Street-style photographer: Leong Su Shan

I am one of those people old enough to remember when Bill Cunningham was the world’s only famous street-style photographer. Cunningham spent close to four decades producing gorgeous candid fashion-driven street portraits for The New York Times. For years, he was the sole pioneer of his beloved craft.

Then, in the early 2000s, former fashion director Scott Schuman started shooting street-style images and posted them on a blog he called The Sartorialist. The success of the site catapulted Schuman to Internet stardom and soon, street-style photographers were haunting the pavements of the world’s most fashionable cities – Paris, Milan, New York Tokyo – and congregated en masse before and after notable fashion shows.

Leong Su Shan, 27, is perhaps the only Singaporean street-style photographer on this circuit. She’s shot at some of the world’s most prestigious shows and for some of the industry’s most respected publications. She’s snapped icons young and old, Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of American Vogue, and model-designer Alexa Chung, for example.

During the pandemic, with travel shut down and fashion events canceled, Leong worked in her family’s wholesale and distribution business in the construction sector. There, she was responsible for procurement and IT, as well as the company’s COVID-19 protocols.

“I choose to work in the company because it gives me the freedom to pursue my dream while still contributing to my family. It’s a win-win situation for all parties,” she said.

“I had the opportunity to witness the corporate environment both before and after the pandemic… particularly during the peak of the pandemic when countries were placed under lockdown and the supply chain and freight were severely impacted. We had to think of new ways to diversify our supply chains and meet customers’ demands.”

Now with the world opening again, Leong is getting back on the road. CNA Lifestyle caught up with her in between shows.

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