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Through Eric’s eyes

November 2nd, 2009

NOV 1 — This is the last week to catch Eric Peris’s 30th solo photographic exhibition at the Sutra Gallery, which ends on Nov 5. Eric’s first two solo exhibitions were in 1982 at the Rupa Gallery (now closed), in Kuala Lumpur. Since then he has had 28 shows of his own.

In this one, Eric pulled out one example from each of his last 30 shows. What you get is a kind of retrospective view of one of Malaysia’s master photographer’s lifework. He deserves better national acknowledgement for his contributions as an artist, photographer, photojournalist and teacher. (It may yet come we hope.)

Eric, at 70, is a prodigious artist at work and his photographs have encompassed a wide variety of subjects. Many of his shots have been influenced by some of the most famous photographers of the last century.

His visual takes of the world around him have also in turn helped many Malaysian photographers see. Of course, he is most partial to those photographers whose works are in black and white, as most of his works are such.

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Bob Teoh, Eric & Lee HL at the opening

In the early 80s, Eric showed photos of views in and out of windows. His first set was from Thai windows and its architecture and landscapes. Later, he added his views of Malaysian landscapes from train windows.

On show are some vintage images of his unique way of seeing and capturing his surroundings. Not the usual postcard aesthetics of beautiful landscapes at sunset but the more unusual and unknown views that are just as photographic. This is just Eric’s art of seeing.

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Eric was also one of the few photographers who trained his lenses on tin mine landscapes near his former house in the Puchong tin mining area (now Bandar Kinrara). To many, this disused tin mining area was just a desolate and ugly gaping hole.

He turned those sand dunes, mounts and valleys into a record of our land forms, our history of the tin industry; in some ways like what the American photographer Ansel Adams did in the 40s and 50s with his country’s landscape.

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