Foto elemen kehidupan – Yaman Ibrahim

22 12 2010

Sumber : Kosmo

SUDAH hampir satu jam Yaman Ibrahim, 44, berdiri berhampiran sebuah gerai durian yang terletak di kaki lima berhampiran Jalan Alor di kawasan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur itu.

Tangannya yang menggenggam erat kamera lensa refleks tunggal digital (DSLR) jenis Nikon D3 yang disangkut pada leher dirasakan sedikit kebas, kakinya juga tidak terkecuali. Bagaimanapun, lelaki bertubuh rendah dan berbadan sasa ini, masih belum berganjak dari tempatnya.

Yaman sedar ada mata-mata liar yang memerhatikannya. Namun, dia tidak ambil pusing. Perhatiannya masih tertumpu di hadapan gerai peniaga berketurunan Cina itu.

Dia tidak mahu terlepas sebarang aksi dan gelagat pelanggan yang singgah di gerai itu, jika tidak sia-sia dia bergelumang dengan debu dan menghirup asap kenderaan yang lalu-lalang.

Jika beberapa tahun lalu, Yaman tidak bersusah-payah begitu. Selaku pengarah kanan kreatif dan multimedia di sebuah syarikat penerbitan di ibu negara, dia mempunyai unit jurugambar yang boleh diarahkan melakukan tugas itu.

Dia boleh duduk selesa di atas kerusi empuk ruang pejabatnya yang berhawa dingin, cukup bulan terima gaji. Namun, kepuasan yang hilang dalam berkreativiti akhirnya menyebabkan lelaki itu rela melepaskan keselesaan yang dikecapinya. Dia mahu mengejar impiannya menjadi seorang jurufoto.

Mencipta gambar

Lamunannya terhenti secara tiba-tiba. Dua orang pelancong asing yang melintas di hadapan gerai menarik perhatiannya. Tatkala si bapa berjalan tenang, si anak pula kelihatan seperti terseksa menikmati aroma durian yang tajam.

Yaman tersenyum puas, itulah aksi yang ditunggu-tunggu. Reaksi spontan kanak-kanak itu menutup hidung dengan bajunya, memegang perut dan mimik muka loya akhirnya tersimpan rapi dalam memori kamera Yaman.

Biarpun ia dirakamkan kira-kira dua tahun lalu, namun ia sesuatu yang besar bagi Yaman. Gambar yang menceritakan wajah-wajah di Kuala Lumpur itu telah diangkat sebagai pemenang tempat pertama pertandingan fotografi Picture KL 2008.

“Gambar yang baik tidak selalu datang kepada kita. Kita perlu mencari, melihat dan mencipta gambar, agar gambar yang dihasilkan tidak sama seperti orang lain,” katanya berfalsafah.

Anak kelahiran Pasir Mas, Kelantan itu berkata, biarpun berkebolehan menghasilkan karya yang mencakupi pelbagai tema, namun dia lebih selesa merakamkan fotografi berbentuk dokumentari dan jalanan.

Ujarnya, elemen kehidupan dan kemanusiaan yang sering mendasari kedua-dua tema itu cukup dekat dengan jiwanya dan menarik untuk diterjemahkan melalui lensa kamera. Merakamkan gelagat manusia di jalanan menjadi kegemaran Yaman. Kata Yaman, fotografi di jalanan lebih dekat untuk menggambarkan kehidupan sebenar rakyat Malaysia.

“Saya gemar merakam gambar-gambar yang mempunyai mesej cerita, ekspresi dan emosi kerana ia mampu menghubungkan jiwa-jiwa manusia,” jelasnya yang menetap di Bukit Antarabangsa, Kuala Lumpur.

Namun, kata Yaman, bermain dengan subjek hidup seperti manusia memerlukan seseorang jurugambar memahami pelbagai faktor bagi menonjolkan subjek tersebut.

Tambah Yaman, faktor kedudukan subjek, pencahayaan dan teknik yang betul bagaimana untuk berinteraksi dengan subjek penting bagi memastikan foto yang dirakamkan menarik dan tidak kaku.

“Ia ibarat menghasilkan lukisan di atas kanvas kerana selain memerlukan pengetahuan tentang fotografi, seseorang itu perlu kreatif dan sedikit sebanyak mempunyai jiwa seni,” katanya yang berpengalaman bekerja di dalam bidang penerbitan lebih lapan tahun. Pengalaman tersebut banyak membantunya memahami aspek dimensi dan pengimejan dengan lebih jelas.

Kebetulan pemegang Ijazah Sarjana Muda Sastera dan Diploma Pendidikan dari Universiti Malaya (UM) ini berdarah seni.

“Dulu saya sering melukis mural di sekolah. Malah, ketika bergelar guru sebelum ini pun saya turut mengajar subjek pendidikan seni,” kata bapa kepada dua cahaya mata iaitu Farahanis, 19 dan Faris, 16.

Menurut Yaman, pembabitannya dalam bidang fotografi bermula kira-kira empat tahun lalu.

Dia mendekati anak-anak buahnya untuk belajar fungsi teknikal kamera DSLR. Internet dan laman-laman rangkaian perkongsian sosial seperti Flikr juga membantunya. Malah, dia juga tidak malu menyertai kelas fotografi.

“Saya berhenti kerja dua tahun lalu dan sejak itu saya tidak mahu menoleh ke belakang lagi,” katanya.

Perkenalannya dengan rakan-rakan sealiran seperti Bazuki Muhammad, seorang jurugambar profesional yang terkenal di kalangan pengamal media dan peminat fotografi di negara ini banyak membantunya mendalami bidang tersebut.

Bagaimanapun, perjalanannya penuh ranjau berduri. Bidang itu bukan sahaja menuntut kesabaran yang tinggi malah pengorbanan dari segi masa, tenaga dan wang ringgit.

Pengalaman diherdik oleh sekumpulan wanita ketika Yaman asyik mengambil gambar mereka membeli-belah di sebuah pasar raya, pelanggan yang memperlekehkan karyanya sedikit pun tidak melunturkan semangatnya.

“Itu merupakan asam garam yang perlu dilalui oleh seorang jurugambar. Saya positif, tiada istilah kecewa sebaliknya hanya keinginan untuk memperbaiki diri,” kata Yaman.

Melihat karya yang tersimpan di studio miliknya, Neo Edition yang terletak di Taman Danau Kota, Setapak, Kuala Lumpur jelas Yaman gemar menjadikan kanak-kanak dan warga emas sebagai subjek utamanya.

Merakamkan gambar kanak-kanak satu kepuasan kerana ekspresi dan emosi yang dipamerkan tulus dan ikhlas. Mereka tidak berpura-pura.

Terbitkan buku

“Begitu juga dengan warga emas, saya suka mendengar pengalaman hidup mereka. Sedikit sebanyak kisah itu saya cuba tonjolkan melalui lensa kamera,” ujarnya sering mendapat galakan isterinya, Rita Aziz, 30.

Sejak itu, Yaman aktif mengembara hampir ke seluruh pelosok negara bagi mendapatkan rakaman terbaik di samping meneroka kepelbagaian masyarakat serta adat dan budayanya.

Kunjungannya di sebuah kedai buku kerana mahu mencari bahan rujukan mengenai fotografi Malaysia membuatkan lelaki itu tersedar daripada lena.

Selama ini, kebanyakan bahan rujukan yang terjual dipasaran dihasilkan dari kaca mata orang luar. Lidahnya kelu melihat nama-nama Inggeris tertera pada senarai nama penulis, jurugambar dan penerbit. Rata-ratanya bukan anak tempatan.

Situasi itu menyemarakkan semangat Yaman untuk menerbitkan buku bertajuk, Malaysia The Walk of Life yang diterbitkan bulan lalu.

Buku yang mengandungi 180 keping gambar koleksi peribadi Yaman yang dikumpulkannya sejak lima tahun lalu itu dihasilkan dalam versi bahasa Inggeris.

“Saya harap buku ini mampu menceritakan perspektif budaya, adat resam dan masyarakat di negara ini dengan lebih dekat kepada pelancong asing.

“Saya berharap untuk menjelajah ke negara-negara Asia dan bercadang menerbitkan buku yang sama mengenainya,” jelasnya.

Bersempena pelancaran buku terbaru itu, Yaman turut mengadakan pameran fotografi bertajuk, Malaysia The Walk of Life yang akan diadakan bermula 29 Disember 2010 hingga 14 Januari 2011 di Map KL, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur.

Adakah Yaman menyesal meninggalkan dunia seni bina yang boleh memberikan masa depan yang jauh lebih baik daripada menjadi seorang jurugambar?

Jawab Yaman, fotografi adalah kerjaya yang serasi dengan jiwanya dan mampu memberinya kepuasan.

“Saya sering mengingatkan diri, jika orang lain boleh buat, kenapa tidak saya,” ujarnya penuh makna.





Sabah in her lens

6 10 2010

SWEDISH photographer Maria Espeus’ black and white expressions of the dramatic Sabah rainforest are scattered throughout GTower.

GTower developer, Goldis Bhd’s executive chairman Tan Lei Cheng had chanced upon some work that Espeus did on the Philippines and commissioned her to produce a collection for the tower.

The result of two months of work is over 3,000 black and white images of mostly misty panoramas of Sabah’s forests and dramatic valleys and close-ups of the luxuriant flora, such as orchids, foliage, and the intricate tangle of root systems.

“When I arrived in Sabah, I didn’t have the slightest idea of how its reality was going to overwhelm me,” recalls Espeus (pic, left) in an e-mail interview.

“I didn’t know much about Malaysia before coming here. All the information I had gathered in preparation for the trip was nothing more than an attempt to grasp something ineffable that I sensed and which resonated inside me.”

From Kota Kinabalu, Espeus travelled to Tambunan and Tenom along with an assistant and a guide (a New Zealnder, strangely enough). The team later returned to Kota Kinabalu to continue on to the Kinabalu mountains, Poring Hot Springs, Kundasang, Sandakan, Danau Girang and finally the Danum Valley, famed for its rich biodiversity.

“I was fascinated by the variety of flora, especially the orchids,” says Espeus, explaining why many of her pictures highlight the delicate beauty of these blooms.

“My objective at first was to make an inventory of the plant life in Sabah, but that is a task beyond my scope, I realised. So I tried to sum up the spirit and the magic of that nature by using one part, perhaps a flower, a leaf or a root, to represent the whole.

A lovely study of a wild orchid

“My fascination with and amazement at my surroundings made me forget any adaptation problems,” she says when asked how she coped with the sweltering heat and humidity of Sabah’s forests.

“Photography is my way of expressing my emotions. However, I am not trying to capture anecdotes or freeze time. I don’t want to reproduce reality nor do I aspire to be objective. I am more attracted to the possibility of transmuting that reality into another subjective reality, one that is more typical of poetic language.”

Espeus began her professional career in Sweden but soon began working internationally, publishing works in prestigious titles such as The New York Times, Vogue, La Vanguardia and Time magazine. She has also directed documentaries, advertisements and films, and won a Silver Lion in Cannes 2002 for the film Origenes: Ano Internacional Gaudi.

She has photographed many fashion spreads and celebrities, among them, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, Placido Domingo, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Antonio Banderas, Juan Antonio Samaranch and Montserrat Caballe.





Trip to Turkey for winner

6 10 2010

The Star Online

SOME 2,000 photo enthusiasts are expected to take part in the annual Canon PhotoMarathon 2010 in Penang on Oct 16.

This is the first time the marathon is being held in Penang since the competition’s inaugural edition in 2007, and participants are in for an outdoor adventure at the George Town World Heritage Site.

The marathon, which will be held from 9am to 8pm, is organised like a treasure hunt with different stations within the vicinity of the island where themes will be handed out to test participant’s creativity and photography skills.

The event is open to all photography enthusiasts using either EOS DSLR or compact cameras.

Participation is free for Canon users but non-Canon users need to pay a RM100 registration fee at the event venue.

Participants will be flagged off from the base at the Tanjung City Marina at Weld Quay and given a few pit-stop locations where they can collect their themes.

After collecting all their themes, they are required to head back to the base to download their photos at the workstations there, then select and submit one best shot of each theme. Participants using other formats apart from CF/SD must supply their own adaptors or drives.

The grand prize for the overall winner is a trip to Turkey for a Photo Clinic and an EOS 1D Mark IV camera.

EOS 1D Mark 4 Camera





Dalami ilmu lensa

6 10 2010

Laporan dan foto NOR HUSAINI NOR MAJID (METRO)

KAMERA jenis refleksi lensa tunggal digital (DSLR) kini umpama satu aksesori atau gajet wajib buat remaja masa kini. Semakin ramai remaja dilihat bersama kamera sedemikian atau bergambar menggunakannya.

Namun tidak ramai tahu secara mendalam fungsi dan penggunaan kamera sedemikian, sebaliknya hanya menggunakannya secara asas.

Di sebalik itu, sekumpulan remaja yang meminati fotografi berusaha ke arah mendalami ilmu serta seni bidang itu.

Seorang daripada remaja berkenaan, Danial Nuruddin Azlan, 16, berkata dia meminati fotografi sejak sekolah rendah kerana tertarik dengan kebolehan jurugambar terkenal merakam detik dan pemandangan indah.

Menurutnya, dia melihat gambar yang dirakam jurugambar berkenaan sebagai hasil seni luar biasa dan memerlukan kemahiran tinggi.

Remaja yang mesra dengan panggilan Danial itu yang menjadikan alam sekitar sebagai inspirasi, turut mendapat sokongan keluarga.

Dia yang turut berkongsi hobi itu dengan adiknya, Dinna Natasya Azlan, 14, sentiasa tidak puas untuk belajar mengenai selok-belok bidang berkenaan kerana dunia seni fotografi sentiasa berkembang sama ada revolusi kamera itu sendiri mahupun kemahiran seseorang jurugambar.

“Saya sebenarnya suka melihat alam sekitar seperti pantai, hutan serta air terjun, dan dengan minat itu akhirnya tercetus pula minat dalam bidang fotografi bila saya mula menggemari aktiviti merakam gambar keindahan alam.

“Dunia fotografi dan hobi baru ini lebih membawa saya untuk bergaul dengan ramai kawan. Jika sebelum ini saya lebih banyak menghabiskan masa di depan komputer bermain permainan komputer, tetapi kini beralih kepada bidang seni sebegini,” katanya.

Danial juga menjadikan karya Michael Yamashita sebagai sumber untuk mendapat ilham dalam menghasilkan gambar menarik.

Menurutnya, dia meminati Yamashita kerana sentuhannya sangat menarik dan banyak bermain dengan unsur alam sekitar.

Dinna Natasya atau lebih mesra dengan panggilan Tasha pula meminati fotografi dan menjadikannya sebagai hobi sejak belajar di Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Bukit Gambir.

Menurutnya, minatnya semakin bercambah apabila sekolahnya mewujudkan kelab fotografi dan memberi

“Saya mengikuti kelab ini kerana ingin menambah ilmu fotografi dan juga menghasilkan gambar menarik seperti idola saya iaitu Zainal Abdul Halim, bekas jurugambar Reuters.

“Kalau boleh, saya ingin mengikuti bengkel yang dijalankan oleh Zainal kerana pengalamannya yang luas dalam bidang terbabit,” katanya.

Tasha juga bercita-cita menjadi jurugambar profesional dan mungkin bekerja dengan agensi media terkenal seperti Reuters atau National Geography.

“Sebab itu saya ingin belajar sebanyak mungkin mengenai bidang fotografi supaya satu hari nanti cita-cita saya tercapai dan mungkin menjadi jurugambar wanita pertama di Malaysia bekerja dengan agensi media dunia itu,” katanya.

Seorang lagi rakan mereka yang berkongsi minat sama, Siti Afiqah Hashim, 14, pula meminati fotografi kerana suka melihat gambar menarik di Internet selain jurugambar bekerja, terutama yang merakam detik bersejarah seperti majlis perkahwinan dan perayaan di Malaysia.

Dia yang lebih mesra dengan panggilan Fiqah meminati bidang fotografi potret dan jalanan kerana menurutnya fotografi jenis itu memberi impak mendalam kepada orang yang melihat gambar itu.

Selain merujuk kepada Internet, Fiqah membaca majalah serta buku berkaitan fotografi selain keluar untuk mencuba sesuatu yang di belajar bersama rakan dan ahli kelab.

“Saya selalu melayari laman web seperti Big Picture (www.boston.com/BigPicture) dan Getty Images (www.gettyimages.com) untuk melihat gambar menarik dari seluruh dunia.

“Di samping itu, saya sering bertukar-tukar pendapat dengan rakan seperti Tasha dan Danial dalam mendapatkan idea serta teknik baru fotografi,” katanya.
Ketiga-tiga mereka dan ahli kelab berkenaan kini mendapat tunjuk ajar daripada Azizan Aziz dari Strobist Master yang sering menganjurkan bengkel seni fotografi.





Tips : Take Better iPhone Camera Pictures

28 09 2009

iphone1Your iPhone may not be a DSLR, but under the right circumstances it can take some pretty fantastic digital photos. It wasn’t more than five years ago that three megapixel cameras were extremely common in basic consumer photography. Now you have one built into your cellphone! By manually taking the steps most cameras now do automatically, you’ll be able to take digital photos that look as great as any point-and-shoot.

Step 1 – The two most basic differences between an iPhone and a “real digital camera” are noise and flash. Now that the resolution has improved, these are the last hurdles in achieving truly great digital photos. Both of these problems can be taken care of at once by adding more light to your photos. No matter how well lit a picture is, get more light in there! It may look ok on the screen when you’re taking it, but adding more let will allow the phone to shoot faster, clearer digital photos.

Step 2 – Stabilize the camera. Part of the way the iPhone compensates for low light is by taking digital photos slowly. This lets the lens absorb more light to expose the photo. If you move as you’re taking the picture, it’s going to come out blurry. Keep that camera as steady as possible and your digital photos will turn out alright. Brace your arms against your body, or even try holding your breath. Anything to make you move less. Next to setting the camera on something, you best option is to find something to lean on.

Step 3 – Your movement isn’t the only thing you have to worry about. The more the subject of your digital photos is moving, the higher risk of you’ll have of those digital photos turning out blurry. It’s great to strike a pose, but can your subject keep it? Where are they standing? What kind of surface are they on? Are they going to get uncomfortable? Make sure your subject knows they have to stay very still. If all else fails, ditch your friends and go take some digital photos of a rock or park bench. That’ll show them.

Step 4 – The iPhone has some automatic focus, exposure, and white balance features. These are the real tricks for something professionally taking digital photos – and you can use them too. Older phones had to make sure the subject of their digital photos was about 8-10 feet away in order to be in focus. The camera also had to use a small aperture to keep everything in focus, resulting in a darker and more noisy photo. Now you can move your subject a good distanct away from their background, tap directly on them to ensure they’re the focal point of the digital photos, and take the picture.





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.





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.