I just met a model that found the fountain of youth

February 2019 was set to be my last month to clear my model shootings. I was about to embark on a new journey that would drastically cut my personal photography time.

As nature have a funny way of playing tricks, I received a message on my instagram of a possible collaboration. I looked at her profile, Kisstherainne, her images are of a very young asian chinese model, i put her barely at 23 at most.

*None of the images below are edited except in tonal colors.

analogue portrait young doctor
Dr.teh, Porta800, Leica M7

When we did the shoot, I only had the film camera with me, so i bought a Porta800 from BBG in Publika, Kuala Lumpur and proceeded to a nearby cafe. Minutes later, a young girl arrived with her friend. She looks exactly like the images on her instagram so I am happy that she is keeping it real.

After a short chat of the expectations (I was shooting film and didn’t want her to be surprised at the grainy results), we begin shooting.

Dr.Teh, Porta800, Leica M7
Dr.Teh, Portra800, Leica M7

After the shoot, we had a short coffee break where we discussed about when the files will be ready and how would I share the images to her. That is when she dropped the A bomb, she showed me her IC (she probably already knew this was the only way to convince anyone) as Malaysia’s identity card have the date of birth listed as part of its number. The format is YYMMDD-XXXXXX I read the first two digit…87.

I looked at her name card, “Dr.Teh“. It must have taken me around a full minute to process what i have just seen. That youthful looking “23” years old girl, is born in 1987. 1987! that is older than 1991 and 1991 is the milestone age i place on my mind as the year models reach a mature age of freelancing.

Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm
Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm

During our 2nd collaboration, she explained to me that looking young in fact has been a problem in her career. She started a dental clinic and graduated since 2011 yet sometimes clients would find her advice for advance treatments a bit uneasy due to her youthful looks. She has tried curling her hair, no makeup, sleep late and wearing an old spectacle frame to look older without making much progress. I couldn’t be sure whether she was joking or serious (pun intended).

On the 2nd session, I made it a point to try can capture her youthful looking appearance so I brought along the highest resolution camera I had in my inventory, the 645Z medium format. I felt that this story needs to written, this encounter, after all, I been shooting over 9 years myself and this is the first time my estimation of age is so far from right.

Dr. Teh, Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm
Dr. Teh, Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm

During my conversation with Dr. Teh Jing Ju, I realized this is a very dedicated individual to her work and cared a lot about her clients and employees. “Don’t be fooled by my looks, I am a serious person and my nurses knows I am very strict with working ethics” (I cant recalled the exact words so paraphrasing).

Looking back in the 9 years of shooting, what have photography brought me? Adventures, happiness, heartaches, knowledge, total waste of time? None of those are permanent nor matter, it boils down to whether my photography actually helped others in their lives, whether it’s adding that pinch of joy or crossing path with someone in their own personal journey, I felt that I have played a part, no matter how small and photography is meaningful in that way.

Dr. Teh, Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm
Dr. Teh, Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm

I have shared Dr. Teh’s story to a few of my friends and invited 2 of them in separate sessions to validate for themselves if I am exaggerating. Since no online feeds wanted to pick this story up, I decided to just share it here in my own blog.

Dr. Teh, Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm
Dr. Teh, Defy ageing, 645Z 55mm

Lastly, this blog was written with consent from her, including her age stated, if there is anyone who wanted the world to know that she is older than she looks, thats Dr.Teh. So the next time you are in Sunway, Subang or Puchong area and you needed to do that Dental checkup, you can go see for yourself if what i wrote here are true.

Looking professional with that spectacle

If portraiture bores you, try doing it at night {portraiture | CCD}

malaysia top portrait photographer

Just wanted to quickly share two images i just took tonight.

If you feel that portraiture are beginning to bore you and you have been doing way too many portraits, try doing it at night.

Its a totally different level and playing field at night and the resulting images often brings a long lost smile to that photography kid hiding inside.

All images below are taken with Nikon CCD sensor camera at F1.4.  As to which camera it is, you will have to dig around my blogs to find out, i have been very vocal about how underrated this camera is, i bought three of them just so i have some assurance of its continuity.

 

malaysia top portrait photographer

malaysia top portrait photographer

 

The model is Amanda CME, also known as Mak3upQueen, you can find her on facebook and if you happened to be in Malaysia, do engage her makeup services for your model photoshooting.

cheers.

 

 

Shooting film in 2016, 2017 {kodak ektachrome revival}

I take it that you are here is because either you are curious about shooting film or that you read about the revival of kodak ektachrome. I been shooting ALOT of film in 2016, fueled mainly by the desire to slow down (you will hear this reason from almost anyone who shoots film) or the cosmetics tones that film provides.

Film labs in malaysia are cheap. So cheap that the labs like ColorDotCom and Bang Bang Geng have films from all over the world posted to it for development and scanning. The results are uploaded via wetransfer or google drive the moment its completed and owners can enjoy the results while their negatives takes its time to return.

Total cost per roll? USD $3, that includes both development and scanning.

Don’t get me wrong, i am not giving up on digital. But digital, like a genie from the lamp gave me so much power that i forgot whats it feels like to enjoy the process and to stop being a gear head or reading up exciting new gears every quarter. Moore’s law guarantee that your current digital gears will be crappy in comparison to new releases faster than the new car models.

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film tones, fujifilm 400H, olympus 35 uc 42 1.7

Film cameras on the other hand had reached its golden age somewhere in the middle of 1970s. Since no “sensor” was involved, manufacturers had to think out of the box on how to make the next release. Premium and even mid level cameras were built so well, they have a heft to it when you carry them and they easily lasted over 20 years. Most of these manufacturers focused on quality and build and the vast amount of film cameras available today and still functional are a testimony to these decisions.

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mamiya rz67pro, 180mm f4.5. Kodak Porta 400

Truth is, digital cameras have reached a level whereby you don’t need to buy a new one anymore. The nikon d3000 that i purposely buy because of its large CCD sensor produces amazing results. Yup, d3000, the supposedly weakest camera released by nikon according to Ken rockwell ;-).

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nikon d3000, sigma 50 1.4 (non art)

Around 6 years ago, the camera that got me interested in photography in the first place is the quirky Sigma DP2. I was interested in why would a manufacturer go against all odds to pursue and release a camera using a different sensor than everyone else is. I soon gave up on that camera after realizing that i am addicted to pixel peeping  but produces nothing interesting in actual photos. Film on the other hand is at the far right side of the spectrum, where one no longer pursue sharpness, latest and greatest or burst speed, but rather the communication with the subject and the process to think more before pressing the shutter.

Shooting film enables me to appreciate the digital gear that i had, the awesome power of technology and how much it has progressed since early 2000.

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Canon 6D, 35 1.4L lens with VSCO film tones.

My only FF digital camera is the Canon 6D and i have only 1 lens to go with it, the 35 mm 1.4 L. This to me is more than sufficient to create albums that new models and existing models friends would want. When the album are not urgent, i would use film as well. In the world of film, a Leica M7 with a Noctilu f1.0 do not have much advantage over a cheap USD $100 camera like the Olympus 35 uc, they are both used depending on my mood for the type of results i want to get, instead of showing off  Leica as a brick around the neck.

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Leica M7. Noctilux f1.0. Kodak Color plus 200

As i went one full circle from 2011 till 2017, i began to appreciate and understood the reality and truth that “gears” are not really the important factor, but rather the photographer.

I bet if i had my hands on the tragic Sigma DP2 again, perhaps this time, things would be different.

 

 

 

Finding a purpose {portraiture}

angela,lilies. 50 1.4d nikon f100

Sometimes some of us must wonder. Does anything we do actually means anything. I believe we are each called to live this life in a significant way, significant and yet transcends time.

Two years ago, a friend of mine, lee lit min, died in his apartment in San Francisco. A geek at heart, he has no girl friend and never bothered him to socialize for that purpose. He worked for Juniper networks and later some car company on software for car dashboards.

Lit min inspired me in my teenage years to do programming, which ultimately became my career of choice. He was my best friend, period. The cause of his death..cardiac failure. All that is left are his photos and images in my mind. Nothing he did, in computing, meant anything. His existence and friendship did.

In 2011, a long lost friend who is an air stewardess suddenly appear and asked for my help to take photos of her. Kiko is a cheeful person and i was surprised that she willingly took every opportunity to get her photos done, despite her working schedule. I was very new back then and pretty much learning as i go. Did a collection of photos of her and her sister Corrine, a wonderful set in Broga hills near Semenyih and various other albums.

I only found out the reason to her determination later on. She had cancer. Late stage breast cancer and wanted the best of her images taken. By the time she allowed me to know this, it was thru her sister cause she has left back to Singapore. I took a plane down to visit her the very next day..saw her last smiling expression, and she left earth the following day.

Three years ago, in 2012, i met Janice, an aspiring model. The Kiko incident reminded me that i should do my best if help is needed. In 2013, we were like the best friend/photog/model combo you can think of. I had her interest in my mind all the time and found it highly motivating to help her, to the best of my limited influence in that community. Few months down the road, our friendship faltered, i didn’t know why, communication was harder and it just went on drips.
I wish her all the best, pretty much have the best interest that she succeed.

Now its 2015. I am shooting film and occasionally digital. I have joined a startup while taking leaves from my own company, leaving it in very capable hands of my other partners.

The world didn’t become better because we embraced iphones and facebooks. Economies of many European countries are still failing. China still churns out the worst humanity news and terrorists like ISIS are still killing innocents in the name of religion.

We flood our attention with movies and feel good marvel stories. Deep down we hope that some avengers or Superman will come and put everything in order, that all these issues will be gone and the good prevails.

* Click. I took some photos of Angela last week using a digital. Spent some emjoyable time editing it and trying to make it filmic. Applied VSCO’s Provia 400. The last lab that could do real color slides processing just announced they no longer offer such service a month ago.

* Click.
A small part of me wished that my images can comfort some soul out there in this world, make someone’s day and life brighter.