30 September 2014

Up Your Alley @ The Print Room

Framing pictures and creating contexts are the basic skills photographers need to utilise, and street photography provides one avenue of expression that tests these competencies. Guest submissions offer forgettable snapshots, as compared to the studio’s usual line-up. Linda Chin continues her focus on the subject of women, with a picture of Kyoto geishas strolling in the late evening, and another of one geisha bowing as a respectful act. Complementing these photographs is one snapshot of umbrellas crowding underneath an affectionately-titled signboard in Jiufen 九份, tying her exhibits under the exploratory theme of cultural clichés and concealed gestures. Razlan Yusof’s pictures are taken when the decisive moment is secondary to the exotic subjects, his choice of black & white dampening the foreign images.

Linda Chin - Gion 1 (2014)

Paul Gadd shows off his confident technique with coloured and beautifully-framed  photographs, taken in Korean subway stations and Bangladeshi ports. A blank signboard creates contrast in artificial light; Sampans arranged in a lotus configuration and an earthy building fronted by stationary trishaws, leave a striking impression with its day-lit captures of human industry. Paul’s other set of monochromatic pictures are taken in Kuala Lumpur, where suggestive compositions like ‘Man’, and ‘M is for…”, are interesting but less compelling than the coloured series. Black blurry borders are a tiresome framing approach, employed also by Shareem Amry, whose back lane snapshots fit literally with the exhibition title “Up Your Alley”. A long wedding veil and a child beggar project a moralistic outlook, which background characters inject additional context into her photographs.

Paul Gadd #6 (2014)

Group exhibitions are missed opportunities for those whose output can potentially form a powerful series of works, like Linda, Shareem, and Alex Chan. A child cups her hands over her ears at a lion dance performance near Jalan Alor. A dark silhouette and a long shadow occupy a vertical picture that looks like New York City, but is in fact KL. A partially covered shot inside a roadside café sees one man slumped onto his seat, his anonymity amplified by a ghostly mirrored effect. These three photographs by Alex feature one protagonist each, the environment provoking a personal reaction/consequence that represent an urban experience. With the widespread usage of digital cameras and large-capacity memory cards, the decisive moment becomes even more important in street photography, and that includes the post-production decision to colour or not.

Alex Chan #2 (2014)

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