Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What Now? Malaysia After 50 Photo Exhibition


A photo collage of the submissions by photo Malaysia members that didn't make the cut

Malaysian photographers have come a long way and to date there are many photo forums, club, groups and clicks that have formed in the country such as Photo Malaysia, Photo Kaki, PSPJ and KL Flickr. It has come as another milestone that one of the oldest and largest forum and photo groups have embarked to hold an exhibition for the general public to generate a greater interest in the hobby/profession. Photography has come a long way since film cameras and with the advent of the digital camera, the power to capture the moment forever on a medium has reached the hands of millions. Technology has gone ever more sophisticated that the power of the first generation of digital cameras can now be miniaturised into the handphone, putting this powerful tool into the reach of an even wider audience. No longer must one be a professional to own the necessary tools to make a picture, put a handphone in the hands of a 5 year old kid and he's a photographer and the results may even surprise you.

Saying this, the exhibition held at the Annexe in Central Market is by fellow members of Photo Malaysia entitled What Now? Malaysia after 50. The title is appropriate to track how much Malaysia has changed and also how much it hasn't. The images are provoking and everyone viewing it will definitely have a different opinion of each. Thus the presenters often ask the viewer to interpret what they see themselves instead of being held and led to the presenters' interpretation. In a way it challenges one to freely explore the images and come up with their own meaning, something many of us even after 50 years of independence has yet to grasp or leave the leading hand that never lets go to leave you to explore and hit the floor hard if need be.

It was with great appreciation that Ted Adnan, who has several photos on exhibited that he deigned to welcome us and share a bit of his thoughts on the exhibition. We all sat lotus style on the floor in a circle among these images and walls and in olden fashion where wiser men have sat in a similar position among the fire and told tales. In my eyes it was a good exhibition, not necessary of skill and techniques though those were evident but also for the subject matter shot. Juxtaposed among the achievements of our nation like the towering skyscrapers of the Petronas Twin towers were more idyllic scenes from Semporna, a part of the country most of us have and will not see, where sea faring Bajaus built villages on stilt and are as alien to the modern culture of KL as it can get.

It was a bit sad as well to see that the halls were empty and not many people arrived to view the photos. I observed as well that while the photos are for sale, not many takers have shown interests revealing much about how Malaysians still view the arts. The exhibition runs till January 27 so those who have not made their way there please feel free to do so.


The window at the annexe gallery


Ted Adnan became our guide for the day to explain the theme behind the exhibits


Trying to understand the meaning behind the photo


The various photos chosen for viewing

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