Author Archives: MyPEM

About MyPEM

Malaysian Photojournalists; Freelance Photographers; Freelance Writers; Social Workers; Public

Vietnam Street Photography: Hanoi

by Author: Hean Kuan Ong

The streets are messy, so many people walking around, riding through from various direction. I was so afraid to cross the road, because of the busy traffic. “Crossing the road here is easy, just close your eyes and walk across.” This is the sentiment joke always throw by the Hanoi local people. What local people actually mean is the Hanoi drivers will actually make ways for people who crossed the road, so take it easy.

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Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, it is a country’s second largest city. To me, Hanoi is a bondage city. Probably because I was staying in the Old Quarter. While walking down the street, I realized a branch of electricity wires was heavily loaded and hanging above our top.

Old Quarter’s streets were so crowded with various kind of people, travellers, hawkers, office guys and ladies, and a lots of them wearing traditional suit, especially the hawkers, which it makes me ponder, do they travel time from 70s?


Vietnam Street Photography: Sapa

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by Author: Hean Kuan Ong

Sapa is the frontier town in Lào Cai Province in northwest Vietnam. This town is the living place for Hmong and Yao tribe. Sapa is a highland where you can have a feel of four season in one day. Early morning you feel like spring; and it turns to summer in the afternoon, but when it comes to evening, it is so windy just like autumn; at the end of the day, it makes you feels like winter.

The local people are mainly work at the sloping terraces for the agriculture. But for today, a lots of them choose to come out from the tribes to do business with the tourist. They had been modernize along the way, most of them wear modern shirts at home but yet wearing traditional attire when they are selling their stuff to the tourist. As tourism started to grow over there, the local people nowadays are fluent in English.

Sapa is a best town to take landscape pictures, it will definitely blow your mind when you see a whole mountain was converted into beautiful terraces. Nevertheless, my interest are still on the people on the street, and in the villages.

How to Start Writing Your Photo-essay?

Today I wanna give you a short introduction on how to do a photoessay, based on my experiences, so as always there might be better or more compelling ways. So feel free to add those in the comments. The photoessay is also when it comes to multimedia productions the body of it as it tries to tell a story, so it is interesting to get a bit into that. Here are some ideas to think about.

1. Topic: At first and before any further thoughts what pictures you might need, you should think about the topic. What is the story? What do you wanna tell with the pictures? I always try to make that as clear as possible to myself to be sure what i need.

2. Research: If we start looking at it even before the shoot, do your research to get to know as much as possible about the story. It gives you the freedom to move and react more while you shoot. Normally, as long as you do documentary photography, it is not possible and also not the best way to start with a clear idea in your head, so that you just shoot what you thought before. That leads to stereotypes or at least single perspectives. I always try to be as open for everything what happens. I once was shooting a story on monks in Laos. I had this pictures in my head of them being so puristic, sleeping on the hard ground, eating once a day, of them praying and so on. And this was true in one way, but there were many more stories. That Phra, one of the monks had a computer and a english dictionary in his room. And while I was shooting suddenly a cellphone rang – of one of the monks. They started taking pictures of me as well with their phones. And at the end they gave me their mail adresses to sent them the pictures. Not really what I was thinking of before. But it was good to do the reasearch as it allowed me to see that in perspective and react on that.

3. Angle: Now you have done your shoot and it is about thinking about what you will need for this story. What are the major parts you want to tell? Where should it lead the attention to? Do you have a starting point and an end? Are there different angles to tell the story? Think outside the box. Try new stuff, new point of views (not only in the pictures).

4. Length: A photoessay, especially when presented in the web should normally not be longer than 15 pictures is my experience so far. We are used to a big amount of speed and it is hard to keep the attention, even when you have great pictures. A photoessay with ten really good pictures that combine all important aspects to make a far better story then when you put in your 30 best pictures, but they repeat the same aspects. Really try to think again: What tells the story? What is important for the story?

5. Parts: Think about the essay as a story. Every good story has a starting point, a body and a conclusion. In the classic photoessay this is shaped with a couple of different shots you include.

◾The establishing shot gives you an introduction and shows you where the story is taking place. Most of the times is is a wide-angle shot.
◾The medium shot is leading into the subject. It tells you more about it and how it belongs to the enviroment.
◾The close-up is a classic detail shot, giving you important single parts of the story.
◾The portrait is bringing the subject close and personal.
◾The moment is giving you special moments of the story. It could tell a little story in itself or be part of the bigger picture.
◾The closer is the shot that sums up the essay and leaves you with a thought or a conclusion.

This different parts don’t have to be in every photoessay in general. They are more giving you a direction what might help to tell the story, even when most photoessays at least have a establishing shot and a conclusion.

Talking about the speed of consum in the internet, it is important to catch the attention of the viewer directly. So maybe try switching the parts. Make your first shot not the establishing shot, but something like a ‘hook shot’ that pulls the viewer directly in the story. As always experiment with that.

6. Captions: The captions are another important part of the photoessay most of the times. I always try to have captions that do not tell what we already see in the picture. Let the captions add what your picture might not tell, like the names of people, their background or important information that could not be photographed. The captions allow you to give the story the last precision.

7. Experiment: All what I wrote before should be seen as a starting point. As there are thousand approaches to tell a story, if classic linear or non-linear, you have also all freedoms in your photoessay. Maybe you want to start with a certain moment and tell the story from there with what happend before and where it leads to. Or you mix different perspectives. Try it out. At the end it is important what tells the story best.

Video Essay: Chow Kit: Soul of a City

Chow Kit: Soul of a City is a photo project that aim’s to look into an old and vibrant business district area in Kuala Lumpur referred to as Chow Kit that’s teaming with slices of life and it’s unique relations offerings between it’s people and the place.

A once popular area that was considered before as the city center of Kuala Lumpur, it was evident then and now that Chow Kit is a place of wealth and prospect for the people inside and around Kuala Lumpur, for Malaysians and foreigners alike.

The video presented is a limited selection of images depicting the daily happenings of the various walks of life in a span of 24 hours around the area.

We are proud to present you a 2:11 minutes video-essay “Chow Kit: Soul of a City” by Syed Omar Syed Othman.

Photo-Essay: Speak Out Loud – Holocaust in GAZA

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by Authors: Mahfuz Jaffar

KUALA LUMPUR – Merdeka Square, 02 August 2014.

Thousands of Malaysians of various races thronged Dataran Merdeka here today to participate in “Save the Children of Gaza” peaceful-rally.

This rally was a message to the world that Malaysians totally rejected the Israel attack on Palestine.

As we know thousands of innocent Palestinians, mostly children and civilians, have been brutally killed. We want the Israeli attacks against the Palestinians stopped right now. And forever.!

Stop Genocide.!!!
Stop Apartheid.!!!
Stop Israeli Terror.!!!

Photo-Essay: Pasar Chow Kit Dalam Kenangan

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oleh Pengarang: Hadi Nik

Umumnya mengetahui asal usul dan lokasi pasar ini berada. Juga dikenali sebagai Pasar Lagenda di kalangan para peniaga yang telah lama berniaga di sini. Ianya juga merupakan antara pasar tertua yang berada di Kuala Lumpur ini.

Sebuah pasar yang sering dikunjungi oleh warga kota tidak kira bangsa, tua ataupun muda. Di sini kebanyakan barangan keperluan seharian mudah untuk didapati dan pembeli mempunyai banyak pilihan dengan barangan yang hendak dicari. Suasana di sini memang begitu sibuk dengan segala macam urusan jual beli.

Walaupun tapaknya lama, walaupun lorongnya sempit, walaupun keadaan sekeliling hingar bingar, pengunjung tetap tak putus datang mencari dan membeli. Dengan adegan para penjual yang cukup peramah sekali, menjadikan suasana begitu ceria kecoh tak terperi.

Semuanya telah tiada, semuanya senyap sunyi…
Tiada lagi kecoh di sana sini…
Apa yang tinggal hanyalah kenangan…
Kenangan yang takkan mudah dilupakan…
Kenangan yang banyak mengajar tentang kehidupan…
Yang telah banyak memberikan pengalaman…
Apakah ketentuan perjalanan…
Apakah perjalanan masih panjang…
Apakah perjalanan di masa akan datang…
Jika inilah ketentuan, terimalah demi pembangunan…
Demi kemudahan dan keselesaan, Biarpun dengan pengorbanan…
Pasar Basah Chow Kit kini kini dalam kenangan.