Come As You Are, a personal project that started in 2008 when I was a photographer at Catalog, is a collection of 150 portraits consisting of models who come from all over the world via mother-agencies such as Elite Model Management, IMG and Women. Some of them have already appeared in the various editions of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, lensed by renowned photographers, clothed by visionary stylists, and have therefore transcended the ordinary into what is considered to be aspirational.
Christopher Ong became passionate about photography in 2001, on top of New York’s World Trade Center just before the 9/11 attacks, when he took his first photograph. Studying communications in Melbourne two years later, he became a founding member of the Lomographic Society of Melbourne. He exhibited at minor art galleries and won two community awards for his work on street photography. Returning to Singapore in 2005, Ong began shooting portraits for a year, before working at National University of Singapore’s Centre For the Arts (CFA) and shooting the 2008 NUS Arts Festival campaign images—the first and only year in which original work was used. This marked the beginning of his career as a photographer. After working at a creative agency called Tuber Productions as a staff photographer for three years, Ong left in 2011 to work as an independent photographer in the areas of fashion, art and design.