My beloved hometown, Kuching, Sarawak, which was located at the Northern part of Borneo Island.
Some time late last year, a dear photography friend and also a talented street photographer, Lance Vun approached me and asked if I was interested to participate in a coming exhibition that he was tasked to organize in Kuching. The theme for this exhibition was street photography, which was something I was familiar with, but the setting was at Kuching, Sarawak. While I was born and raised in Kuching I spent most of my photography development years in Kuala Lumpur, thus most of my street photography was done in locations like Petaling Street, Chow Kit and Pudu, all in KL. Therefore, initially I was hesitant to join because I do not have good enough street photographs from Kuching. After giving it some thought I realized that this was the perfect opportunity for me to do my first exhibition, because Kuching is my home and no words can describe my love for this beautiful city. I have friends here and I genuinely want to contribute and support in whatever small ways that I can to elevate the rapidly growing art scene locally. The one big hurdle I must overcome was to go out and shoot new, fresh photographs in Kuching for this exhibition.
I went home twice late last year, once in November and once in December, roaming the streets of Kuching hoping to get some decent shots, good enough for an exhibition. While I wish I could spend at least months with a more meaningful pool of street photographs to curate from, I did not have the luxury of time. Nevertheless, personally I did come home with images that I was deeply satisfied with, and photography is a very personal art anyway, so I submitted my images and here I was, having a small exhibition together with 7 other local Kuching photographers.
Last weekend, I flew home to Kuching for a photo-sharing session, which was made in conjunction with the Street of Kuching Photo Exhibition. This photo-sharing session was also the soft-launching of the exhibition, and I had a blast sharing my photographs and speaking to such a wonderful audience!
Here is a collection of photographs taken at the photo-sharing event at Art Space, China House (The Old Court House, near India Street and Plaza Merdeka in Kuching).
The location of the photo-sharing & exhibition space, Art Space, China House (previously Old Court House). Lance was seen setting up the presentation deck and projector.
The building, which was Old Court House was first opened in 1883. This colonial-styled building itself has interesting architectural features and rich historical background, just the perfect setting for a local photo exhibition.
Jee Foong, the first presenter of the day.
Jee and I went waaaaaay back. When I acquired my first DSLR in 2008, Jee and his lovely wife, Ann were around to help me out with basic photography questions. I remembered the night we met up at Coffee Bean and they both helped me with basic photoshop editing. Such a long time ago, and we have all come a long, long way!
For some weird reasons, Malaysians do not like to occupy the front seats. If you judge the attendance by this image alone, you may think the venue was not filled. However, look at the following image.
There were many people standing, and as the presentation was going on, more and more people were filling up the space.
Jee shared about his love for cats (I LOVE CATS TOO), how he got involved in photography as a hobby which eventually became his career and passion in life. He preferred candid, unposed and natural looking street scenes, capturing the moments and happenings he found as they were. He has an observational approach which was effective in documenting the lives of people around Kuching.
Some Kuching heavyweights here, Alex, Edwin, Kelvin, Lance and Mick.
Edwin Lay also chipped in and shared his photos.
Lance, the main person making all this happen, also had a slot in the photo sharing. His street photography style was different from Jee. Lance was more confrontational and he spent time talking to the strangers he met on the streets, getting to know them and understand their life stories. He went up close to his subjects and he sought permission for the street subjects he captured in his images. He emphasized on human emotions and the layers of stories behind the soulful eyes of the people he came across. It was indeed refreshing to see two differing styles shared on the same stage!
Photo credit: Jee Foong.
I was presenting last, and I hoped no one fell asleep during my slot. I was hoping I did not have many blog readers around because most of my shots were already published here! I liked the energy of the crowd and it was really something special for me to be able to speak to the people from my own hometown.
Photo credit: Jee Foong.
So finally, I have had my own photo exhibition! I sure hope I have more to come, and I wish Kuching photographers will do more street photography. I genuinely think Kuching is a beautiful place to shoot and there are unique and interesting scenes only available here.
I will fly home to Kuching again this coming weekend for the official launch of the exhibition on Sunday. This time I shall be staying on in Kuching for a few more days to catch up with more people and I will make sure I squeeze some time for shutter therapy in Kuching as well. I just cannot wait to be home again and shoot on the streets. At the meantime, I may not have sufficient photographs to keep my blog updated. I do apologize for the long silences between blog posts.
If you are in Kuching in March, please do drop by China House, Kuching and see some awesome local photography work exhibited there! You may find out more details in the official event page here (click).