The past weekend has been a superbly hectic, yet unusually exciting at the same time. About a couple of weeks ago, Ian from Sydney, Australia emailed me, telling me that he was coming over to Malaysia for the first time, and stopping over at Kuala Lumpur. He requested to join in one of my weekly "shutter therapy" sessions. I have had readers who contacted me through my blog or email and asked to join my street shooting routines, but they were all local Malaysians. This was the first time I had a request from outside the country, and boy was I thrilled !!
All images in this entry were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Olympus Zuiko Lens 25mm F2.8 pancake
Ian and Magge, all the way from Sydney, Australia.
Ian shoots with Olympus DSLR system.
Ian arrived on Saturday morning, hence I only managed to catch up with him on Saturday afternoon briefly, because I have pre-arranged plans for the rest of the day. We made plans to shoot on Sunday morning instead. Initially I thought of bringing Ian and his lovely wife, Maggie to the "touristy" places, such as the ChinaTown (which we locals call it Petaling Street), Bukit Bintang area and leading up to Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) where the Petronas Twin Towers are located. Nonetheless, a great friend of mine, Frederick reminded me that those are usual tourist spots that anyone from anywhere can explore on their own, and my guidance and help in those areas are actually not necessary. Frederick reminded me why Ian wanted to meet up in the first place: to join me in my shutter therapy sessions. To be able to witness and shoot at the same time the streets and the locations where I usually find my subjects, as I have blogged religiously on this blog every single week for the past year without fail. I have talked to Ian and what he and Maggie wanted was to experience the local culture, see the local people doing their everyday activities, and basically want to "smell and taste" the streets. They have no preference of locations in particular, but in the end I decided to bring them to one of my favourite street hunting ground: Pudu.
Why Pudu? If you have followed my Olympus Gear Review history, dating back to the E-5, then the E-P3 and most recently the E-M5, I have brought all the three cameras to Pudu for testing and shooting. The place is just so full of activities, and the people there were very friendly. It was a dominantly Chinese community area, with many old shops (not very well maintained, as pointed out by Maggie) and basically the area is very free from "tourist" activities. You will not find it in one of the "must visit" brochures or promotional medias. It is not exactly a recommended place for your Kuala Lumpur tour, but I can tell you, this is the place where the locals are at their most natural state, doing what they do. That is the reason I love this place, the photographs are honest, and straightforward. The subjects are very friendly and willing to have their photographs taken, and everything just appears very real. Something that I have learned from my readers who commented on my recent photography work, they seemed to be "unpretentious". Sometimes, I think Frederick is a genius, and thats what friends are for, to keep us and our thoughts in check.
Legs and Whells
Birds in Buckets
Cat on a Plank
how Malaysians Dry Cloths
I want THAT one
How the street is being kept clean
Kelvin and his X-Pro 1
Ian, attacking Pudu with 12-60mm.
Kopitiam Culture 2
Bathing the Car
Fred and his Weapon of choice
We started shooting at Pudu Plaza, walking towards the Wet Open Air Market. We ended our shooting at Jalan Pasar, some sort of a flea market. It was indeed an eye opener to Ian and Maggie. Ian just had so much to photograph, and he practically stopped at every corner and turn and make that snap happen on his camera. He was shooting with the same camera as I did: Olympus DSLR E-5, and he had brought along some very beautiful lenses: 11-22mm F2.8-3.5, 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 and of course the 50mm F2 macro. We attacked the people on the streets as well, and I told Ian that the people there are very approachable and friendly. We had no issues going close and got very nice close up portraits. Besides portraits of beautiful local Malaysians, I am sure Ian found many interesting subjects on the Pudu streets as well: local food, some local goods, and even unusual animals on sale at Jalan Pasar such as baby tortoise and birds. That is why Pudu is such a great place for photography: you get to experience the local culture without being tainted by tourism influences.
I wish I could have stayed with Ian and Maggie for the rest of the day, but I had important appointments in the afternoon. I sure hope Ian has enjoyed himself, and from what he told me, he has got many wonderful images. It was indeed a great experience being a "tour guide" for the morning, and have vistitors from other country shooting alongside me on the streets. Indeed, photography is an international language that knows no barriers, and connects everyone with an invisible thread that runs through our passion.
After street photography, we actually stopped by YL Camera at Pudu Plaza, to do a little shopping for camera accessories.
Fred trying on the bazuka
Self poisoning: 18mm lens for X-Pro 1
I personally did not shoot much for this session, because my priority is to make sure my guests for the morning are safe (can't be too careful, because we were wandering off the usual popularly visited areas). Also, I spent most of my time explaining and introducing Ian and Maggie to our local Malaysian culture as we walked along the streets. Dear friends Kelvin Ng and Frederick were also with us for the morning. Whenever I found opportunities, I clicked my camera away. Therefore, the quality of my photographs from this session may not be on par
Tomorrow (Wedsneday) is a public holiday, a much needed holiday I must say. That means, MORE shutter therapy !!