Tuesday, September 23, 2008


10-Day Malaysian Borneo photography tour and workshop : Group size 12

slphotoworks and Andy Craggs World Photography are jointly hosting a specialist travel photo-workshop to develop and enhance your photography skills, focusing on personal portfolio development, with one-to-one mentoring.

We will be exploring the historical city of Kuching and its environs, visit open-air markets, travel up river by open longboat to settle in a jungle lodge, and live with the Iban inhabitants of the Nanga Sumpa longhouse. There will be ample opportunity for experimentation: photographing busy markets, people and faces, city centre, colonial architecture, ethnic activities, jungle landscapes and wildlife... further details to come

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Entry 012 : Happy Malaysia Day

Photo © Lim Li Ling

September 16 is Malaysia Day, have a Happy one!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Entry 011 : Progress report

Hi Jo, Li Ling, Roziah and Jerrica,

This is a short post to say that everyone involved in the photography of the Mural has completed the picture taking bit. I owe all a sincere thanks in making the effort to approach this project thoughtfully and as systematically asyou have done. Li Ling and Joanna managed to gain access to the Berjaya Times Square offices overlooking the Pudu Jail to obtain some bird's eye view shots of the entire prison from that angle. I have also contacted an art reviewer Farah Ismail who manages the Aicon Gallery in London who, being Malaysian also, has indicated that she would be happy to write a brief review of the painting in terms of the art and aesthetics of the entire mural.

As for tracking down the original ex-inmate artists, we have had no luck as yet. Once I receive all your images I will begin the layout design.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Entry 010 : Jailbirds in action!

Update 24 July 2008 : To all that are participating in this project, lets complete all picture taking by the July 30th, edit them down and send me a CD of your photos by the first week of August. Email me for postal address. Can?

The Pudu Jail mural project is underway. Li Ling and Jerrica and I met up early on Sunday morning last weekend at Berjaya Times Square's Starbucks and walked to Jalan Pudu/Hang Tuah to begin photographing the mural.

I worked on the 64 panels along Jalan Pudu starting from the far end, whilst Li Ling photographed the walls on Jalan Hang Tuah. Jerrica, using her Canon point'n'shoot photographed the grafitti and stains more closely along that flank and the 'padang' elevation also. All in, we shot for over an hour and a half, amongst the bemused pedestrians and onlookers going to work or shopping at Imbi.

The mural can reveal its layered past when one looks closer into it. I discovered beautiful paintings of birds, streams, rivers, and willow trees, fields and forests, hills and mountains that must have looked breathtaking when the paint was still fresh. No doubt there must have been some 'botch-up' repair work throughout its lifetime of some 30 years or so. These can be clearly seen in the significantly different style of brushstrokes and colours in some sections from the remaining backdrop.

I read somewhere that the inmates often used their fingers to paint the scenes under the watchful eye of the prison warden, and under the hot Malaysian sun for weeks on end during the early 80's. I have yet to track down Mr Khong Yen Chong the inmate who headed the painting. It would be a treat to be able to interview him and get his portrait. Leads anyone?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Entry 009 : Picture KL 2008 heads up!

Hi all, I was just notified that the above Picture KL 2008 photographic competition is open for all to enter. It runs close to the workshop assignment in that they are looking for images of KL under various themes. So there, you all have a headstart! Do give it a go ! The closing date is 15 August 2008.

More info at www.picturekl.com

Monday, July 7, 2008

Entry 008 : Documenting The Mural

Update : 10 July

Li Ling and Jerrica will be meeting me up on Sunday instead, 9:30am at Starbucks, GF, Berjaya Times Square. All welcome, but please let me know beforehand, to avoid waiting around, or missing each other.

Update : 8 July

I did a 30 minute walk around the prison walls today and it looks like it may be possible to go right around the jail although only two flanks on Jalan Pudu and Hang Tuah contain paintings. There are approximately 50 'panels' on each flank with the famous landscape painting.

The Jalan Pudu flank may be difficult to photograph as the pavement is narrow so you will need to stand on the raised central divider and use a 50mm lens to fill the frame with one panel. Being on the other side of the road, you will get cars blocking your view.

I plan to start the photographing this Saturday 12th July, early morning if anyone is keen to be part of project, say 9am? We can divide the flanks amongst whoever turns up. We can meet at Berjaya Times Square Starbucks (Imbi Monorail) at 9am as its only a shot walk from there. If you can't make this date, but want to be in the project, then arrange to go and photograph the mural in your own time. Perhaps after a month, we can start collecting images and edit them. Please do post a response here if you are coming on Saturday.

Original posting

Thought I post a couple of photos snapped last weekend. The first photo is incomplete as several of you could not make it on the Saturday.

Documenting the Pudu jail mural : We discussed this over some fried mee and drinks after Sunday's session, as a group. I suggested that it would be a great project for someone to do, as Pudu Jail has been earmarked for demolition soon (timescale unknown, but it is iminent, as reported in the media 2 months ago), and perhaps it could be a medium term group project for the workshop participants, whoever is interested. The objective is to photograph the outside painted wall mural in its completeness and produce a really 'cool' book. All credits will be given to participating photographers.

I will do a recce at the site over the next few days and see if public access can be obtained for all four sides of the exterior walls. Updates later..also suggestions welcome..

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Entry 007 : Assignment reviews

To all of you who attended the Introductory workshop over the last two weekends, thank you for coming and making the effort in doing your assignments.

This brief 'KL Essentially' is a good exercise to make you actually plan and think about what you want to photograph within a certain fixed time-frame, and also about editing your work and sticking to the brief. Most of you covered the suggested areas, eg Chinatown, Masjid India areas mainly, and a few ventured out further to Bukit Bintang, KLCC and even Sentul.

Overall, I felt that most of you could have focussed more on the brief, and shot images that you would want to see in a trendy magazine of the style suggested, rather than just photographed whatever you saw during your walkabouts. It would also possibly help if you did not go around in groups to capture your pictures, as this tend to bring out repetitive and unoriginal images. In street photography, the inquisitiveness and exploratory nature of the 'lone' photographer can be quite rewarding most times.

Quite a lot of photographs lacked the 'impact' or feel of the brief, being just ordinary street scenes which was not locationally identifiable and hence could not be used.

There were however some great shots, and these I have picked out below from each of you. Well done all!

I am looking at these :

a) Is the photograph good in terms of visual impact, uniqueness and composition.
b) Photographic content, ie. would it make a good editorial image purely adhering to the brief.








Siew Li








Li Ling

Li Ling


I thought Jan's photograph of the young couple in the bus is worthy of a mention. It was a grab shot, sneaked in, and the framing is pretty perfect, just getting the bus driver in the frame on the left, and the couple to the far right edge. Study the image closer and you will appreciate its complexities in terms of composition, spontaneity of the shot and the facial expressions of the couple. The 'decisive moment' is captured.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Entry 006 : Workshop this weekend

Just a reminder to all that you can bring your own laptop if you wish this weekend for the portraits so that we can look at the results whilst we all shoot, and I can assist in some photoshop also.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Entry 005 : First session review

Murtabak man with eggs at the ready

Thanks to all that turned up for this weekend's first session. I had a great time meeting and knowing a bit about you. Its nice to know all of us share a passion, and that is 'photography', the art of writing with light! Be it landscapes like Siew Li, food with Tracy, travel with Roziah, or those dark cloudy scenes from Amelia, thanks for sharing with each other your personal images...all of you.

I know some of you view the mini assignment with trepidation, but it should be fun and if you put in the effort I promise it will be worthwhile! I walked around the area a little after Saturday's session and stumbled upon an Indian barber on the main road named 'Stylo'. Managed to chat with barbers in there and reeled of a few shots in the tiny cramp salon. I love the old barber's chairs and neatly arranged coloured hair tonic and gels on the glass shelves, harking back perhaps 20-30 years ago and of course the Brylcreem logo. This exercise will help you to develop your observational skills, noting the detail rather than the whole picture.

Torn wall poster and graffiti

A couple of you toyed with the ancient Rolleiflex, Elmery and Li Ling. Hope you discover the joys of using a really old camera and film, just like Diane Arbus did!

I may be shooting the streets one early evening this week, if anyone wants to come along you are welcome,..probably Tuesday or Wednesday around 6-ish..

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Entry 004 : I need a volunteer :-)

On Saturday and Sunday, 28th and 29th, I just need one/two volunteer/s to come ahead of time say 1230 to help me set up the room for 1pm. Thanks!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Entry 003 : Try one for size!

I will be bringing my trusty ol' Rolleiflex 3.5G to the workshop. Anyone who hasn't handled one of these before, and would like to have a go at photographing with a TLR, (twin-lens reflex) camera built in the late 1960's is most welcome! It takes 120 roll film, and I have several rolls, a bit..err..expired but still usable. You just have to pay for processing though.

It is a square (6cm x 6cm) format and it produces really nice 'creamy' portraits to boot, modern digital cameras just cannot match its rendition of colour and tonality...sort of an olde worlde charm about it. The great thing is that you compose your picture by looking down, and not at, your subject.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Entry 002 : Workshop details


Things have moved on quicker than I thought. I have finalised the venue and its going to be at The Annexe, Central Market starting from 1 - 6pm. The dates are Saturdays 28 June and 5 July.

A second 'Sundays' workshop is being set up as I type this, with the help of The Annexe also, but that will be a fee paying one.

I've got feedback from nearly all of you, thanks. Quite a few of you wanted some guidance in composition and general improvement in getting more impactful pictures. A couple like to shoot weddings and Tracy like food photography. Roziah likes travel, Cindy likes smoky sceneries, and a few like portraiture. So,.. this is the program we will work with. Andre Kertesz the great French master once said,
''A photographer must learn to photograph everything.'' This is essentially true.

Since my main field is art, people and street photography I will work from these angles.

Getting the basics right is important. So I will be doing 2 practical sessions, one is street photography and the other is simple studio portraiture. I will touch on how to use the camera efficiently in public, grab stealth shots, etc.

1st Session

~ Introductions

~ Show Portfolios (see below*), discuss strengths and weaknesses.

~ Slideshow to illustrate visual concepts and influences.

~ Slideshow and discussion on participants' preparatory images.(see below**)


~ Set Assignment for 2nd Session : Create a photo-essay from a maximum of 10 images. Be creative and tell a story.(see below***)

~ Hands-On 1 : Camera handling techniques, street photography and environmental portraits.(see below****)

"I think photographing people is simply a question of treating people with dignity and respect, and getting comfortable with people and enjoying talking with them and being with them. Often a sense of humour can work wonders with putting people at ease and making them relaxed." Steve McCurry


2nd Session

~ Review and discuss photo-essays.


~ Hands-On 2 : Simple studio portraiture (see below*****)

~ Review and Feedback



Please bring :

1. Gear - I almost always advocate minimal equipment. Please bring a camera and one lens, preferably a fixed lens, non-zoom if you have. 28mm, 35mm or 50mm. If none, just bring your standard zoom. Memory card or those using film, film!

2. I am sure all of you will have a pen-drive? If not go buy one its very cheap. This is the best way to show your work by projection via my laptop. If you want to show prints instead, then please print them at least A4 size. Can't bear looking at postcard sized prints.

3. Food and drink (!)


* Portfolios : Please bring, either as prints or in pendrive (jpeg files, sized to about 800 pixels longest dimension), about 10 - 15 photographs. These can be a series or individual images, don't just bring the 'best of' from your collections, but rather, give it some thought, about the images that represents you, that shows focus and a line of thought. (Caveat : no waterfalls or sunsets! Unless its your forte)

** Prepared images : This is your homework before you start. Use the internet or books, to research into 1 or 2 photographers whose works you admire in whatever field you have an interest in, eg. flower photography, landscapes, documentary, portraits etc. Read up their bio, and pick out and copy up to 10 images of their work onto your pendrive and we can all share. Be prepared to say why you like or dislike their works, how you would approach the same subjects, or why you can't. Find out a bit more about the photographer, how he/she started, what are their best works, etc. Talk about this for about 5 minutes per person.

*** Photo-essay : This is the assignment for the 2nd session. We will set the theme at the first session.

Hands-On 1 : We will approach this 'professionally' like an editorial demand for pictures. As we are situated in the heart of KL, there are many opportunities to photograph what is unique to KL., people, faces, street vendors, traders, colonial architecture, colours, moods, signs, etc

***** Hands-On 2 : Portraiture is one of the basic skills in photography. I intend to use a very basic set up one just one continuous tungsten light source. We will photograph each other or you can bring along a friend/family/grab someone off the street, to be your sitter. Experiment with exposure, shadows, highlights and compositions.

Some interesting resource websites :


Monday, June 2, 2008

Entry 001

My, where has the year gone.

Its already June and I am still remembering New Year's celebration, the General Elections.. all that seems like ages ago. I digress,..back to the task in hand. I am just awaiting confirmation from Pang at Central Market Annexe if I can hire a small room for our workshop for both weekends. Failing that, I have Plan B, although that isn't in Central KL. I am sorting out an LCD projector also. If anyone happens to have an LCD projector lying around at home, not being used to watch the Euro 2008 football that week that would be fantastic.

I am currently working out the program which will hopefully be interesting enough for all of you. Now, I don't know how much each of your abilities, expectations differ, so it would be great to do a quick survey beforehand. That way, I can try to accommodate all.

Please answer these questions below and just post a comment say by the end of this week? Much obliged.

Q1. Type of camera you use regularly? How long have you been making photographs? Since school days? Joined college photo club? Absolute beginner? Just bought your camera? etc...(don't list down all your gear, just the camera!)

Q2. What skills would like to improve on? eg. using your camera? photographing people and portraiture, architecture, street, landscapes, anything? etc..

Now, the trick question...

Q3. How much do you know or admire about 'photography' in general? Were you inspired by any great artists / photographer / journalists / writers / magazines or that 'one' image which led you to photography? Do you want to know? or not bothered?

Q4. What is your 'next' level in terms of photography? i.e. your goal say in 12 months, 18 months, 5 years

Thanks, looking forward to your feedback.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Introductory photo workshop in KL

Update 0800 hrs 020608 List update (see below)

Hello to all that have responded to my posting regarding the workshop. I will post all updates about the workshop here in this blog so please provide feedback and comments here only.

This blog will provide a quick and efficient way to keep in touch and subsequent communications may be monitored. Also it would be a great way to post individual's project work in progress.

So far as of the end of the weekend, I have the following people that have registered :

1. Wilson Chin
2. Jan Andris
3. Tracy Tan
4. Chew
5. Daren Chong
6. Roziah
7. Cindy to replace Beyond (Jason)
8. Benjamin Gan
9. Jacky
10. Spiel Chow
11. Danny Yeo
I will have to close the list now, as its already 3 persons more than I would prefer. If there are more requests, then I will have to work out another session if possible, and there would be a fee of RM150 per person.

The tentative dates for the workshop will be Sat 28 June and Sat 5 July in the afternoon. The finer details I will post once I have the venue confirmed. If anyone cannot make these dates, please tell me immediately, so that I can offer your place to someone else.

Tentative unconfirmed session (RM150 per person) :

1. Akmar
2. Choo aka AlanC
3. dkbu