‘We Were Farmers’ is a photographic project on my family, who have been farmers for generations, from the 1960s till 2020. The project spans 12 years, and is also a commentary on changing agricultural practices and urban development in Singapore. I started working on it in 2008, exploring my family’s journey and resilience, and final succumbence to the realities of urbanisation in June 2020. In the process of photographing my family, I started to question my sensibilities as a photographer and as a member of the family. My photos became a commentary on the relationship between me — the photographer — and the person/subject portrayed. How is my identity connected to my family and my environment? As a documentary photographer, I also started to reflect on my position as a participant-observer in the creative process and to question the idea of objectivity in my work. My family became more than just a subject. They are a medium through which I investigate the interplay of identity and relationship – theirs and also mine. I hope to challenge my viewers to read beyond what is visibly represented, taking into account the familial connection between the image-maker and subject. My project also explores how families are shaped and altered by economic and political forces, by charting the crossroads of personal and collective histories. It puts forward the idea that family matters are influenced by a multitude of factors. Through my visual practice, I look at why family-run businesses and multi-generation households, once common in Singapore, are failing now. The project consists of archival photos from family albums and images I shot on film. These documents narrate the hopes, dreams and memories that tie my family and I together. It is a poignant reflection of where my community, sense of tradition and sense of self come from.