February 2012 Archives
There are many things Petaling Street here in Kuala Lumpur is famous for. Knockoff hand bags and belts, pirated DVDs, fruits of every kind, foods of every kind. And then there is the venerable chestnut stall. Shiny brown chestnuts heaped in high mounds, waiting for their turn to be roasted. Then, of course, is the roaster itself. Spinning and spinning, slowly making the chestnut such a wonderfully tasty treat. The very best nuts crumble and melt in the mouth at the first bite, like gorgeously rich textured butter. Only at Petaling Street.
It's just easy to take photos of some people; what makes a person "photogenic" is hard to define, but for me it's a propensity for the photos of this person to be pleasing, easy to view and moving. In this particular shot of my colleague and good friend, there is a delicate quality in the light that mixes well with her features, creating a soft "halo" effect. A halo, how apt.
Part 2 of 3, Maybank Awards Night 2012
Last year, the Maybank Awards Night saw Faizal Tahir as the main act. This year, Anuar Zain took to the stage to the delight of crowd. He belted out a good set of songs, including his hits, "Sedetik Lebih" and "Ketulusan Hati". The crowd was very appreciative. Besides his vocal ability, what endeared him to the audience was his natural ease and self-confidence. Equally at ease in control of every corner of the stage, or a simply sitting at the top of the steps, or coming within feet of his adoring fans, he just oozed charm and charisma. We were eating out of his hands, like warm, mushy putty.
Part 1 of 3, Maybank Awards Night 2012
For the 3rd year in a row, the affable Adibah Noor was the Master of Ceremonies. I think what makes her so good is her ability to build an instant rapport with the crowd, even with people who are seeing her for the first time, even for people who have seen her many times before. Fresh, able to remain constantly relevant -- that's a God-given talent, uncommonly delightful.
I believe that the brain is a computer. It receives and processes and stores data in a similar way a computer does. I've heard that a bunch of scientists somewhere are trying to invent a computer that recreates the manner in which a brain works exactly. But unlike humans, computers do not have expressions or faces. Yet.
While a corner to corner photo in razor sharp focus has it's appeal, the distinctively soft, creamy and dreamy bokeh you can find in shots like the one here of Mia can be fantastically attractive as well. Just focus on the eyes, snap and let the physics of light and depth of field work their magic. Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm f1.4, with only available light.
I've spent the last 10 minutes looking at this blank screen trying to describe the way this photo makes me feel. Every time i start a sentence i hardly get 10 words down before i delete it all and start over, on a different tack. It's made me realize that it's really difficult to describe the truest form of love -- the type that you have for your child. I'm going to stop trying now, and let this picture speak for me instead. Love you, son.
Children are not yet conditioned to hide their emotions. When they are hungry, they will cry. When they have poop in their pants, they will cry. When they fall down and scrape their knees, they will cry. Adults take this minor irritants on the chin with stoic expression. Even when they are dropped behind a set of bars.
I'm reminded of those T-Shirts that say, "I went to Hawaii and all i got was this T-Shirt". That's exactly how i feel. I spent 3 hours last night, shooting photographs at the Malaysian Social Media Week 2012 concert, and all i got was this photo. It's not that the lighting was bad, or the subjects difficult. For some reason, i was just not feeling the mojo, and when that happens, nothing does. If you get my meaning. At least, the music was good.
The cousin (?) of an ex-boss, there is something distinctively pleasing about his face; there is symmetry there. A hint of playfulness in the smile, and the rugged assumption of a thin, stubbly beard. Intelligent eyes, and if feng shui is to be believed, a rather prominently rounded nose that indicates a "wealthy river" in this man's present or future.
Convergence occurs when many elements combine to make a whole that is greater than it's parts. In technology terms, it means making less do more, combining the function of several gadgets into a single item that does everything that the individual items do, and in some cases, does it even better. Such is the cases with the iPhone 4S, and it's amazing camera.
I've always had a thing for elegant hands. And just as the eyes are the soul of the face, so are the fingers to the hands. Some professions sculpt hands into works of art. Or is it the other way around where some hands sculpt their professions? One such art is the art of music, playing the piano in particular. The graceful flow of fingers over ivory notes, bringing out majesty, emotion and power. Yes, indeed. Does art make elegance, or does elegance make the art?
Part 3 of 3, Cameron Highlands, 2012
Visiting the BOH Tea Farm at Cameron Highlands was an inspiring experience. Hundreds of acres, stretching across rolling hills as far as the eye could see. Tea tea tea. To keep things humming along, were an army of Indian workers. The ones i met were about to start their daily chore of spraying insecticide on the tea. They were happy, laughing and talking amongst themselves in a carefree manner. Carefully mixing the chemicals for their task, it was obvious they took pride in their task.
Part 2 of 3, Cameron Highlands, 2012
Sitting atop a hill along the windy road just after Brinchang, is Raju's Strawberry Farm. It's been run for years by a man, named Raju (obviously), and sprawls across several acres, over slopping hill tops. The strawberries were still young and green when i visited, but already quite plump in size. Raju himself runs the store, which was busy that day. Customers formed a long line to buy his famous strawberries. Sour sweet, large blood red diamonds, some the size of your fist. He generally spreads fresh whipped cream over them, topped with raw honey before serving. Simply divine.
Part 1 of 3, Cameron Highlands, 2012
The night air was cool, almost frostily so. It felt like a cold spring day in Sydney Harbour. But, this was Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. 2000m above sea level. What do you do when you're cold and hungry? Ayam golek madu, honeyed slow roasted chicken, is the answer! Sold at the night market, Brinchang. The one meal where you can get warm just waiting for it to be cooked.
Part 3 of 3, Thaipusam in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Otherwise known as the kavadi. No photoset of Thaipusam is complete without a photo of a devotee with his kavadi, his burden. His offering in exchange for the granting of his prayers to the Lord Murugan. Heavy and unwieldy as they may be, they seem as light as a feather for the devout. No pain, no blood, no distance too far to carry.
Part 2 of 3, Thaipusam in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This photo almost got pushed into the reject bin, but it grew on me the more times i looked at it. So many problems with the composition -- the haunting stare of the little girl is too far away, it's way too busy with too many points of interest, the foreground and background don't seem well defined. Where does this photo "begin"? Then i started looking into it with context, the setting, the people, the chaos caused by both and common interactivity between them with the rubbish all over. The juxtaposition of the human fallout and the sobriety of the religious event.
Part 1 of 3, Thaipusam in Kuala Lumpur, 2012
The expressions on the faces of devotees who bear the kavadi during the festival change rapidly during the day. From anger, to tears, to sadness, to happiness, to crazed eye bulging explosions. The burden of the kavadi, the pain, the incessant drum beats, the smoking of raw cigars -- it puts them into a trance.