Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Curious trade

Street barber Posted by Hello

Pic: A barber plying his craft at a roadside corner. Not many such trades exist nowadays with modern barbers preferring to offer clients creature comforts such as air-conditioning, loud blaring music, expensive range of hairstyling solutions and the most modern hairstyling equipment money can buy. But here one will find this man continuously servicing satisfied customers who don't mind a fast, cheap and fuss free hair cut. He even provides services such as mole removal, ear wax clearing and as usual the good old razor shave.

Old trades die hard and even thrive here at Petaling Street. Whereas high rental are forcing other places of business to either increase prices or go out of business, nothing more is needed here but some space and the basic tools of the trade. You'll find rarely seen occupations here, a far cry from the slick and ultra-modern urbane look elsewhere in the metropolitan city. Next to this old time barber is a man offer knife and scissors sharpening for a few Ringgit (less than USD1) with his millstone, by the corner old style chettier (Indian money lenders) who still sit in wearing their dottis, cross-legged on the floor while discussing terms of lending and the ever present fortune teller armed with their charts, predictions and advise. Soon all these may be a thing of the past with no interest from younger generations and much less economic incentive to continue on, the cultural fabric will be a less colourful one i bet.


6 comments:

Jeremy said...

Now THIS photo is great

Adrian said...

Oh come on... Its a nice story, but the details?? No human expression... and the motorbike wheel... while giving a sense of local-ness, doesn't really tell its own story but instead acts as a distraction. The barber's face is underexposed, he just seems to be doing a job... No human emotions... The placard is a bit off center and lined the wrong way in a photo, and the mirror should have served something else up rather than the bland back of a person...

Haha... Its just me on a critical day...

Kervin said...

Oh well yeah i know the difficiencies and appreciate the comments. Yup I know there are professional photogrphers out there that'll spend their time out there waiting for the perfect shot and snap! One picture in a million. And yes they have the equipment and the skills to do it. Well wish I had more control of the features on my cam but a digicam can only have so much but I'm drooling on the new digital SLR (spell megabucks!) Haha will try to improve in future, keep the comments coming!

Jeremy said...

Well, well. There are two ways to capture images. One is in the photojournalistic style, where serendipity, and above all camera availability play decive roles. The result are slice-of-life pictures meant to be appreciated as such. The other school of photography is more deliberate, often requiring human subjects to pose, and where the photographer gets to tweak the lighting and placement of objects, besides having his camera on a tripod and making multiple exposures at 1/3 stop increments. In other words, studio photography.

Now Adrian, I'd love to see you cart-off the motocycle and un-tilt the sign you find so offending -- and still take the picture. I'd buy the print. Promised.

(If you haven't, that is, been shooed away by the barber with his razor.)

Kervin said...

Thanks Jeremy, haha Adrian once chastize me for a picture I took, it was an lady with a mengkuang tudung on her head which was a very good photo opportunity. Yet he said I treated the people as objects and that I should be more considerate. I admit its true to the fact that it might be offensive but I never treat the people I take as objects and I respect them as they are, individuals and unique beings. Its just that most times you ask someone for permission they tend to overpose, losing that natural feel to it and making it fake. Well there's the dilemma, one way of course is to use a telephoto to avoid overt attention but alas I have none. Other times people would look sourfaced at you if you do try to take a picture. Most of the pictures taken are offhand, while walking and catching sight of an interesting sight so one makes use of all available settings there but that doesn't mean you don't try to get the perfect shot:)

Adrian said...

Well, I didn't say cart the motorcycle away, nor move the sign. The photographer should have waited, and waited for the opportunity. Or move to another angle. Low angle, high angle. Or even use the motorcycle as a prop, but definitely not making it a distraction. Taking the photo through the spokes of the wheel while leaving it blurry, like one I saw from Eco Challenge photos, would've been nice too.

And for waiting, learn the art of patience... I waited for 45 minutes in the cold dark underwater breathing shallow (to not scare the fish away) just for 3 out of 80 pictures that turned out somewhat ok.

Its a nice photo, but not in its current state. Perhaps a few more shots, and some creative cropping... (I know you'll scream at this, since you're purely analog devoted. I know, I love my ISO 50 and 160 Velvia as well. They are RM 24 a pop here!)

I don't like studio shots. And especially the burning and dodging they do to cover up spots, wrinkles and patches. Argh. Makes a person look so fake.