Goo-goo, Gaa-gaa! Awww, SO CUTE!

30 08 2009

Source: The Malay Mail

Candid shots of babies bring the sweetest memories

2pixel-1

In this digital age, running businesses online has become the norm. From rare collectibles to services, they’re all just a click away.

Two mothers, Low Soo Lyn (better known as Sue) and Jasmine Chong, turned to the blogosphere for just that.
These women are self-taught photographers who started indulging in photographing babies and children some three years ago.

They are just so lovable and adorable, cooed the working mums.

Jasmine has two children while 32-year-old Sue has three. They prefer to remain behind-the-camera and have requested not to have their mugs featured.

2pixel-2Regardless, taking a look at their artistic shots at http://two-pixels.net, you can’t help but fall in love with the plethora of shots Jasmine and Sue have done.

“It all started with Sue’s idea of  taking photographs of newborns for friends. Thereafter, we decided to take this little hobby of ours to the next level,” said Jasmine, 31, about the birth of their photoblog, which is very young, only nine months old.

“Now, we not only photograph newborns but we also take pregnancy shots, family photos and pictures of young children. This is simply because photographing the newborn is still a very new concept for Malaysians and many times, parents are very skeptical about stripping down their babies,” explained Jasmine.

“Most of our customers are referrals from friends or blog hoppers. Initially, we started off with a circle of new mums, whom we got to know via the blogsphere, and they helped spread the word around.

“Nowadays we are looking at customers who reached us via the World Wide Web,” said Jasmine. What’s so unique about Two Pixels, said the mums, are their shooting locations.

The first is an outdoor spot near the client’s home and the other is an indoor locale in the home.

“We believe that everyone is most comfortable in their home, which is why we want photographs to be taken at home, not in a studio.”

Sue and Jasmine do everything themselves – from photographing to post-processing – alleviating any unease and apprehension parents may feel.

Here is how Two Pixels view the blogosphere.

How challenging has it been to set up and maintain  the blog?

The challenges we faced, being two sceptical mums, is our blog design. It took us days to decide the design and colour scheme.

Maintaining the blog itself is also a challenge because we have so many photoshoots back-to-back, but we try our best to keep the blog alive by putting up posts at least two or three times a month.

SMILE! A cute baby photo like this will make anyone's day

SMILE! A cute baby photo like this will make anyone's day

(Both mums also have their own blogs focusing on their kids. Check out Jasmine’s blog at http://jazzmint.net/blog/ and Sue’s at http://lilpeople.net/blog/)

What would you really like to achieve through your blog?

We hope that with this blog we will be able to reach out to more parents and parents-to-be out there to engage our service.

What does “Blogosphere” mean to you?

A network that connects you to countless opportunities

Who is your absolute favourite blogger?

The list is just too long, but we enjoy blog-hopping to various photographers’ websites, mostly to get inspiration and ideas.

What is the foremost feature in the Blogosphere that irritates you?

Spam. We get them day-in, day- out in our blog and they are pretty irritating. Despite the fact that we block IP addresses, new spammers just keep popping up.

If there was someone you could influence to take up  blogging, who would it be?

All mothers out there who are not blogging, start one today! It’s a great way to keep an online journal of our children.

All photos are courtesy of Two Pixels Photography.

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Soraya finds Success in portraits

30 08 2009

Source: The Star

A Malaysian photographer shares her story-within-a-story with New Yorkers through her Imaging Selfs exhibition in Manhattan.

sorayaWHILE some people see dyslexia as a learning disability, Soraya Yusof Talismail sees it as a gift.

Soraya (pic, right), 40, is often described as one of Malaysia’s finest portrait photographers who includes among her subjects luminaries like Queen Elizabeth II and the late Yasser Arafat.

She is also dyslexic. Grappling with numbers, symbols, and written words can be quite a task, she admits, but this is compensated by an astute observation of things around her and an ability to think in terms of pictures.

Her childhood ambition was to be an architect but she failed to qualify for the course in college as she was “no good with numbers”, Soraya confided during an interview.

Fate had something else lined up and she pursued photography at ITM instead. That was some 20 years ago. Soraya has had no regrets, describing her career as a “successful arranged marriage” where she has grown to love photography.

Her talent and creativity have taken her to interesting places, the latest being the Big Apple, where she held a solo exhibition entitled Imaging Selfs: New York last month.

Soraya was invited by Eng Tay, a Malaysian-born artist who has made NYC home for more than 30 years, to hold her exhibition in conjunction with the launch of his ETAY Gallery in Broadway, Manhattan.

The exhibition showcases Soraya’s portraits of 26 Malaysian artistes who have made it big on home ground or elsewhere and have some ties with the US, either through their arts foundation, exhibitions, or their own merit or have been influenced by American pop culture or creative sentiments.

It is a spin-off from Soraya’s Imaging Selfs exhibition held at the Petronas Gallery in Kuala Lumpur last November, featuring black and white portraits of 80 Malaysian artistes. Imaging Selfs is the culmination of a 15-year project started when a young Soraya, fresh out of college, wanted to capture the portraits of Malaysian talents and bring out the essence of their personalities.

Then 24, Soraya relentlessly trailed some of the biggest names in the arts from state to state, trying to fix appointments, persuading them to have their portraits taken and planning location shoots. To finance her artistic project she did formal portraits.

By the time her Imaging Selfs portraiture exhibition was held, Soraya had immortalised many of Malaysia’s finest artists on print.

They include the late movie director Yasmin Ahmad whom Soraya described as one of the easiest persons to work with, renowned painter sculptor Yeoh Jin Leng, choreographer/dancer Marion D’ Cruz, visual effects artist Shahril Ibrahim, Malaysia’s pop princess Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Eng Tay, fellow photographer Eric Peris, musician composer Jenny Chin, and fashion designer Bernard Chandran.

The list goes on. But what stands out in her artistic works is that no one race dominates.

“I don’t see our artistes as Malay, Indian, Chinese, Sabahan or Sarawakian. To me, they are all talented Malaysians who have contributed to the country and who we should be proud of,” she said.

Apart from performing artistes who often appear before large crowds, many of her subjects were incredibly shy people who needed to be persuaded to go before the camera.

It took her almost 10 years to get playwright Dr Noordin Hassan to finally agree to have his portrait taken, Soraya recalled.

The first artist she photographed for the project in 1994 was a good friend, Bayu Utomo Radjikin, a founder member of the Matahati art group. Some of the artistes are friends of her husband Ariff Awaluddin, an artist-photographer who also runs a bistro in Petaling Jaya.

Interesting work-of-art: Visitors at Soraya’s exhibition in Manhattan.

Interesting work-of-art: Visitors at Soraya’s exhibition in Manhattan.

Many artistes featured in the New York exhibition had explored their beginnings in the US. Jenny Chin, Mac Chew and Acis were products of the Berklee College of Music, artist photographer Ismail Hashim went to Washington State University, while Latiff Mohidin attended Pratt Institute in New York. Choreographer dancer Ramli Ibrahim has performed from coast to coast.

Soraya’s first SLR camera was a Nikon FG and till today, she prefers the conventional camera to the digital camera for her portraits; she believes film gives better tonal quality.

Soraya and Ariff love travelling and spend over a month each year visiting exotic and interesting places with their 11-year-old son Ushuaia.

Soraya said her travels, sometimes coinciding with her exhibitions or talks on photography, have given her a better insight, not just of the world but also of things back home.

For Soraya, holding the New York exhibition has been a challenging experience.

“We had to do everything ourselves, from getting the artwork ready, seeking funds, planning our flights from KL, accommodation, designing the catalogue, sending out invitations, and even preparing the refreshments!”

Still, holding an exhibition in the Big Apple is a personal triumph for Soraya. Her Imaging Selfs is her story within a story – a journey that carries with it the artistic journeys of her peers.





Photography for youngsters

30 08 2009

Source: The Star

THE Selangor Photographers Club (SPA), in an effort to get more youngsters to be involved in the industry, has started a photography course.

SPA vice-president R. Arulnathan said the six-month programme was initiated by the Kota Raja MIC Youth, headed by Shanker Raj Ayanger.

m_48SHANKER

“Shanker was enthusiastic on this programme which was lucrative and also provided youngsters to be independent. After several discussions, the SPA also roped in the Selangor Video Photographers Club (SVA) to be part of the programme.

“Our principal office bearers will be conducting the course. Our aim is to give an insight on the photography industry in Malaysia.

“We want to see more youngsters to take up photography. There are a lot of job opportunities as well as openings for them to progress in life,’’ said Arulnathan after the launch in Klang recently.

Shanker said the photography course was a follow up to a crime prevention programme held last month.

“About 200 youngsters attended the programme.

“The youngsters had voiced their opinion and wanted us to organise more programmes. We felt a photography course will benefit them.

“We are happy that SPA and SVA were receptive to our idea. About 40 youngsters will attend the first programme.

The participants will accompany SPA and SVA officials for for on the job training.

“The programme will be an ongoing one and we hope to create job opportunities for the participants as well,’’ said Shanker.

For more details contact Shanker at 012-3836905.





Fotografi & Islam

30 08 2009

Sumber: Harian Metro

Islam

MELALUI gambar kita cepat mengenali seseorang, le bih-lebih lagi dari sudut wajah yang bukan saja memantulkan ketampanan dan keayuan, malah melukiskan watak serta sikap individu terbabit.

Bagi sesetengah pihak seperti selebriti dan ahli politik, gambar memainkan peranan penting khususnya dalam me raih populariti, tetapi pada masa sama, gambar juga men jatuhkan maruah seseorang dalam sekelip mata.

Secara umum gambar adalah satu medium komunikasi yang sangat berpengaruh dan kerana itu hari ini kita dibanjiri dengan pelbagai jenis dan bentuknya, termasuk yang bersifat fitnah, kurang sopan dan berunsur lucah.

Bagaimanapun, Islam mengharamkan gambar kurang sopan dan berunsur lucah, tidak kira ia datang dalam bentuk apa sekali pun, sama ada hasil daya kreativiti melalui kemahiran tangan, media cetak mahupun elektronik.

Tetapi apakah pengharaman mengenainya terhenti setakat itu saja?

Bagaimana dengan yang lain, misalnya gambar dihasilkan melalui teknik fotografi, lukisan potret, anak patung mainan dan ukiran berupa makhluk?

Al-Bukhari dan Muslim ada meriwayatkan hadis daripada Aisyah r.a yang berkata: “Rasulullah s.a.w kembali dari pelayaran dan saya menutup sehelai kain di dinding yang padanya ada gambar lukisan.

“Apabila Rasulullah s.a.w melihat gambar itu, serta-merta bertukar warna wajahnya, lalu berkata: ‘Wahai Aisyah! Se berat-berat seksa yang diterima oleh seseorang daripada Allah pada hari kiamat ialah orang yang cuba meniru rupa makhluk Allah.’

“Selepas mendengar ancaman Rasulullah itu saya pun mengambil kain lukisan itu dan saya potong-potongkan untuk dijadikan kain alas bantal.”

Menurut Abdullah Nasih Ulwan dalam buku Pendidikan Anak-Anak Dalam Islam, hadis terbabit menunjukkan peng haraman gambar dan patung, sama ada ia berbentuk, ber bayang, dibuat untuk diagungkan atau tidak kerana semua itu penyerupaan dengan penciptaan Allah.

Cuma, katanya, yang dikecualikan daripada gambar tadi iaitu melukis gambar seperti pohon dan rumah iaitu yang tiada roh padanya.

Ini sebagaimana diriwayatkan al-Bukhari daripada Said bin Abul Hasan, katanya: “Pernah pada suatu hari aku berada di majlis Ibnu Abbas r.a, tiba-tiba datang kepadanya seorang lelaki lalu berkata: ‘Hai Ibnu Abbas! Sesungguhnya aku ini, mata pencarianku daripada kerja seni tanganku dan aku membuat gambar-gambar dan patung-patung itu, apa ka tamu?’

Lalu Ibnu Abbas menjawab kepada orang yang bertanya itu: “Aku tidak akan memberitahumu melainkan apa yang aku sendiri mendengar daripada Rasulullah s.a.w sebagai ja wapanku.

“Aku mendengar baginda berkata: ‘Sesiapa yang meng gambar suatu gambar (patung yang berjisim), sesungguhnya Allah akan menyeksanya sehingga dia dapat meniupkan roh padanya sama sekali.’”

Mendengar jawapan Ibnu Abbas, orang itu kelihatan sangat gelisah kerana tidak senang mendengar jawapan terbabit dan berasa tersinggung.

Ibnu Abbas berkata lagi kepadanya: “Celaka engkau! Ki ranya engkau mesti menggambarkan atau melukis juga, buatlah gambar-gambar pepohon, gambar pemandangan dan apa saja gambar yang tidak mempunyai roh.” (Hadis riwayat Bukhari)

Menurut Abdullah, dibenarkan juga daripada jenis patung permainan untuk kanak-kanak kerana tiada padanya tujuan untuk mengagungkan atau menimbulkan bangga diri dan sombong.

Ini sebagaimana diriwayatkan al-Bukhari dan Muslim da ripada Aisyah, Ummul Mukminin r.a yang berkata: “Dahulu pernah aku bermain anak-anak seperti juga anak-anak pe rempuan yang lain di sisi Rasulullah s.a.w.

“Kemudian datang kepadaku teman-temanku dan mereka sentiasa bersembunyi daripada Rasulullah s.a.w kerana takut kepadanya, padahal Rasulullah berasa gembira melihat me reka datang untuk bermain-main denganku.”

Di dalam riwayat Abu Daud pula, Nabi s.a.w berkata kepada Aisyah suatu hari: “Apa ni?” Jawab Aisyah: “Ini anak-anak perempuanku.” Kata baginda lagi: “Apa yang di tengah-te ngah ini?” Jawabnya: “Kuda.”

Tanya baginda: “Apa ini yang di atasnya?” Jawabnya: “Dua kepak.” Kata baginda: “Kuda ada dua kepak?” Jawabnya: “Apakah kau tidak pernah dengar yang (Nabi) Sulaiman bin Daud ada kuda yang berkepak?”

Nabi s.a.w pun ketawa geli hati, sehingga kelihatan gigi-gigi gerahamnya.”

Asy-Syaukani berkata: “Ternyata dari hadis ini ada dalil yang membolehkan kita memberikan anak-anak kecil patung permainan yang berupa, umpamanya bentuk pengantin suami isteri.”

Tetapi Imam Malik meriwayatkan pula, makruh bagi orang lelaki membelikan anak patung untuk anak perempuannya.

Al-Qadhi Iyadh berkata: “Bermain anak patung yang ber bentuk anak perempuan untuk anak perempuan adalah harus.”

Abdullah berkata, antara hal yang menarik perhatian kita, apabila gambar ini bertujuan bukan untuk dibesar-besarkan dan tidak sempurna bentuknya, ia halal dan boleh di manfaatkan.

Mengenai gambar dengan alat fotografi, iaitu kamera, beliau mengatakan secara menyeluruh termasuk dalam nas yang mengharamkan, melainkan gambar yang wajib dan memang ketara kebaikannya.

Ini seperti gambar untuk kad pengenalan, pasport, gambar orang jahat dan orang yang dituduh disebabkan semua ini termasuk dalam kaedah umum yang mengatakan darurat itu mengharuskan yang dilarang.

Bagi Pensyarah Kanan di Institut Islam Toronto, Ontario, Kanada, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, fotografi sebagai medium komunikasi tidak jatuh dalam kategori gambar yang di larang.

Menurutnya, Nabi s.a.w memang mengutuk orang yang membuat gambar dan ukiran yang melambangkan patung kerana ia membawa kepada syirik, selaras dengan kaedah usul fiqah (prinsip perundangan Islam) sesuatu yang membawa kepada haram ia adalah haram.

Tetapi, katanya, fungsi fotografi hari ini tidak jatuh kepada kategori terbabit, malah sesetengah ulama yang dahulunya mengecam keras fotografi kemudian menukar posisi terhadap hukum berkenaan.

“Malah, mereka juga membenarkan gambar mereka diambil untuk disiarkan dalam akhbar, syarahan melalui rakaman video dan pembentangan.

“Sebelum ini mereka hanya membenarkan dalam kes pengecualian seperti urusan pasport, lesen memandu dan sebagainya.

“Perubahan pandangan mereka terhadap fotografi adalah berasaskan penilaian mereka ke atas peranan fotografi,” katanya.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, seseorang tidak boleh membuat kenyataan yang semua fotografi adalah halal (dibenarkan).

“Ia bergantung kepada penggunaan dan fungsinya. Jika ia untuk tujuan pendidikan serta tidak dicemari dengan tujuan sanjungan dan penyembahan, ia tidak dilarang,” katanya.

Sementara itu, menurut Dr Yusuf al-Qardhawi, melalui bukunya Halal dan Haram Dalam Islam, menghasilkan gambar dengan alat fotografi (kamera), yang paling dekat dengan jiwa syariat Islam dalam permasalahan ini ialah dibolehkan dan jika tidak pun hukumnya jatuh makruh.

“Itupun kalau gambar yang diambil tidak termasuk gambar yang diharamkan oleh Islam seperti gambar yang me nampakkan tempat sulit kaum wanita atau lelaki yang boleh menimbulkan fitnah atau menggambarkan lelaki sedang bercium-ciuman dengan wanita atau seumpamanya,” katanya.