Alex Josey told author James Minchin ("No Man Is An Island") that when Lee Kuan Yew first saw himself on television, he was momentarily shocked into silence. He was appalled at the fierce and unsmiling figure on the screen, clearly spoiling for a fight. This was not the figure the political Lee wanted to present to the electorate, according to Josey:
"He set out to soften the image. The result is not an unqualified success: when he is not tensed up to rebuke or attack, he tends to appear bored or chemically over-relaxed and his official smile is not unlike that of a crocodile tenderly anticipating his prey."
If you are planning to capture your own enduring image for posterity at the Parliament House lie-in-state - the elites had their meet and greet with the stiff at the Istana, hoi polloi will have to make do with some place less exclusive - here's a couple of handy funeral photography tips:
- Beware family members may object to your presence, don't take it personally –– it's about grief and loss, and respecting sensitivities trumps all. Put aside politics for the day.
- Eschew the wide angle lens for a telephoto to help you to take long shots and keep your distance. What you don't want is a slug to the chin by an over enthusiastic cop in plain clothes.
- Have plenty of tissues with you; it will be hard to stay unmoved, especially when so many grassroots worshippers will be on the prowl for a $2 company opportunity. Whatever you do, don't sell three packets for a dollar.
- The indoor lighting may not be optimal. Choose a high ISO setting and a camera with optical image stabilisation like the iPhone 6 Plus. Low light situations can be improved with the use of a monopod or tripod, but it is unlikely Baey Yam Keng will get to use his selfie gear.