There’s Teh Tarik – pulled tea – Malaysia’s national drink. That is a sweet tea with milk, poured into the cup from as high as possible. And there is Mee Tarik – pulled noodle. To create these noodles, the dough is pulled and folded many times, before being cut. The pulling is done by one specialist, the cutting by another.
I stumbled upon the Elsie Dorfman documentary on Netflix. Great film about a strange, self-directed lady that totally went her own way in photography. Elsie Dorfman had specialised in portraits. Portraits made with the largest Polaroid camera that ever existed: 20 x 24 inch (!).
About to enter LOKL for a “western” breakfast, but first some pictures of this street. A motorbike turns into the street and parks just beside me. The driver jumps off, takes a bag from his bike and disappears inside the restaurant. Only then I examine the bike. Takes pictures and wait for the man to return, hoping to get a more interesting shot, with bike and driver. I fail, the pictures are no good.
I am allowed in the Sikh temple, in Kampung Bahru. A gurdwara. A man sitting on a bench in front of the temple waves me in. He does not say much. Take off your shoes. And also your socks. We wash our feet. Then take the elevator, one story up. He leads me into the prayer hall. It is quite dark. There is not much to see except for the shrine (sorry can´t find a better word – they don’t call it a shrine). He leads me into the hall and gestures I can look around. Not much decoration. One man is praying, or meditating. I can take a picture. I count on my image stabilization.
The National Mosque is open for tourists. Actually, they are very well prepared to accommodate tourists. You queue up for djellaba after you have taken of your shoes. You will get a purple djellaba, if there as still enough of them. The number of available djellaba’s basically regulates the number of tourists in the mosque. There are only about 30 djellaba’s available. When they are out of stock, you can’t get in and you will have to wait for another tourist to come back and hand in the djellaba. When you have one, you will try to closed in with the sewed-in but warn-off Velcro. Girls put on the hoody.
The building is a large pillared square, all white. You walk to the prayer area over the square. If you are no Muslim, you can not enter the praying area. Tourist can watch from the side but not enter.A few people are praying. Standing ventilators blow warm wind through the hall. Workers are busy refreshing the white paint on the outer walls.
Petaling street is the go-to place in Malaysia for fake stuff. Rolex watches, Nike shoes, Louis Vuitton bags, what have you. Personally I find the place not so interesting. Tourist and merchants do not bring the best in themselves to bear in this place.
A little away from Petaling street is more interesting. These two pictures were made on the street corner of the end of Petaling. I took the picture of the motorcycle, liking the man’s pose. The light went green and traffic started moving. I stood there a bit thoughtless. The bus passed. A Buddhist monk looked me in the face. I smiled, he smiled. He waved. I took a picture.
If you are early in the street of KL, you can not only watch the Pudu market. Also you find other interesting deliveries taking place to supply the shops and restaurant with the goods for the day or the week.
What I found a few times is the delivery of meat. Meat is delivered in trucks. Open trucks. There’s no western hygiene. The trucks stop in the streets to deliver the products, just-in-time. The meat is fresh, the animals have just been killed, and is cut in large chucks: legs, shoulder, intestines, but also the heads, everything.
The butchers and traders were happy for me to take a picture, even to pose. The more interesting picture are obviously when they do not pose.
I bought these two photobooks in Kuala Lumpur. The bookshop Kinokuniya is based in the shopping mall under the Pertronas twin towers is an excellent bookshop with a respectable supply of quality photobooks. Actualy better than what I have seen in the Netherlands in any bookshop.
The first book is The Streetphotographer’s Manual by David Gibson. It is what it says it is: a manual for the street photographer. Gibson has an interesting wide view on what street photography is (not just close-up-Bruce-Gilden-style portraits). He provides interesting guidance and views on how to shoot more creative and interesting street photo’s. The book also includes profiles of well-known but also unexpected photographers: Trent Parke, Erwitt, Elliott, David Salomons, but also our own Caspar Claasen, and Jack Simon.
The second book is Tokyo by Daido Moriyama. This books consists of 2 quite different parts: a color part and a silvery-print black and white part. The black and white part, the second half of the book, is printed with a special technique in which the white of the photos is printed with a silver-like color.
I very much like the color part of the book. I guess many people will detest Moriyama’s pictures of ordinary things. Also here he starts out with a picture of women’s shoes, or rather of the soles of women’s shoes. I find that very entertaining. It’s immediately clear what you can expect from the book. The balck and white part I find less appealing. Too much staring to find out what’s going on. But only the color part is already worth the money.
Massive reconstructions going on after the former Prison Gate in KL. I made a couple of pictures trying to capture the size of the work. (It was a day with strange overcast weather. (My camera, Lightroom and me struggling with this light…)
The idea is I get out when I see something I like, and make some pictures.
It is astonishing that wherever I step out of the car, there are always (always!) other things that are worth looking at.
(I am thinking about a little project in which I pick random GPS coordinates to take pictues from. I feel this driving around for an idyllic shot is quote pointless. It may be even counter-productive: I am sure I pick the usual idyllic places, adding to an abundance of similar looking images.)
This time I got out of the car to make a shot of the snow-covered polder of the Beemster. I opened the door and stared into the face of this Santa, cut from the stump of a felled tree.
Makes you wonder what the story is behind this piece of art. First there was the tree that must but cut down (was is sick, in the way, cracked by some storm, …?). Then there was someone that cut a human face in the remaining stump. And someone that decided he looked like Santa, and put this red cap on his head. And fixed the cap with some staples. Did he bring the stapler to the place as part of a plan? We are really in the middle of nowhere here. The closest farm is a kilometer away.
Analog is hip. Film is cool. I brought out my old Canon AT-1 and put in some Agfa Vista 400. The first shots got lost due to my fooling around with the almost empty battery of the camera. Some flare, but that red!
After getting a new battery and some practice operating the camera things improved.