Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Fading Old Market, Chow Kit

At the time I fell in love with street photography (or more appropriately put, photography on the street, just so that I do not insult the "traditionalists"), I discovered this hidden holy grail of street hunting ground in KL, Chow Kit. I fell in love with the place instantly, and every single trip I made to Chow Kit has been fruitful, and I always came home with the SD card filled with photographs, many have become keepers from this wonderful location. Unfortunately, the original, old building of Chow Kit that houses a huge area of the market, and the surrounding lanes and storage locations will be demolished very, very soon. I was told by the locals that they were asked to evacuate the premises, and demolition work has already begun phase by phase. In one or two weeks time, the main building will go down.

When I heard the news, I did not exactly know how to feel. For many years now, I have spent so many hours camping, and strolling around these streets in Chow Kit, inside and around the main old market building area. So many wonderful shots, so many friendly faces and smiles, so many beautiful moments, now all that's left, are nothing but memories. I do feel sad, because I do not think there will be a place like Chow Kit else where in the world, this is truly a unique location, and strangely, it has defined the look and feel of many of my photographs I have displayed here in this blog. 80% of the close up strangers portraits that have become my favourites came from Chow Kit. The beautiful, diffused yet directional light in a relaxed, easy-going environment made it an ideal place for street portraits, and people in Chow Kit are just the friendliest of all KL streets. It is impossible not to be able to make good street portraits here.

With mixed emotions, I picked up the Olympus PEN E-P5 and the M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens, and just walked casually around last Sunday, and shot a few images. Nothing specific I wanted to accomplish this round, just taking my time, in a way, to say goodbye to this place.

I don't think this blog will ever be the same if I have never found Chow Kit in the first place!

Dangling legs




A Deserted Market

Portrait of a Stranger


Look at the amazing lighting!

Empty Carts


Waiting Area but No Parking

Afternoon Nap


Ok this shot was not at Chow Kit, but a train station, but I quite like this one. 

E-P5, and the 25mm F1.8 lens. Fisheye 8mm F1.8 was in the bag, just in case but I did not use it this time. 

Sometimes, we think that the streets and the shooting locations are always there and we can come back to them whenever we please. Then one day we wake up and find out that nothing lasts and good things always come to an end, usually sooner than expected. 

Don't waste any moment, pick up the camera, go out and make that shot happen!


  1. I'm glad you took me there. I lived in KL before you came and would go Petaling Street (part of trips to school) and Pudu Market (with Mum and Dad). I didn't know Chow Kit. Glad I experienced it before it transitioned.

  2. So sad! I wish I had to time to get on the plane tonight :(

    Thanks for taking me there so spontaneously, when I was there on a short trip!


  3. As always an excellent set of street shots. Loved looking at them. Keep up the great work.


  4. Hi I'm a new reader and I found your blog posts very inspiring!
    As a beginner in photography, I sometimes find it hard to photograph strangers like you do as I fear that
    they may feel offended. I was wondering how do you photograph them so quickly without their knowledge ? Are there any tips ?
    Thanks ! :)

  5. Seemed like we are having a Life of Chow Kit exhibition from Robin soon?

  6. Your photos have immortalized Chow Kit...

    An exhibition sounds like a great idea.