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Portraits of Strangers in Malaysia

Let me share with you some photos of strangers I took with my lomography cameras in Malaysia!

I’ve always been interested in photojournalism, and when I saw this requested post for the month of March, my eyes immediately lit up. I knew there are lots of stories I could tell with some of my photos of strangers, and this is just the perfect opportunity to do it.

I started shooting analogue since the end of 2010, and from that time until my departure to UK one year later, I’ve been to quite a number of places to shoot and I’ve picked some of them for this post. It is amazing how much analogue photography made you want to travel to new and familiar places to shoot again because of its unpredictability.

To begin, this photo is an exception — it was shot at Krabi, Thailand, from my very first lomography camera, the Sprocket Rocket. I was wandering along Ao Nang beach shooting some longboats when I noticed these two ladies digging up some clams. I went forward to take a closer look and asked them to pose for me. The background shows them in such a beautiful surrounding context, it immediately place this picture as my first favourite lomo shot.

This is among the first shots from my newly-bought LC-Wide at that time. I was working at my college at that time and this uncle has been the security guard from the time I was still a student. He recognized me but still thought I was a student and wanted to check my student ID — imagine his face when I showed him my staff card instead! I took this photo with him and it turned out so clear, I printed out one copy for him.

I don’t know if you call this a portrait but I love this picture. It was shot at one of the restaurants in Kuala Selangor, a coastal town in Malaysia. These two little friends were just looking out to the river looking at the impending sunset. I love moments like this — it is ironic that in a few years time they would grow up, finish their studies and start working, and would surely yearn back at carefree days like this.

My colleagues and I visited the historic city of Malacca for a couple of days – one of them is from Malacca so we got ourselves a free tour guide! Malacca is different when you navigate with a local, although in this scenario we tried the touristy trishaw ride. They are all heavily adorned with shiny ornaments and colour crazy props, even blasting English pop songs, to attract visitors. Here one of them gave me a thumbs up when I requested for a portrait – he must have gotten used to posing for pictures!

This was also shot at Malacca — we stopped by one of the cendol stalls and the owner was simply happy to smile for a picture!

This was taken at a Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur near Petaling Street. Hindu temples are amazing locations to shoot because of all the deity statues, vivid colours, and the personalities; in this case, this young Hindu monk. Throughout this shot we never spoken a word to each other — we were walking towards each other when I saw him, and I held up my camera, looking at him with a little nod and smile. He understood and stopped for a moment; I took a picture of him, and then we exchange another smile and walked away.

I love taking pictures of babies — they would usually look straight into the camera, although not in this case! I was somewhere along outside Central Market, looking at one of the stalls there when this father and his baby joined me. I asked for permission to take a photo, and right at that moment the baby yawned! When I scanned the negatives I noticed the previous shot had been some cartoon character bags, matching the photo of the dad and his baby. Unexpected moments like this don’t come often!

Hipshot! This was taken at the town of Bidor, on the way down from a weekend trip to Cameron Highlands. We stopped by to have lunch and I walked around the five-foot walkway (kaki lima), when I noticed this man sitting on a chair outside a shoplot. I did not try to strike a conversation with him, but I instead went on to try shooting from the hip, and this is the result.

This was also shot at Bidor. The man was crafting some pastries outside a bakery in the shape of tortoises – his dexterity and speed is a joy to look at! I stopped by to look at him doing his work for a while, before I finally take out my camera. He glanced at it for a second and continued his work. I guess he’s used to people taking pictures of him and his workmanship — this could be a reason he works outside instead of inside his bakery!

The lady on the right was not exactly a stranger – she was a relative of my parent’s childhood friend, but I don’t really know her. She works at this curry noodle stall at my hometown in Tanjung Malim. In small towns like this, they said “everyone knows everyone” and the atmosphere was definitely more homely than back in KL. This stall has been around for easily 50 years. Those not from this town who tasted the curry noodle commented that it was just okay, but for my parents it meant something much more because they grew up with it. Sadly it was going to be gone to make way for construction.

You know how people always comment that the worst thing to happen while flying on an airplane is a toddler next to you? Well, this happened to me in my — wait for it — 13 hour flight from Malaysia to London. My initial reaction was a little worried, but this baby is doing really well, not making a lot of noise. His parents are Malaysians pursuing postgraduate degrees in UK. The baby’s favourite toy is not a pillow or something soft, but a casing for a BlackBerry phone. I hope the family is doing well now!

So far that’s all I can feature for this article, and I hope you enjoy the stories!

written by shuttersentinel17

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