Solemnization: Ikram & Elena

Just last weekend, I had the priviledge to photograph Ikram & Elena’s solemnisation ceremony held at Felda Villa Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur. Unlike most of my clients whom were introduced to me via our mutual friends, Ikram & Elena relied solely on the search engine to lead them straight to me. Now I’m pretty sure my SEO is doing it’s job well. Hahaha! Bundled with supportive family and wickedly havoc friends, they were such a sweet fun couple to be photographed that day.

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This was actually my second wedding assignment at this venue yet that three years gap really made an impact to the surroundings. A lot of things have change ever since, and boy was I excited to find some awesome spot for a short portraiture session after the ceremony.

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It would not be an ending without a shot of their wedding rings, right?. :D

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I have prepared a slideshow presentation of this ceremony for their reception dinner held next day. Feel free to hit the play button if you feel like listening to Jamie Foxx singing Fly Love to accompany the slides. 

Whee~!!

Portraiture: Haiz & Erma

If you have not spent enough time here to realise that I enjoy photographing my friends since God knows when, let me take this opportunity to present the fact again with another beautiful couple. Like many of us here, I have met, known, and mingled with a lot of friends from their bachelor days to when they celebrate another new addition into their families. Now, it is time for another friend to cross that path. 

I knew Haiz back in the university couple of years ago. A very fun easy-going guy that only a handful of times that I can see him frown. Most of the time, proven by this series of images, he will charm you with his smile. Multiply that with his beautiful wife, Erma, who is also generous with smiles, you would have guessed how this session will turn out to be. That one beatiful Saturday morning, we headed to Taman Botani Putrajaya that is located in Malaysia’s federal administrative center, some 25kms away from the heart of Kuala Lumpur. It was also my first time to conduct a portraiture session here. For this particular entry, I would like to take a slightly different approach by putting some thinking process that was done on that day. Well, it was a new territory hence I really need to think on my feet. Let’s see how it goes :)

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I’m a huuuuuuuuuuge fan of abstracts and patterns. Having to see these exotic roots sticking out into the scenery, I made it as our first stop.

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Before you proceed further, I need to remind you that this entry is totally bombarded with patterns and one sweet couple. It’s not too late to turn around and hit other entries :D

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In this kind of situation, I normally  (I honestly think this is a common photographer’s habit) will take a snapshot of a particular spot to initiate some ideas prior to having the couple into the frame. But sometimes, I do get some clients who are more excited than I am, hence, they appear at the right spot before me!

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It wouldn’t be called a botanical garden if it was not carpeted with grass, right?

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Next stop, the wooden jetty.

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We planned to wrap the session once we are done here. Somehow, the stairs that leads us to the carpark looks kinda tempting. You can see that even Haiz can hardly wait to be in front of the camera.

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You know what, it is great to have this kind of people, who understands your way of thinking, the things that catches your attention, and the spot that makes a good photograph. Thank you guys for sharing a morning full of love and fun. I know it is not too late to congratulate you two on your wedding. Last but not least, thank you also for reminding me why I love taking photographs. You two ROCK!

What first got me interested in photography?

Wow, what a long break both from the blog world. There were just so many things happening for the past few months that I wish I could document it here, sooner or later.

Anyway, I would like to start this “mini comeback” with this topic, triggered by Rob and Lauren at Photography Concentrate as a chance for their readers to win a Holga camera. Sadly, the contest was only open to those who reside in the U.S or Canada only. That ain’t gonna stop me from answering that question in my own blog, right? A good time for self reflection, and for others to really see what motivates me in photography all these years.

Before that, let me bring you back to 1986 when I actually took my first two photographs using a toy camera, a gift in the KFC’s Kid’s Meal. It uses 110 format film and the camera looks exactly like this, except it was red in color:

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As for the two of my 1986 exposures…

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I know~ I know~ the exposures were wrong, focusing was out, composition failed miserably and the horizons were disasterous. But what can you expect from a 3 year old kid right? In fact, I was busy chasing some chickens around the house with my sister while single-handedly holding this camera. Kudos to my parents who were very supportive even back then, to willingly send the negatives for processing. Just to do my grandparents’ house justice, I’ll show you the photo I took 20 years later, using the Panasonic Lumix TZ1.

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This is the same spot which I took the 1st picture, back in 1986. The only difference is the camera was aimed towards the car garage that is located on the left side of this view (I should have snapped the garage from this angle. Why didn’t I thought of that earlier! haha!) While the second photo, it was snapped from that house entrance located in front of the car. See the resemblance of those window lids?

From this long introduction, you would have guessed that I’m such a sentimental guy. To me, life is filled with memories and photographs actually help me to preserve them. I love the idea that I am able to share my memories with those who were absent at that point of time and also able to visualise them to the others.

The other thing that really got me interested in photography is Mother Earth herself. Ever since I was small, I like to observe my surroundings. Often times, I wonder what else could God have installed for us to discover. That blue sky, the green leaves, those beautiful and notorious insects, that awesome Milky Way, those kind of things. That’s what keep me going especially in capturing repetitive patterns, abstracts and things we normally take for granted all this while.

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Once in awhile, it is good to have this kind of thing, to be reminded about what initially motivates us in doing what we do. It helps us to realign ourselves after certain mileage and keeps us going from time to time. Do you remember what first got you interested in photography then?

Reception: Johanna & Taufiq

Their reception took place the day after the solemnisation ceremony at Restoran Seri Melayu in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. They particularly chose this venue as the restaurant embeds cultural malay heritage as part as its exterior and interior designs, which blends well with the theme that they imported all the way from Johore state, with classical Johore elements in a traditional Johorean wedding.

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Pondok Gambar” means Photobooth in Malay :D

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One thing very unique in a Johorean wedding compared to other weddings would be the usage of Sireh Latlat (the golden bouquet of flowers beside the bracelets) that resembles some sort of blessings for the groom to come live together with the bride.  

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Here comes the flower girls, or whom we call “Dayang-Dayang”.

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During the old times, Kain Songket (a distinct kind of Malay cloth) was worn by ladies to cover their heads, just like below, how Johanna’s sister, Jihan wore during the whole ceremony.

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For Johoreans, their “Baju Melayu” (traditional Malay costume) would be “Teluk Belanga”, a non-collar version of the costume as worn by Taufiq, his dad (on his left) and best-man (on his right). YEP! Taufiq was holding the Sireh Latlat to be given to Johanna later.

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Another traditional wedding custom that is widely practised in Johore is the “Toll Gate”. This is when the bride’s friends or family members barricade the aisle for some head-to-head action with the groom’s entourage. They started with “Berbalas Pantun” session (exchanging some fun Malay poems with each other)…

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 and ended with the entourage giving some monetary gifts to lift the barricade.

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Once that is done, the groom’s entourage will proceed into the venue…

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just to find another Toll Gate which means another round of “Berbalas Pantun” and giving some more money to ease up their “path” to where the bride is. 

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Once done, both of them are allowed to walk to the wedding dais for the rest of the ceremony to take place.

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It would not be a Johorean wedding without the traditional Johorean music called Ghazal…

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and some traditional Malay dances too.

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The ceremony concluded with some group photo sessions (well, we Malays sure enjoy some good group session on the wedding dais~) before Johanna and Taufiq go out for some outdoor session to end the day.

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So that’s it folks, one super colourful Malay wedding, Johore style! Did you even realise that this time, I only have 2 images in monotone? I really wouldn’t want you to miss out in seeing this wedding in TECHNICOLOR :D

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Cheers~

Solemnization : Johanna & Taufiq

I can’t really start this entry any other way than sharing with you how Johanna came to be one of my oldest friends. Both of our dads are in the plantation industry. About 16 years ago, our dads and eight other planters decided to have a monthly family gathering at a rotational basis where all 10 families could gather at a place (the house which got chosen that month) for a party. These families were called the 10 Happy Families. Apart from that, Johanna was in the same primary school as I was. So both of us see each other quite often during the 10 Happy Families days. As time goes by, all families got scattered all over the place and we got to meet each other mostly during weddings hosted by any of the original 10 Happy Families

Couple of weeks back, it was Johanna’s time to throw a wedding ceremony, well, her own wedding ceremony which witnessed some of the families gather again to celebrate the auspicious day. Let’s start with the solemnisation ceremony, shall we? The event took place at their house in Senawang, Seremban (that’s 45 minutes down south from Kuala Lumpur, only if you obey the speed limit). 

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Uncle Johnny Anuar, Johanna’s dad took the liberty of solemnizing them himself. Way to go, uncle!!!

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Next stop, their wedding reception. Stay tune~

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