Sunday, June 10, 2012

Street Runway

I have been receiving a consistent trend of feedback from my Malaysian readers and friends, and they consist of both photography related comments, as well as non-photography related responses. I was told that I have portrayed Malaysian streets and citizens rather... how would I put it... in a depressing and miserable sort of way. With lots of homeless people, beggars, and all sorts of other social issues and difficulties which are rather rampant in this beautiful country of mine. I, as a photographer, do what I can to capture those truths that many chose to ignore. However, Malaysia is still a beautiful country, with beautiful people, and I love it to bits. I have often been requested to shoot at more "urban" streets, at places where people do not look so displeasing!!

I have been exposed to all sorts of weird street photography trends lately, and some of them have made ingress towards my own shooting style unexpectedly. I have also widened my circle of street shooters, sharing and learning from more local photographers, when it comes to shooting. It is interesting to be see, learn and experience the diverse culture and variety of styles being adopted in street photography. It is prudent to always keep an open mind, and explore new things once in a while. I am particularly drawn to a few friends lately, namely Luke Ding and Scott Chung, and they attacked BEAUTIFUL subjects in particular. Of course they shoot the streets like any other street photographers do, but their choice of subjects were beautiful !! It was so refreshing to see their work after going through my own shots (which is full of ugliness on the streets, ok lets not go there), where they showcase the completely different and opposite of what I have been shooting all along. 

Since I have been tagging along them for quite a bit recently, I have been intrigued to see what they see, and shoot what they shoot. 

All images in this entry were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 lens






I actually enjoyed myself shooting in this session !! 

It was a very different experience from my usual shooting. I positioned myself at a few corners, where the busiest human traffic would be in late afternoon, and as the beautiful subjects walked by, whichever that managed to catch my attention (either wearing something attractive or unusual, or anything that is insanely good looking) I would just make the camera click. I opted for 50-200mm lens for the reach. Now please do not start with the oh you must use this lens and must use that lens lecture. This was probably one of the most relaxing shooting session, yet I felt really good at the end of it. It only lasted one hour, and who said street photography is time consuming?

I think the most important for any photographers (new of experienced) would be to keep an OPEN mind. Always push yourself, and when you have the opportunity, try something new. Staying stagnant and be self-content will not get your very far. Are my shots in this entry good shots? I do not think so. It is different from my usual shooting style but hey, change can be good, and willingness to change is another important trait not to be neglected. 



I shall make more effort to shoot at more "city like" scenes. More photographs to come. 

38 comments:

  1. Hi Robin,

    Don't worry too much about ugly subjects versus beautiful subjects. If people want to see pretty people, they should open a fashion catalog or maybe The Sartorialist.

    Tobias

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    1. Hello Tobias,
      I want to see pretty people too !!

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  2. Shoot what you love, and love what you shoot. :)

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  3. Haha, Robin, the Pavilion area is indeed full of beautiful and interesting subjects to shoot!! Great location!

    Alvin

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  4. I prefer your 'normal' style. Much more interesting!

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    1. Mike, "interesting" is rather subjective. But I shoot anything that attracts my attention.

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  5. I like both styles. It does seem you get a more personal viewpoint with your usual subject matter and the pretty ladies shots have more of a voyeur feel to them. That just means you need to shoot more pretty ladies to improve. That's not such a bad thing:)

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    1. Wataru,
      There is a difference in shooting both styles. Working in a crowd full of people, the ladies would have much less working distance for or comfort zone. People get agitated easily if you go too near, hence I shoot from a distance to have the "natural" look.

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  6. Open mind, yes, but we have plenty of photos of "beautiful" people already.

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    Replies
    1. There is a reason why there is plenty, no? It is a popular choice of subject.

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    2. Absolutely. That is why your photography is very refreshing :)

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  7. beauty are for admiration...nice pict robin..

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  8. Open mind, be yourself, find yourself, continually evolve. Some very famous photogs, Bruce Gilden, Meyerowitz etc... grab a style, perfect a style (because of money, income and signature) and never change. Of course the skill and talent is there but you draw back sometimes and say, "did I enjoy their photos?" - yes. "Do I want to see something else for a while" - yes

    One of my heroes now is Vivian Maier - she was not doing it for income or to preserve a reputation, she shot human life because she experienced it - both happy, sad, clues to the time, signature of dress, expression,quirks. It is very good sometimes when you are NOT linking income with your craft. It allows you to vary and enjoy diversity.

    One thing I ask myself once in a while - is the photo something that will live on, classic? Just put on your old hat, think of yourself or the subject in 10, 20, 30 years from now and look at the photo (or put yourself in your parents or grandparents shoes) and ask "will I bother to take the photo out and see the photo again? will it give me emotional response"

    One of my recent so-so shots
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/110479167004746675441/albums/5752036705014642641/5752041259523709842

    One of Luster Lai's awesome shots
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/104258880600714126673/posts

    P.S.
    Hope to see you July.

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    1. Thanks for sharing such invaluable insight, certainly the key phrase is OPEN MIND. It is very important to enjoy the whole process of shooting, and not be too pressured or stressed about it.

      You coming to KL in July? That is VERY soon !! Lets go to Pudu this time !

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  9. Hurray!!! Luke style the street walker...

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    1. LOL Kelvin !! Get well soon, we go attack the streets again.

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  10. Hi Robin, nice work. However, those photos come to me as being too stalk-ish.

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    1. Please leave a name when you comment.
      Define stalk-ish. I was standing in the open, and everyone can see me. Heck even the security personnel of the mall can see me.

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  11. Robin, please go back to taking your usual shots which are superb and certainly DO NOT portray Malaysia in a bad light. Malaysia is absolutely a beautiful country. A marvelous place, full of color, culture and wonderful people. I loved my time there but the one thing I didn't like was people telling me.." You shouldn't say this" or "You shouldn't say that".In my opinion nobody SHOULD tell other people what to say or do..or how to take pictures! But as you and I both know there are quite a few who like to do just that. You should follow your passion.We can all take pictures of pretty girls. Often the results are that the girls are pretty but the pictures aren't.Some people read too much into things when they look at photos and put their own political, religious or personal twist on someone else's work. They need to think again with a clean mind.
    Not only is there nothing wrong with your pictures of Malaysian streets but there are a lot of things right about them. When the artist listens too much to the critics it all goes downhill.
    When I first visited Malaysia I took beautiful pictures of butterflies, orchids, dancers,lovely buildings and ended up with just a lot of 'chocolate box images' good for tourist posters only. If I come back, I'll be more than happy if I can get street pictures that are half as good as yours!
    site wouldn't accept my URL so I'm anonymous!!!!
    Steve

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  12. Hey Steve,
    Thanks for the honest feedback. Do not worry, I will not stop being myself, and I will surely do what I do again and again. However, it is very important as an artist (not qualified to be one yet) to explore and shoot different things, and experiment. As I have mentioned, it is unwise to stay stagnant, and not change. I am not saying that I listen to critics, but if people have something to say, it is worth listening. I may not agree with everything thrown at me, but I must admit people care enough to share their thoughts which certainly contain some truths. It would be selfish to close myself from precious opinions around me.

    If you do drop by Malaysia let me know again, if the timing is right lets have some shutter therapy together !

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  13. Woah, a street photowalk with no homeless people. Yay!

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    1. And you did not want to join me. Pfffttt

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  14. emm.. that's all ka bro? more pleaseeeee....

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  15. Once again, Robin, you continue to show the versatility and growth of your art.
    Apologies to some of the stick in the muds who (though sincerely) just
    want you to do the one thing that THEY like you to do.
    Yes, those beautiful women are real people too, and beautiful people can be beautiful subjects.

    From the gorgeous girl, who's just been shopping, in the first pic, to the young mother carrying her child as he excitedly points to
    some fresh new sight that thrills him in the bustling street, these shots too, portray REAL moments and meaning in the life of your wonderful
    and diverse country (which I hope to visit one day).

    From the beautiful and the modern, to the gritty realities of the street and the people "left behind", go after ALL the ingredients.
    Robin, just keep on being and becoming YOU, with the ever increasing talent of your ongoing and expanding shutter therapy !

    PS
    Hey, sue me, I love to occasionally (sometimes more than occasionally, LOL) look at pretty women too !!
    They are also a part of life !!
    And don't forget the food, lol !

    Great shots !

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    1. Thanks so much Ben for undestanding and voicing up your opinion !!! Yes, life is beautiful, we are all free to see it, enjoy it, and definitely CAPTURE the moments !!
      nothing wrong looking at pretty women, and you have just said it no better than I can: beautiful people can be beautiful subjects.
      Do come to Malaysia, and when you do, please let me know ! Would love to have shutter therapy with you.

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  16. I was wondering when certain people are going to complain about your subject, I personally have no problem; hey, the world is not for beautiful people only ;) Keep up the good work!

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  17. hey hey.. shoot more of these beautiful people... loving it

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  18. Haha, it's fun to see the pretty babes! Maybe their distracting exterior makes it hard for people to notice their inner beauty, which is actually more complex and interesting. I think part of your gift, Robin, is bringing out that more subtle kind of beauty. Maybe if you feel like your photos are tending toward the ugly too much, you could focus on communicating the beauty you see coming from people's inner identity.

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    1. Hey Snowyghost owl,
      Thanks for the honest feedback. I have no issues photographing anyone, or anything. Just that sometimes, I really would want to try something different for a change. It is refreshing !

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    2. I can see why you had fun! Keep it up.

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