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.


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.

Spektrum Ikram

22 03 2009

ikram11Tatkala kualiti dan kreativiti menyatu, lahirlah pesona yang membuka 1,001 cerita…

TENTU ramai masih terkenang detik bersejarah persandingan penyanyi tersohor, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza dengan suami tercinta, Datuk Seri Khalid Mohd Jiwa, dua tahun lalu.

Persandingan gilang-gemilang yang mendapat jolokan ‘Wedding of the Year’ itu mendapat liputan luas media cetak dan elektronik rantau ini. Bukan saja seri mempelai menjadi topik hangat di warung kopi mahupun lobi hotel, malah foto indah yang diabadikan personaliti XY – Ikon Lelaki minggu ini mencuri perhatian.

Nyata majlis gilang-gemilang itu membuka ruang publisiti buat anak jati Kuala Lumpur ini dalam dunia fotografi kreatif tanah air. Tempoh 18 tahun mengabdikan diri dalam bidang fotografi nyata mematangkan Ikram.

Namun, biarpun sudah lama memegang lensa kamera, Ikram yang mencurahkan kreativitinya dalam penghasilan potret, penggambaran fesyen, fotografi seni halus dan majlis perkahwinan mengakui masih banyak yang perlu dilakukan.

“Bagi saya, setiap subjek fotografi adalah medium baru pelajaran. Tidak kiralah kita masih baru ataupun sudah lama dalam bidang ini, pembelajaran berterusan itu perlu untuk kita mencuba sesuatu yang baru.

“Bermula dari itu, pasti ada teknik terkini dan secara tidak langsung memberi idea baru serta pengalaman untuk dimanfaatkan,” katanya penuh bersemangat.

Setia menggunakan empat kamera digital jenis Nikon iaitu D70, D100 serta dua model D200, Ikram memulakan kerjaya awal sebagai pereka grafik pada 1989, sebelum berjinak-jinak menjadi pembantu merangkap jurugambar, setahun kemudian.

Menyedari minatnya lebih terarah dalam seni fotografi, bapa kepada empat orang cahaya mata ini memilih terus berkarya dalam dunia fotografi dengan sebuah syarikat penerbitan di ibu negara. Selain terbabit dalam tenaga kerja kreatif untuk penggambaran kulit muka depan majalah, Ikram juga terbabit dalam sesi fotografi fesyen dan grooming.

“Selepas 16 tahun bekerja untuk majalah, saya mengambil keputusan nekad bergerak sendiri dan memberi tumpuan untuk fotografi perkahwinan. Sesekali saya membuat grooming dan penggambaran fesyen jika ada tawaran.

“Alhamdulillah, setakat ini saya puas dengan apa yang saya lakukan. Saya juga mendapat maklum balas baik daripada pelanggan yang kebanyakannya diperkenalkan pelanggan lain,” katanya yang berhasrat mengadakan pameran fotografi seni halus ilham peribadinya suatu hari nanti.

ikram2Ditanya apakah beliau mewarisi bakat seni fotografi keluarganya, tanpa berselindung Ikram mengakui bapanya, Ismail Abu Bakar pernah bertugas sebagai penyunting untuk Filem Negara Malaysia.

Ikram teringat bilik gelap untuk memproses gambar di rumah yang dihuni keluarga ketika beliau masih kecil.

“Bapa ada juga membangkitkan mengapa gambar album perkahwinan yang saya abadikan mempunyai imej kasut, cincin, bunga dan banyak barangan lagi. Mengikut konteks sekarang, objek terbabit dianggap elemen kreatif melengkapi jalan cerita sebuah perkahwinan.

“Jika dilihat foto perkahwinan zaman dulu, ia hanya membabitkan imej penuh pengantin tanpa memfokuskan aksesori dan elemen penyeri lain,” katanya sambil tertawa mengenangkan perbualan dengan bapanya mengenai dunia fotografi sekarang.

Panjang lebar cerita suka duka yang direncanakan Ikram sepanjang mencongak perjalanan hidupnya sebagai jurugambar kreatif. Daripada kamera negatif filem hinggalah era digital, pemuda berusia 38 tahun ini terus ligat menyusun kata untuk tatapan pembaca XY – Ikon Lelaki…

Ceritakan serba sedikit latar belakang Ikram?

Sebenarnya, saya terbabit dalam dunia fotografi secara tidak langsung. Bermula sebagai pereka grafik, saya beralih kepada bidang fotografi kerana minat lebih ke bidang itu. Tetapi, saya bersyukur kerana bidang grafik banyak membantu saya tampil lebih kreatif dan menyunting gambar.

Berapa lama berkecimpung dalam bidang fotografi?

Sudah 18 tahun… Meskipun lama berkecimpung dalam bidang ini, saya tetap menganggap setiap penggambaran fotografi sebagai medium baru pembelajaran.

Apakah Ikram mempunyai trademark tersendiri?

Seperti tugasan fotografi perkahwinan, saya lebih cenderung menghasilkan jalan cerita dalam bentuk gambar yang dimuatkan dalam album perkahwinan. Selain itu, elemen kreatif sarat saya muatkan sebagai pelengkap tarikan sesiapa yang menatap album itu.

Kepuasan merakamkan gambar bagi Ikram?

Kepuasan bagi saya apabila orang lain menghargai hasil penat lelah kita mengabadikan kreativiti dalam bentuk gambar. Interaksi begitulah yang menyemarakkan lagi idea dan semangat untuk terus bekerja keras.

Antara fotografi di studio dan penggambaran di luar, yang mana memberi lebih kepuasan?

Jujurnya penggambaran luar lebih memberi kepuasan. Selain lokasi dan mood pencahayaan, kita dapat bermain pelbagai elemen untuk menghasilkan lebih cerita dalam gambar yang dirakamkan. Berbanding studio, lampu yang banyak mencorak hasil gambar.

Senario fotografi di Malaysia mengikut perspektif anda?

Saya lihat semakin ramai ingin menjadi jurugambar. Apatah lagi, ketika ini mudah mendapatkan hasil gambar kerana teknologi kamera digital yang membolehkan hasil foto terus dilihat. Ini suatu persaingan sihat sekali gus menunjukkan ramai peminat fotografi di Malaysia.

Siapa jurufoto idola Ikram?

Jurugambar kelahiran Amerika Syarikat, Patrick Demarchlier yang banyak terbabit dalam penggambaran fotografi fesyen. Beliau menerapkan elemen seni halus dalam foto yang diabadikan.

Boleh anda terjemah keindahan sesuatu sesebuah foto?

Seperti sebuah lukisan, sesuatu foto akan meninggalkan kesan andai kita mampu menterjemahkan perasaan, keindahan, kesedihan dari sudut pencahayaan dan warna untuk hasil penuh subjektif.

Terangkan personaliti Iqram?

Saya seorang yang sederhana serta merendah diri dalam pelbagai perkara.

Tugasan paling meninggalkan kesan mendalam dan meningkatkan portfolio Ikram?

Banyak antaranya persandingan mega Datuk Siti Nurhaliza yang banyak membuka ruang publisiti hasil kerja saya kepada selebriti lain seperti Nora Danish, Aleeza Kasim dan Erra Fazira. Banyak juga tawaran untuk perkahwinan orang ternama diterima.

Impian fotografi Ikram?

Saya mengimpikan mengadakan galeri fotografi berkisarkan gambar seni halus yang jarang diketengahkan di Malaysia. Ketika ini, masyarakat lebih tertumpu kepada galeri lukisan berbanding fotografi.

Hobi Ikram waktu lapang?

Saya suka bersantai bersama keluarga serta merakamkan gambar subjek dan alam semula jadi. Puas jika saya dapat merakamkan imej seni halus di mana sesuatu subjek itu dapat dicetuskan melalui elemen kreatifi.

Siapa yang memberikan sumber inspirasi buat Ikram dalam dunia fotografi?

Arwah ibu saya, Rahmah Lasim. Saya sentiasa ingat, arwah banyak berjasa kerana faham minat saya dalam dunia fotografi. Malah, beg kamera pertama milik saya bernilai RM60 adalah pemberian arwah.

Di manakah lokasi penggambaran fotografi di Malaysia yang menjadi kegemaran?

Saya memilih Bako Island di Sarawak. Saya temui lokasi hebat ini ketika mengikuti rombongan Tourism Malaysia ke Sarawak. Banyak lokasinya cukup menakjubkan untuk diterokai, apatah lagi untuk penggambaran fotografi.

Perkara yang mungkin orang tidak tahu mengenai Ikram?

Selain terbabit dalam fotografi perkahwinan, saya sebenarnya berminat merakamkan gambar seni halus. Saya mempunyai beberapa koleksi peribadi hasil penggambaran yang dilakukan pada waktu lapang. Antara lokasi kegemaran ialah di pantai Pangkalan Balak, Melaka yang sering dikunjungi ketika pulang kampung mentua.

Ikram dalam tempoh 10 tahun akan datang?

Mungkin lebih banyak travel dan mengurangkan kerja seperti sekarang. Semestinya fotografi tetap menjadi keutamaan.

Pesan Ikram kepada penggemar fotografi?

Pertama sekali, mesti banyak melihat hasil gambar, kerap bertanya kepada jurugambar berpengalaman serta bijak mencuba sesuatu yang baru. Seperti kamera digital, dalam setahun begitu banyak model baru dipasarkan menyebabkan kita harus ke depan.


Nama: Mohd Ikram Ismail

Umur: 38 tahun

Tarikh lahir: 25 April 1970

Tempat lahir: Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur

Tinggi: 160 sentimeter

Berat: 78 kilogram


Laman web:

Enam wajah fotogenik pilihan Ikram Ismail…

# Datuk Siti Nurhaliza # Erra Fazira # Sofea Jane # Tengku Azura # Ida Nerina # Amber Chia

Soraya Yusof Talismail : Gambar bagaikan lukisan

19 12 2008
ANTARA foto kreatif yang dirakam oleh Soraya.

ANTARA foto kreatif yang dirakam oleh Soraya.

Soraya dedah rahsia jadi jurugambar tersohor

“SEKIRANYA ingin bergelar jurugambar berjaya, kita perlu menjadi jurugambar berbeza, tetapi yang berbeza itulah yang selalunya menyebabkan orang betul-betul suka atau tidak. Ini bukan satu masalah. Yang penting buat saja’, katanya, berkongsi resipi menjadi jurugambar tersohor negara.

Sebagai seorang yang disleksik dan pesakit dibetik Type I, Soraya tidak menganggap ini adalah halangan untuk beliau terus melanjutkan pelajarannya di pusat penggajian tinggi. Soraya mengimbau zaman kuliahnya di ITM yang mana beliau seringkali diejek sebagai ‘ayam injek’ oleh ‘senior’ dan tidak disukai oleh sesetengah pelajar dan pensyarah kerana kerap bertanya dan keinginan untuk membuat lebih dari apa yang dikehendaki. Beliau banyak membaca dan mengkaji. Mengkaji adalah ‘trademark’ disleksik. Sekiranya seseorang disleksik minat tentang sesuatu, dia akan mengkaji dengan lebih mendalam.

“Saya bukan pelajar yang disukai oleh penyarah, kerana saya sering bertanya dan ingin mengetahui sesuatu perkara dengan mendalam. Disebabkan itulah kadangkala saya dilihat kurang sopan, sedangkan saya inginkan sesuatu dengan alasan konkrit, bukan mengikut teori semata-mata,” katanya tersenyum mengimbau kenangan semasa bergelar pelajar dulu.

Pembabitan dalam fotografi, permulaan agak ganjil. Ketika zaman remaja, meminati kumpulan pop rock Inggeris, Duran Duran, khususnya pemain keybord, Nick Rhodes.

“Nick menggunakan kamera Nikon di dalam klip video James Bond bertemakan ‘A View to a Kill’ dan itulah kebetulannya. Tetapi apabila mula membabitkan diri dalam fotografi, saya mula merasakan keperluan untuk serius,” katanya.

KARYA berjudul 'Where Is Chin Kon Yit'.

KARYA berjudul 'Where Is Chin Kon Yit'.

Bergerak sebagai jurugambar persendirian, bukan saja perlu ‘berbeza’ tetapi serentak dengan itu memastikan kualiti persembahan, sementelah, menerima bayaran untuk setiap hasil kerja dilangsaikan.

“Setiap gambar miliki jiwa, dan apabila jurugambar itu berjaya merakamkan perasaan orang yang dirakam, itulah jiwa yang terpancar menerusinya. Sebelum melakukan tugasan, perlu kita ketahui di mana ‘kekuatan’ subjek. Sama ada pada senyuman atau bundar mata pemiliknya. Individu tidak perlu memberitahu hal ini, sebaliknya jurugambar seharusnya arif ‘membaca’,” katanya.

Menghasilkan sajian sedemikian’, kesabaran dan minat adalah rencah utama di dalamnya. Baginya mood, individu dengan gaya bersahaja atau mungkin juga gaya spontan, boleh melahirkan buah tangan mengagumkan, bukannya tempoh masa panjang untuk mengambil gambar. Kerja pula bertambah mudah sekiranya individu berkenaan faham, dan menuruti arahan diberikan.

Mengulas mengenai rentetan kehidupan jurugambar di negara ini, Soraya tidak menafikan ia terlalu berbeza sekiranya dibandingkan di negara Barat umpamanya. Kebanyakan masyarakat kita masih tidak mampu menghargai seni.

“Kerja orang seni sukar mendapat pengiktirafan.(ini adalah satu lagi penyebab saya menghasilkan buku Imaging Selfs, Soraya Yusof Talismail, Portraits of Artists untuk mengiktiraf seniman-seeniman Malaysia) Saya pernah dijemput sebagai tetamu majlis pelancaran buku SHE. Di sana saya diperkenalkan sebagai jurugambar dan ada yang bertanya, ‘tak bawa kamera ke?’. Yang bertanya ini bukanlah orang sebarangan, malah seorang yang telah diberi anugerah yang begitu tinggi dan bergelar Tan Sri. Bukankah saya tetamu majlis, dan perlukah saya membawa kamera untuk majlis yang sepatutnya saya dirai, untuk menunjukkan saya jurugambar? Orang sebegini, bukan saja tidak memahami malah tidak menghormati profesion pihak lain,” katanya.

Jelasnya, memikirkan kerja mengambil gambar boleh dilakukan oleh sesiapa saja di antara sebab ‘membunuh’ kerjaya itu daripada terus mendapat pengiktirafan, tetapi itulah yang perlu ditelan urugambar di Malaysia. Beliau sendiri tidak menafikan pada awal melangkah ke menara gading, ada yang memandang sinis kursus yang diambil itu.

“Orang tidak melihat kerjaya ini sebagai penting, malah mencari contoh jurugambar hebat ketika itu, pun payah, tetapi Alhamdulillah, keluarga tetap menyokong. Mungkin kerana saya disleksik dan ‘difficult’ maka keluarga memberikan tumpuan yang lebih dan memberi kepercayaan dan sokongan kepada saya,” katanya.

Menyentuh mengenai tawaran mengambil gambar bogel, beliau tidak menafikan ada menerima tawaran sebegitu, bagaimanapun pada saat akhir menolakkan, atas pelbagai alasan.

“Pada peringkat awal saya menyatakan persetujuan, berlandaskan seni, profesion dan rakan, tetapi Ariff memberikan alasan tertentu supaya berkata tidak untuk tawaran itu. Beliau mengingatkan saya tiga perkara yang penting iaitu; Kita di mana? Bangsa kita apa? Dan Agama kita apa? Kita di Malaysia. Kita bangsa Melayu. Agama kita Islam. Nokta!

“Saya memikirkan sekiranya menerima tawaran itu sekarang, mungkin empunya diri seronok dan gembira, tetapi bagaimana pada masa akan datang? Pelbagai kemungkinan boleh berlaku justeru saya memilih jalan terbaik belandaskan pesanan Ariff”, katanya.

Beliau bagaimanapun, menafikan faktor jantina mempengaruhi cara kerja sebaliknya, apabila menghasilkan sesuatu yang berkualiti, sudah tentu ia menjadi sebutan.

Pemikiran yang berbeza itu mendorongnya bergerak sendiri dengan penubuhan syarikat Talismail Inc. Beliau juga bertuah kerana suaminya Ariff Awaluddin mencintai bidang sama, menjadikan gandingan itu mantap dan berjaya.

KENANGAN melancong diabadikan dalam buku skrap.

KENANGAN melancong diabadikan dalam buku skrap.

Bukan jurugambar istana

“SAYA bukan jurugambar istana atau Royal Photographer, sebaliknya bekerja untuk sesiapa saja. Mungkin kerana kerap diundang, dan mendapat kepercayaan keluraga diRaja, maka saya menjadi pilihan. Saya tidak menyalahkan gelaran diberikan itu tetapi menerusinya ramai memikirkan saya meletakkan harga yang tinggi, dan ada pihak memberikan tanggapan negatif,” katanya.

Gelaran itu berasas, sungguhpun dinafikan. Manakan tidak kerana sejak daripada bergelar pelajar lagi, pada 1989, beliau ‘dicari’ untuk mengambil gambar Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Bainun. Bagaimanapun, kerana mempunyai pameran bersama pelajar seni halus dan fotografi ITM di Kuching, Sarawak, peluang itu terlepas begitu saja. Nyatakan itu petanda rezeki, kerana tidak lama selepas itu namanya sekali lagi dicari untuk merakamkan gambar malam banquet CHOGM yang dihadiri oleh Queen Elizabeth II di Istana Negara.

Mengulas mengenai pengalaman itu, katanya beliau amat seronok kerana minat mengikuti kisah British Royal Family itu sejak remaja. Sungguhpun begitu tidak dapat menyembunyikan rasa gementar, kerana kurang arif mengenai protokol, sebaliknya hanya bertawakal. Bertitik tolak daripada itu, beliau semakin kerap menerima undangan istana untuk mengambil gambar rasmi atau peribadi.

“Saya mempunyai prinsip sekiranya kita ikhlas melakukan sesuatu, maka hasilnya akan terserlah juga. Saya tidak menyifatkan diri sudah berjaya sebaliknya akan terus belajar kerana setiap tugasan baru adalah cabaran yang perlu ditempuh dengan sebaiknya,” katanya.

Soraya Yusof Talismail

Usia: 40 tahun

Asal: Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Suami: Ariff Awaluddin

Usia: 53 tahun

Asal: Rembau, Negeri Sembilan

Anak: Ushuaia

Usia: 10 tahun


  • Selain gambar, pasangan itu turut berminat dalam bidang masakan apabila merealisasikan impian membuka bistro, Kokopelli Travellers Bistro, berkonsepkan galeri seni, tidak jauh daripada kediaman mereka di Petaling Jaya.
  • Pameran solo: Imaging Selfs, Portrait of Artists, Galeri Petronas, KLCC, 2008, ‘Cindai’ di Panggung Eksperimen (1995) – Bakai di Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (1996) – Sunflowers di Galeri Skoob Book, Kuala Lumpur (1997)- Rubiah di Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur (1999).
  • Pameran berkumpulan: Lebih 30 pameran berkumpulan di Malaysia, Singapura, UAE dan Itali sejak 1989 hingga 2005.

    * Khidmat: Pernah menjadi jurugambar peribadi Tuanku Bainun pada zaman

    perkhidmatannya sebagai Raja Permaisuri Agong.

    * Keahlian: Professional Photographers of American PPA

    * Anugerah:

    Pelajar terbaik jurusan fotografi ITM (UiTM) pada 1987 dan 1990.

    Pingat Bentara Setia Diraja dikurniakan Tuanku Sultan Azlan Shah.

  • Outdoor Photoshoot by Zoomer Photography

    10 12 2008

    Imej-imej Outdoor Photoshoot yang dirakam oleh Zoomer dari Zoomer Photography. Untuk melihat hasilkerja beliau atau membuat tempahan, sila klik Zoomer Photography

    Travel Tip: Carry a big camera

    5 11 2008

    suzanneThe girl with the bags

    The first thing you notice about Suzanne Lee when you meet her are her bags. Two of them. Backpacks. Big Ones.

    One contains her camera equipment – of which she has a considerable amount – and the other has her 17″ laptop plus assorted supplies.

    “This one’s been with me in the desert, on the beach, and in the snow. Plus, it makes an excellent pillow,” she says patting her laptop bag fondly as she slings them on her shoulders fluidly with amazon-like ease.

    Not that she’s built like one; slender and of average (unamazon-like) height, it doesn’t seem possible that she’s been to 16 countries, served as a team mechanic for Aarows Racing Team, stood in as stuntwoman for Mendam Berahi in Bombay Dramas, and hiked through Pakistan’s Thar Desert.

    I know what you’re thinking (I had the same thought): how on earth did she do all this, and why?

    How it all began

    For Suzanne, the turning point in her life, the moment when she became aware of a big, big world out there accompanied by an undeniable attack of wanderlust, came at the tender age of sweet sixteen.

    “I fell into modelling by accident. I was spotted for a KFC TV commercial, then went on to do a Philips ad … from there I went on to modelling for print and it just kept going.

    “I’ve never been represented by any agency. I obtain my jobs, both modelling and photography, by word-of-mouth. Basically it’s friends-telling-friends,” she explained.

    It was also at 16 that Suzanne started travelling alone, admittedly only to Johor Baru.

    “I just took off one day! It shocked everyone, but lucky for me, I have pretty liberal parents so they didn’t ground me.

    “It wasn’t so much an act of rebellion as a declaration of independence. I just needed to prove to myself that I had it in me to do something like this. And it worked. I felt a lot more confident about myself – both about being alone and travelling alone.

    Modelling – a stepping stone

    For Suzanne, modelling was a means to an end, not the end in itself. While she didn’t mind posing for the camera, the real joy for her was in going places and meeting people.

    “It’s just too passive for me. You don’t create, instead you’re the tool some other person’s using to create his art, or worse, advertisement.

    “Having said that, I do enjoy print modelling – photography is a form of art and it allows the model to be creative in interpreting the photographer’s intentions,” said Suzanne.

    It was modelling that gave her the means and the contacts to launch her career in photography.

    “It was mixing around with photographers so much that made me realise how much I loved the art and the lifestyle.

    “I bought my first digital SLR camera for RM3,800 two-and-a-half years ago from the proceeds of a beer photoshoot. With that camera, I took off for four months on a backpacking tour of Europe, and the rest is history!”


    Photography — her job of choice

    Today, modelling and numerous other occupations, have definitely taken a backseat to her first love – photography. Travel photography in particular.

    “It’s very liberating, to go where ever I want and meet whomever I please. I’ve even been invited to Israel – the one country our Malaysian passport forbids.

    “I love meeting people, particularly artists, and I adore beautiful things. Travel photography lets me indulge in an endless variety of these.”

    One of the questions she’s frequently asked after “how do you stay safe?” (check Suzanne’s travel tips), is “how do you afford all this travelling?”

    “I travel on a budget. You need a great deal of emotional and mental control to travel alone for long periods of time. Emotional because you’re on your own and you have to be in control of the situation at all times. Mental control comes into play in expenditure, no matter how much you love a souvenir, a budget is a budget.

    “I also do freelance jobs along the way. When I was in Europe for example, I was an unofficial photographer for the Sauber-Petronas F1 Racing Team. I also worked for Sutton Images ( UK – the largest independent motorsports imaging company in the world.

    “Now I travel on sponsorship. It’s an exchange of services – I take photos and they sponsor me the trip,” she said with a happy grin.

    Apart from her travel-and-shoot trips in Europe and India, another highlight in Suzanne’s career was travelling with Ramli Ibrahim’s Sutra Dancers as the official photographer on their three-month Spellbound Tour of India 2005.

    “It was for this tour that I upgraded my Digital SLR to my current Canon EOS 20D. It takes better quality shots and performs better in the dark.

    “This is essential for shooting dancers as you cannot use a flash and most of the performances are dimly lit.”

    Her current big photography project in the works is the World Peace Project.

    “It’s such a feel-good job. We get to travel to 150 countries, which is also an attempt to break a Guinness World Record, and photograph world-leaders signing a petition for peace.

    “I can’t begin to say how great it feels to be able to physically do something for world peace rather than just talking about it.”

    Travelling – a passion

    After stomping through 16 countries wielding a big camera, Suzanne’s favourite countries to travel and shoot in are, without a doubt, India and Switzerland.

    “They’re such different countries, but so beautiful in their own ways. For India, it’s the people, the colour, and the culture. In Switzerland it’s the breathtaking scenery,” she explained.

    It is her love for travel that has temporarily derailed her tertiary education.

    “I was enrolled in a degree majoring in photography and I was doing well, but I got the offer to tour India with Ramli Ibrahim’s group and I couldn’t turn that down. And from there the offers kept flooding in, and I kept taking leave after leave from school.

    “Finally I just gave in and put my studies on an indefinite hiatus. I may continue someday, but at the moment I can’t help but feel I’m learning more from travelling and working than I would in university,” she laughed.

    “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page,” said St Augustine, whose long-ago wisdom is echoed by Suzanne’s own beliefs.

    “I really think Malaysians should travel more. The more countries you visit and the more cultures you’re exposed to, the more international and open-minded you become.

    “One story I’ll never forget was told to me by a Scandinavian backpacker.

    “He was on the East-West Indian train stopping at all stations along the way. It was a long train ride – about 20 hours.

    “They were at a stop far away from the two nearest towns when the train just broke down. There was no electricity, no lights, and no communication for the passengers.

    “It was night and they were in the middle of nowhere, but instead of panicking and getting upset, the passengers just broke out the instruments, food and drink – then partied the night away.

    “They were still singing when the train finally started up again, 20 hours later.

    “That story taught me that while circumstances may be out of my control, my happiness never is.”

    suzanne2Places Suzanne has been to:

    India – Madras, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Konark, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Pushkar, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Bharatpur Keoladeo, Varanasi, Shimla (trekked to Tattapani). McLeod Ganj, Dharmkot, Bhagsu, Dharamsala
    Taiwan – Kaohsiung for Asian 9Ball Competition
    China – Shanghai, Hang Zhou
    Hungary – Budapest for F1 Circuit
    Switzerland – Lausanne, Zurich, Ticino, St. Gallen, Lucerne, Bern, Jura
    Spain – Barcelona, Mont Serrat
    France (north)
    Belgium – Spa/Francorchamps Circuit
    Germany – Drive through from Switzerland to Amsterdam
    Netherlands – Amsterdam & Haarlem
    Italy – Milano
    England – Northampton, Milton Keynes, London, Silverstone Circuit
    Indonesia – Yogyakarta-candi Borobudur, Bali
    And of coure,
    Malaysia (Borneo & Peninsular Islands, National Parks, Hills, etc.)

    Backpacking tips

    1. Blend in
    Whenever possible, dress in the native costume so as not stand out as a target. Be sure you conform to local dress customs.
    2. If you’re a woman, pretendt you’re married
    In Europe and African countries, wear a gold wedding band on you ring finger. When I travelled in India, I wore a bindi and lots of red bangles which made it seem like I was newly married.
    3. Don’t go out at night
    Stay in your room at night and get some sleep. You don’t want to get caught up in the nightlife if you’re on your own.
    4. If you don’t peel it or cook it, leave it
    When backpacking through the poorer regions of countries like India, don’t eat anything you don’t prepare yourself, and don’t drink or use any water that isn’t bottled, or that you haven’t filtered and boiled yourself. Going hungry beats food poisoning.
    5. Carry a big camera
    When I was in a remote and poorer section of India, I was harassed by a bunch of teenage boys. I whipped out my camera with its 300mm lens and chased them with it. Oh yeah, the camera’s good for taking great shots too.

    Source: The Sun

    The images of Suzanne Lee

    5 11 2008

    the_images_of_suzanne_lee_12“I’m currently checking this email from the Changi Airport – I am on my way to Delhi. Tomorrow morning, I will be in Calcutta, photographing the Chinese Community (hopefully) there…,” Suzanne Lee writes, explaining why she may be unreachable for this interview.

    One month later, it’s late July, I write back telling her I still remember her website (

    She is candid, but not impersonal, in the few short email exchanges we have. Making, and taking, the time seems prioritised for photography.

    Not that Suzanne, 24, is inarticulate. Since she first picked up a camera at age 15, she has been expressing herself very eloquently indeed.

    This travel-adventure photographer, “diagnosed with a severe case of Chronic Wanderlust in 2004” has been to over 20 countries since.

    The advancements in ICT have brought to the fore that more young adults like Suzanne are chronologically much ‘older’ in their philosophy of choice and thoughts towards life.

    The entry in February in her web-linked blog (, states: “As I promised, I will go back to the small community of blind masseurs that I photographed last November (2007) for the Angkor Photography Festival competition. I will bring them the necessities that they cannot find in Siem Reap e.g. talking clocks.” And she has.

    “For the next year or two, I intend to be based in New Delhi, India,” she says, adding that she is still available for work anywhere and at any time, “so please contact me via the email listed on my website” (

    “Three years ago I came here as a backpacker … eager to get acquainted with India. Two and a half months of travelling here wasn’t enough.”

    Backpacking? I express my concern.

    “Well, I like to travel alone. It’s really about being conscious of the surroundings, giving out the right body signals and dressing properly… common sense – and sensitivity to what and how people will react and think in relation to what oneself does,” shares Suzanne.

    “The world acts in reaction to other actions and it is a constant cycle. Harmony can be achieved if we fully understand the concept of balance and psychology. That said, not everyone can do it without enough experience in this kind of extreme independence. It’s an individual’s choice and risk.”

    So now Suzanne is back in India “to live, to grow, to learn, to work and to discover more of myself and my abilities… a dive into the deep end of the pool!”

    Tell us a little about yourself.

    I’m a freelance photographer from Malaysia but currently based in Delhi, India. I’ve exhibited my photography works numerous times and have been nominated for two awards. Most recently, I was 1st runner-up in an international photography competition in Cambodia and my most recent (joint) exhibition was at the Galeri Petronas, in KLCC.

    When did you start your website?

    About two years ago. Fellow blogger, Jimmy Chew ( has been helping me on some maintenance and design of my website (

    The site serves to display a selection of my work and a sort of online archive for some digital data I might need when I’m on the road.

    Has the Internet changed your life?

    Blogging definitely has helped me expand my reach for causes that I want to highlight through my photography. It has also eased the process of showing work to clients and friends or acquaintances alike.

    What is the foremost feature in Cyberspace that amazes you?

    It amazes me how blogging has revolutionised freedom of press and expression and how it has in turn influenced the way people think and act. It has given the power of the pen (keyboard, maybe) a whole new superpower because now it reaches far wider and with much more ease than we could’ve ever fathomed.

    Blogging has its fair share of pros and cons so readers will have to take a step back and review all that they have read because mostly, no one will be held responsible for what they write on the World Wide Web and furthermore, it is all a matter of opinion and not always factual.

    That said, I also believe that much facts can be exposed to a wider audience and this will educate the readers on matters that are left unsaid in conventional media.

    Which one blog would you choose to read/interact with?

    Zorro ( is a blog I sometimes read because this blogger is well connected to the other serious bloggers in Malaysia and thus would churn out an interesting perspective on issues, etc, in the country which not only reflects his personal opinions or knowledge, but also, naturally, has been influenced by interacting with other people on the similar topics.

    What would you really like to achieve? (Some personal ambition?

    I would like to slowly evolve the website/blog and my career in the direction that I am pursuing. It is a satisfying feeling to view my blog, which reminds me of the paths I have taken and where I want to go.

    If there were someone you could influence to take up blogging?

    I wish very much that Nelson Mandela would blog because he has so much to say and so much to teach the world (and the world leaders). His Autobiography, although splendidly written, doesn’t do justice to the mine of wisdom that he has, and which he wants to share. His blog, if ever, would be fundamental in shaping many minds and hearts and the world would be a better place with more positive and compassionate people.

    Any memorable incidents through blogging?

    Collectively, the memorable incidents of blogging are bitter-sweet. More sweet than bitter, but yes, we have negative people and angry people in the blogosphere… as we do in the world. But these confrontations or provocations done over the Internet have a different effect, I believe… as compared with someone coming up to you in the streets and spitting accusations or negativity at you. When done over the Internet, there is no actual physical violence and there is the option of ignoring the attack or taking a day or two to digest it before a retaliation or reply.

    It teaches many people to think before they speak (or write) because what’s written will generate controversies and debates that reflect on oneself.

    Source : Malay Mail