August 14th, 2009
Peter Tan with his mother.
Relatives and friends at Peter Tan’s mother funeral.
Peter Tan and his wife Wuan and I will be having a exhibition of photos from 17 to 30 August 2009 at the KLPac.
My pictures of my mother going into hospital and then she ‘disappeared’ there.
What is death? This is a question that confronts everyone as it is at the heart of humanity. There are those who believe that after death, there is nothing, and there are those who believe it is the exit to another life. But the real answer is finally unknowable – for no one has been there and come back to tell us what it is.
What may survive after death are memories, some of which are concretized in photographs. Photography has a tremendous power to preserve private memories and perpetuate the ‘life’ of a departed one. They record moments and emotions that can be revisited by the person looking at them.
March 14th, 2009
The ability to understand someone else’s feelings as if they were one’s own is not something we do easily and often. It is demanding and thankless. Perhaps that may explain why most of us are mainly concerned with the needs our own self and those of our immediate family. How others feel is hardly our interest. How about considering some empathy?
My exhibition of photos Empathy at KLPac closed on the 8 March. This third collection of images of people with disability doing their own thing in sports and in work, was on display for 7 weeks. During that time there were several write ups about the exhibition and one of the portraits of Siti Aishah made it to the front page of the Sunday People in the NST’s Sunday Times.
This media coverage of the disabled group gave all those people in this small and fragile community a much needed visual profile which they seldom get. The Star newspaper’s writer Tan Karr Wei also wrote about the portraitures with understanding.
Then there was Elaine Lau from the Option of the Edge who also gave a voice to this often voiceless fellow citizens. Ng Suzhen from the Malay Mail was the first to put this story in her CyberSpot page. The Chinese press too especially the writer Chee Nyuk Yan from Nanyang Siang Pau gave this group a center spread in their Sunday edition and this was followed by Sin Chew Daily‘s reporter Ten Yien Hsia’s news of the event. I was also invited to talk about the exhibition on TV3′s Malaysia Hari Ini morning magazine show.
After all the effort of first going out to get the cooperation of all my disabled friends to allow me to photograph them, and then to mount and promote the visibility of the subject to a larger public, it had dawn on me that this project of promoting a little more empathy for others, has been all a group effort by everyone who has been involved. This is also a note of thanks to all of you. Now I am beginning to understand.
February 7th, 2009
A view of the exhibition with some visitors
Justin Hughes visiting
Lee Hong Leng taking a closer look
This exhibition has been on for a few weeks and it had many visitors. Justin Hughes, an old friend from the 80s, was one of the first visitors. He was in Kuala Lumpur for a short visit after attending an International Law conference in Singapore. Justin is currently a Law Professor in New York.
Lee, a fellow photographer and partner of a photographic lab that printed all my prints, was also at the show to share his experiences about photography. It has been his continuing support and encouragement, over the years, that has made it possible to continue this social documentary project.
August 31st, 2008
Ayutthaya 11, Victor Chin, 2008
Lee HL talking to a group at Kimi Gallery Cafe
Lucien de Guise’s review of the exhibition
The exhibition Form & Emptiness by Eric Peris and I will continue at Kimi Gallery Cafe, 80 Jln. Burhanuddin Helmi, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, tel 77225585, till middle of September. After that we have been invited to to give a talk about our photographs at the Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival 2008 in October, at Times Square. Later, the pictures will be shown at a Buddhist temple in Brickflelds in November.
Last Saturday, 23, we had a small gathering at Kimi to talk about some technical matters regarding printing digital black and white prints. Mr Lee HL from Applied Imaging gave a vary detailed and interesting talk about his company’s commitment to provide the most up to date and professional services available to photographers by his establishment. Thanks to Lee.
The photographs have been on show for a month now and we had a few write-ups in the local press and we like to share the one writen by Lucien de Guise from the New Sunday Times. His piece appeared on the Sunday 10 August. Eric and I thought that Lucien wrote knowledgeably about our photos and give us a view of his well-informed opinion. Thanks to Lucien.
Photographs has many uses, as we all know, and that is why it is growing in popularity world wide. Of course there is also talk that photographs are not trust worthy documents as sometime it may be made to suit a particular propaganda for its own purposes. Furthermore with digital capabilities today it can cut and past and manipulate images without limits.
But in our views photographs can show us how we have been in the past and perhaps inform us how best to we can use the insights from our history to live for the present.
August 19th, 2008
Philip Chong giving a hand to one of the disable participants
Eric Wong explaining the functions of the camera
Wilfred Tan giving some finer points about using the camera
A photographic workshop at Beautiful Gate
Last Saturday, 16 August, I invited Philip Chong to help me conduct a half day basic photographic workshop for 15 members of wheelchair user organisation, Beautiful Gate, in Petaling Jaya. Philip in turn invited three of his photographer friends (Eric Wong, Wilfred Tan, Mike) to join us.
Beautiful Gate is organising a national photographic competition and this event is open to everyone including a section for the disabled photographers. Those interested please click here for more information about the organisation and the competition.
Our aim was to provide some basic knowledge of the camera, to this disabled group, to enable them to take part in the photographic contest. Not everyone at the workshop has a camera but most of them has a hand phone with a camera and so we worked with whatever they brought along.
Within a few hours we showed them some sample pictures by the guest photographers, we got each of them to take some views of the compound at the Beautiful Gate, we went over some of their shots and make some remarks about how to improve their skills.
Just as there are many things in our daily life which are not disabled friendly, the cameras too are not designed with the view of the disabled users. But they still make do and get by cheerfully clicking away with their camera at themselves and their environment.