than snaps. It was also a record of our own history, and it gave perspective to people back home. I realised photography has the power to change peoples’ minds, and I wanted to be a professional after I summited Everest. Thats 13 years ago.
Are you currently doing any special personal / professional project that needs a special mention?
I am currently working on a book on The Poverty Line. It was a project we have been working on for the past 8 years, and we have covered 31 countries/territories. The project was exhibited at the Thessaloniki Photo Biennale in Greece, George Town Festival in Malaysia, and was exhibited and presented at the United Nations this year.
What's ahead in 2019?
I definitely want to do a meaningful trip with my family this coming year. I don't have ideas yet, but hopefully it involves camping and cycling!