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

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.