Rewind: 2014

As some might have realised, I took a break from my active photography life this year to spend more time with my family as Sheraz, my youngest son craves for our attention more and more now. Well, photography has always been just a medium for me to capture memories for them to last a lifetime. And this year, I focused more on creating them rather than documenting them. Yet, it doesn’t mean that I stowed my gears away. So I present to you now, a visual walkthrough of my 2014 memories which I manage to capture.

As I stop dragging my DSLR all over the place, my instagram account instantly became active with more snapshots. I started my year with #ikeahack-ing my own bathroom mirror. Yes, it’s a no-big-deal but being able to use the hashtag was kinda awesome already.

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I started capturing moments of Raif and Sheraz together, primarily using my phone especially at home. This was one of the earliest brotherly gestures Raif did to his then 4 months old brother.

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This next photo was taken when Sheraz visited mummy at the hospital and became all too friendly with the curtains.

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I can never get bored with this sight from my office window at the PETRONAS Twin Towers. 

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and in case you missed it on my instagram, this was from 2013!

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Saleha’s engagement ceremony happened to be the only assignment I took this year as I agreed to it the year before. Saleha is one of the colleagues I used to work with previously. Together with Melissa, Seri and Shamina, these four ladies happened to be my main photography subjects during our time in Bangi and believed in my skills from way back then. It was an honour to be part of this ceremony held at her parents’ place. 

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There’s no way I could ignore Safeerah (Shamina’s daughter) when she puts on that look in front of me.

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In April, we celebrated Atuk Burn’s 67th birthday in Dungun, Terengganu.

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The Abu Bakars, all out (including my tummy as an extra cushion for Sheraz).

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Come May, we celebrated my 31st birthday, Mothers’ Day and Atuk Wan’s 62nd birthday. We started with the numero uno.

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and later the new mothers joined in~

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aaaaand The Ridzuans, in full force. Ryan, if you happened to read this post, you were actually in your mum’s tummy in this photo.

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 Then it was time to bid farewell to Aunty Long and Uncle Misu.

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In August, it was the month of festivity as we celebrated Eid Mubarak with the rest of the family. We started in Malacca and later joined the Negri Sembilan family.

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We also took the kids to Legoland, courtesy of their Uncle Haja and Cik Ti in Kulai, Johore. Raif enjoyed it so much, not Sheraz though.

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Late August, we went to Johor Bahru again for Aunty Rina’s wedding. Uncle Najim, welcome to the family!

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Sheraz turned one in September, with 7 teeth secured.

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I honestly think that he looks like his Cik Kin in this next photo.

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Raif, being the big brother, could not tolerate any indecent act done by Sheraz, like mashing the birthday cupcake.

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Yet, he performed his brotherly duty by feeding Sheraz his cake like a cultured man. 

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Later that month, we continued his birthday celebration in Dungun, Terengganu, in conjunction with his cousin, Rania’s Aqiqah ceremony… 

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Well before that, Rania took the center stage…

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Ufairah (Aunty Mimi’s daughter) came by to say hi too.

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Then Raif took his cycling to the next level during Mummy’s primary school reunion at Putrajaya.

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I went to conduct a graduation photo shoot for one of my ex-interns from IIUM in October. Gosh, it really reminded me of the hectic jam-packed crowd I used to endour during my own graduation ceremonies. But it was fun to see all those warm smiling faces to mark the end of a chapter in the graduates’ life, what more their parents’.

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and we wrapped that month with a small get-together at Shammy’s place.

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In November, we took up a photo challenge #mothercaremyrep organised by Mothercare Malaysia. Initially, we wanted the kids to win the contest and become their social media brand ambassador but after going through their T&Cs, we opted out. Yet, these were the photos we captured for our own keepsake.

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Then we went to JB again for Aunty Huda and Uncle Palee’s wedding.

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This year on his birthday, we gave Raif a whole day for himself and we took him to his movie outing at the cinema to watch Disney’s Big Hero 6 (he has been watching too much Frozen lately). Then we took the train from KLCC to KL Sentral and visit Nu Sentral shopping centre which was recently completed.

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These photos pretty much summed up my 2014. I could not ask for any other way to spend my time with my family and experience the moment at the fullest than what I had this year. Hoping that 2015 will bring more awesome memories for everyone to treasure.

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Happy New Year! 

The Art of Seeing

I have never envisioned myself as someone who could write something that is worth reading or getting hyped about. Brought up by an audiophile dad who always strives to have the best audio setup to listen to his jazz and a sentimental mum who likes to keep memorabilia, I became a person who appreciates the finer details in life and am able to express myself differently. What was seen as two people having two different interests initially, soon changed, when I learnt that my dad used to own many film cameras while my mum was the president of the photography club during her school days. They even bought me a 110 format film camera sold at Kentucky Fried Chicken as a Kid’s Meal toy when I was three years old, something like this micro camera below, expect it was in red KFC colour. I guess, that was how I inherited “the art of seeing”. I am Redza Ridzuan, and this is a story of T&E shutterbugs. 

THE Micro Camera

Some of the photos I shot with the micro camera (I have featured these photos before, but hey, it’s a great time to revisit them again!)..

First ever image shot by me

Image shot by me

This interest of mine is also shared by like-minded individuals, one of whom similarly had an early beginning, Hor Wei Vern, a researcher in PETRONAS Research Sdn Bhd. “My dad bought me my first camera when I was 12 years old,” recalls Vern. She has fond memories of bringing the camera along for a family vacation in Sydney where she got the chance to capture a photo of a girl holding a joey (baby kangaroo). “That photo kind of spoke to me and since then, I became interested in freezing time to capture moments that I can share with other people,” she elaborates. 

 

For some, their journey started slightly later as their life unfolds. Sazali Zakaria, an executive in Petroleum Research Fund Secretariat, was introduced to a camera by a friend when he was working as a research assistant. “I was chosen to be the photographer every time we had any R&D activities to assist others in appreciating it.” He also made use of his PETRONAS Induction Programme for new Executives to explore more into this hobby by experimenting with events, landscape, sceneries, sports activities and group photos. Sharizal Azam, another researcher in PRSB sings a different tune than the rest. His habit of cataloguing the places and process units he visited led him to this hobby. Self-taught and enthusiastic, he admits that his superior encouraged him to include as much images that he had taken into their technical presentations thus providing the audience an enhanced project experience. 

 

In my field as a communication executive, the “art of seeing” enables me to help my unit to strategise our communication efforts for T&E differently. For a team in which creativity is an essence, we bounce fresh ideas off each other to evaluate the robustness of our approach based on the environment, people and technologies that we plan to feature. It allows me to extend my assistance to our engineers, researchers and marketers in planning the type of imageries needed to market their solutions and products. As for designing marketing collaterals, I am able to do an acid test on my own proposals to decide on which option provides an enhanced visual impact to the audience. With it, I get to avoid Nothing-New-Syndrome by constantly pushing the limits of my creativity, which happens to haunt many photographers and designers during their quest to deliver something different from the rest.

 

Spending most of our time being surrounded by people like family members, relatives, colleagues, friends and even strangers, it is almost natural for most of us to delve more into portraiture or people photography. We are surrounded by potential subjects and every subject is unique. For Vern and Sharizal, what fuels their passion in people photography is the authenticity of an emotion that one projects on a particular moment. They are honest expressions that happen in a split second that cannot be duplicated. Even photojournalism supports the basic idea of capturing moments during celebrations or conflicts. Sazali on the other hand, admits that he enjoys any kind of photography that is convenient especially when the only camera that he has with him most of the time is his smartphone. “By acknowledging the limitation of our gears, there are several ways to rectify it during editing. The photos I captured during lowlight condition might not have the right colour, but they have to project the right message and composition” he adds.

 

Upload from September 22, 2011

Most shutterbugs would agree that there is always an opportunity to explore the limits of our equipment and how to make the best of it. “You can pretty much do quite a lot with whatever you have. Once you have pushed your equipment to the limit, it makes you learn more about them and photography itself” adds Sharizal. True enough, my smartphone has become my main photography apparatus in the quest to capture unique sights, patterns and abstracts around me. Without it, I would miss capturing the moment when lightning struck KL Tower or spotting a candle melting into a shape of a heart. Nevertheless, it is curiosity that drives people to explore different types of photography and gears alike.

 

Being a hobby that one can easily pick up, photography has the power to make us more human. As photographers, we have been trained to notice differences that happen around us. Since small, I have always been fascinated with God’s creations. From lightning strikes to rainbows, or watching a lunar eclipse to gazing at the Milky Way, I could say that I have spent most of my free time observing changes in my environment. For me, photography helps to make these moments timeless. As we capture important snapshots in our daily life, photographs become our “breadcrumb trails” of who we are throughout the years. With it, we can learn how to be better in what we do, or even reminisce upon the memories we shared with certain people or at certain places. 

 

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Photography also teaches us to plan better and anticipate chain of events while having an end in mind. Being involved in film photography, Sazali reiterates that one is required to have better planning on the imagery that he or she wants to produce before even hitting the shutter button. “Meticulous planning is an essence as processing a film, there are more costs (monetary and time) involve compared to taking photographs digitally.” Like Sazali, Vern views this hobby as a medium in making her a better researcher by training her to look at the big picture in addition to being focused on details. Being able to synthesise abundant information and witness how everything relates to each other prepares us to be exceptional leaders as we progress in the organisation.

 

One thing that can’t be ignored is how useful photography is as a social tool as well. With social media blooming like mushrooms after a heavy downpour, we are now able to connect dots to share something in common. Services like Facebook, Flickr, and Instagram allows enthusiasts to share their work and provide photography tips with the rest of the world. Back home, Sharizal shares his images to family members and friends, and their friends as well after certain events. By doing so, not only does he make new friends but is also able to share his passion with others.

 

Witnessing passing moments in front of our eyes day-in day-out, these are some challenges that we are bound to face. It can start from a fundamental question like “Should I take my camera along?” to some burning-a-hole-in-my-pocket decisions such as “Should I get this high end DSLR while it’s on sale?” to even more serious morale dilemma as in “Should I take a photo of a tourist who just got stabbed or should I go and chase the culprit who did that?” It is always a conscious decision for me to either capture the moment into a photograph or otherwise. I recall the time when I was on a photography outing with a group of friends when we bumped into a tourist who had just got robbed in the middle of the day. Some of us did take out our cameras to capture the tourist who was covered in blood, but others went for help by calling the nearby police patrol while our pack leader went to calm the tourist and gather information from witnesses. The act of observing is the core activity while the act of taking a photo is often the result of my observation. Sharizal and Sazali share a harmonised opinion about cameras being the tools or hardware, while people and their observations become the blood or software for this hobby.

 

At the end of the day, it all depends on one’s motivation in taking up photography as a hobby. People use photography to learn how to appreciate things around them as well as to help others to see things from their point of view. I got to share mine with my loving parents when I took them to my great grandparents’ house in Malacca, the house which they tied the knot in, for a photo shoot to commemorate their 29th wedding anniversary. It’s sufficient to say that at this age, nothing beats the feeling of a son being kissed by his parents for a job well done. Another school of thought suggests making some moolah from this expensive interest in order to sustain our thirst for new knowledge and skills or even for gear upgrades to unlock more opportunities. All in all, the key to having a satisfying photography journey is to be truthful to ourselves in the things that we look for. 

 

Happy snapping!

 

This was my first attempt in writing an article for an internal magazine. I was given the chance to write something that is close to my heart as well as about the people whom share the same interest in my division. Let’s hope that this is a proper comeback to the photoblogging scene after my long hiatus. ;)

 

Reception: Fauzul & Izzat

A week later, another wedding reception took place in Bangi, Selangor for the guests of Fauzul’s and his parents’. True to Malay culture, this time, the bride’s family pays a visit to the groom’s reception in a ceremony the locals called “Majlis Sambut Menantu”.

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These two would be some of the cutest flower kids I have ever seen. Niece and Nephew of Fauzul.

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The lady whom pull everything together that day, Fauzul’s only sister aka the wedding planner.

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My favorite shot of the day. Yeah!!!!

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Something quite unique to Johorean custom, during a wedding, the bride and groom is expected to share their joy by tossing some coins together with sweets for the kids to collect. Just that in this case, Fauzul manage to pull that session with style. :)

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Siblings have the tendency to express their happiness in group photos. So does Fauzul and Izzat.

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And I do mean that for both sides of the family.

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Thank you Fauzul and Izzat for the two weekends bundled with joy and laughter. You two made a great couple.

Cheers to that!

Reception: Izzat & Fauzul

Their wedding reception took place couple of hours after the solemnisation ceremony. Check out some of the highlights from their wedding reception :)

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Solemnisation: Izzat & Fauzul

Well, my latest wedding assignment was for this sweet couple, Izzat and Fauzul aka Pau. We were introduced to each other by Fauzul’s sister, Fatin last year and after months of waiting, the glorious day finally came by. This time, I headed south to Seremban, Negeri Sembilan to capture their solemnisation ceremony which was held in the same day with their reception. It was a beautiful morning, with the sun shining so bright, with the sky so blue. So before we get to the latter part, I’m sharing some images from the auspicious morning.

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Up next, the wedding reception~

Whee~!!