Sunday, June 22, 2008

Street Photography in Penang, Malaysia

Street Photography in Penang aka Eye Goes to Penang

It's been 2 months now since my last blog post entry. Time came for a short break from my busy work. I went on a 3D2N trip to Penang, Malaysia from 6th to 8th June 2008. This trip was soley organised by Eye e City committee. The main objective of this trip is as follows:

  • Link up with Nan Yang Folk Culture for a culture exchange
  • A chance for Eye participants to explore and capture a different perspective of Penang society and culture through our lenses
  • A chance to get to know other Eye participants

The guys at Nan Yang Folk Culture in Penang started the 24-hour year end photography project which later on was brought over to Singapore by Eye e City committee with the same idea. NYFC has shared with us on their past photography projects and a brief introduction and tour of Penang and its rich local culture, especially on their local Chinese heritage.

Frankly speaking, it was my first trip to Penang and I didn't know what to expect despite of the program highlights. Therefore I just relax and enjoy, and let nature take its own course.

Penang Island is an island off the west coast of Malaysia. It is located within Penang State, one of the smallest states in Malaysia - the second smallest state in Malaysia after Perlis. The name "Penang" itself comes from the colonial (Malaysia was under the British rule until 1957) way of pronouncing the original Malay name of the island, Pulau Pinang. The capital of Penang is George Town.

We took a 10-hour plus coach journey on 5th June Thursday night. Upon arrival at the local hotel on the next morning, we took some time travelling around Penang streets, free & easy on our own before meeting our "tour guide", Yeow Wooi. He's the man behind NYFC. Yeow Wooi took out spare time to show us around his office, his photography work and talked alot on local Chinese heritage and history. Though we were all really tired from those walkings under the super hot weather and of course lacked of sleep in the coach, we were still pretty excited to find out more about Penang and to take street photographs too.

In the night, we took off to attend the sharing session at Yeow Wooi's office, in a cosy meeting room. We got to meet many other Penang photography enthusiasts and artists as well. On the second day, we travel free & easy on our own again, in smaller separate groups, as we did not want to end up with everyone taking the same subjects. In the night, we went to attend a festive cultural show in conjunction with Dumpling Festival (端午节), held in one of the local Chinese temples, Da Bo Gong (大伯公庙). In the show, there are dances and music performances and lessons on the temple history and origins of Dumpling Festival. The show attracted many nearby local Chinese residents. The show was a success and the organiser is planning to stage another festive show on this upcoming Hungry Ghost Festival (中元节) in early August.

We left early on the next morning, and yes for yet another great ordeal i.e. 10-hour plus coach journey. Well in fact we got a detour to Kuala Lumpur, just to drop 2 passengers. Traffic there was chaotic and fortunately we got our of the place soon. Howsoever, we had to travel south towards the Causeway, where we got stuck in a serious traffic congestion for more than 2 hours. Eventually we reached back home safe and sound. Home sweet home!

Shown below are a few photographs I took of the streets. If you want to see more, please visit my website here.

Would love to go back there for more other interesting subjects. Enjoy.

Titibits Seller

Titibits Seller

Car Parked

Deserted School

Hin Company Ltd

All photographs shown here are solely copyright of Martin Liew. © June 2008 Martin Liew Photography.

All photographs were made with a Seagull 205 RF and a Konica Minolta point-&-shoot camera (which went dead after its first roll), on 1 roll of Kodak TMX400 and 3 rolls of Kodak BW400CN. Negatives are developed & scanned. Post-processed in Adobe Photoshop CS2 using Channel Mixer and simple Dodging & Burning techniques. For warm tone, I used tinted sepia toning.