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10/12 Sunday 09:18PM

shooting on the streets

Wikipedia describes Street Photography as follows: "Street photography is a type of documentary photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places such as streets, parks, beaches, malls, political conventions and other settings.
 Street photography uses the techniques of straight photography in that it shows a pure vision of something, like holding up a mirror to society. Street photography often tends to be ironic and can be distanced from its subject matter, and often concentrates on a single human moment, caught at a decisive or poignant moment."

Bruneians have taken to street photography in a big way and heading this artistic movement is the man behind Fotografi Jalanan Brunei - Shah Indrawani, who leads a group of photography enthusiasts to spread the popularity of this genre of photography and make beautiful pictures of everyday scenes we don't usually pay attention to.

Tell us more about this group and your involvement in it.
Fotografi Jalanan Brunei (FJB) was created by a street photographer based in Kuala Lumpur, Mr. Chot, or better known as 'Mr. Chot Touch'. He started this Brunei street photography site after his first visit to Brunei in 2010 to do a workshop on street photography, at the invitation of a local studio - White Room Studio.  I was one of the participants at the workshop.  From that day, he realised the opportunities to expand the idea of street photography in Brunei founded this Facebook page specially for those who are interested in form of art. He appointed me as an administrator for this group page as I was very active in pursuing this activity.

How much can you say the difference this group has made to the local photography scene?
There has been a lot of developments and changes since the formation of this group.  The members of this group got to to learn methods, techniques and ideas on photography that differ from their usual approach in weddings and modeling photography.

How serious do you think the contribution this group has and can make? and how far do you wish to see it go?
Alhamdulillah, so far people in the streets of Brunei have started to accept street photography as part of their daily life because before this, people will suddenly run away or hide from the camera to avoid their picture being taken by any street photographer. After providing information on our technique and how a street photographer produces this art form, we hope that the man in the street can accept street photography as part of their daily life. I believe that every individual in the country can accept street photography as a form of art and it will continue to grow and open the eyes of organisations and people towards this type of art.

Any group workshops or activities on the horizon?
Considering that this group is just newly formed in the beginning of 2010, we don't have any workshops right now but insya Allah, we've had several discussions to work on a special workshop open to the public interested in street photography. Alhamdulillah, since the beginning, we've had a few activities that included Street Outing, Candid and Street Element. And every Sunday, I organise a 'Sunday Street Shooting' that is open to the member of the FJB.

Now let's talk about you, what type of cameras do you shoot with?
Ok, I'm a Nikon user. I shoot with my Nikon D700.

If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
The 50mm prime lens because it is handy and easy to use. It is also a favourite lens among street photographers.

What lighting equipment do you take on a shoot?
In street photography, I never use any lighting equipment such as a flash. I usually rely on the natural light so perfect timing is the main criteria to give your photo the 'wow' factor.

What do you feel is the most important element in photographing still life?
The most important element in photographing a still life are the creativity on how u wanna make it interesting to you n peoples eye while viewing it. For example,a different angle and framing while taking a cityscape or building structure can make your picture a viewing pleasure on looking at it.

We love your candid work and street photography, any secret in getting the perfect image?
Thank you soo much. :) For me, the secret is simple. Let yourself be as an artist, your viewfinder in your camera be your white canvas. Your eyes, your mind and your creativity will be your brush, your colours and your paints. You will decide which colour you want to use. Let your camera tell the story. I love doing a story with my street photos and let people think and feel what they can see from the pictures.

Which is your favorite image from the street photography category and why?
I love doing the Cinematic Candid Shoot because I love cinematic look-a-like photos and the tone in them. It can bring out certain feelings by just looking at it.

How important is Photoshop in your final images?
It is so important to me. I can clean out unnecessary objects, crop to make a photo more creative and change colour tone to give it more impact.

What is your most-used Photoshop tool, plug-in, action set etc.?
For street photography, I usually use Color Efex Pro plugin. For potraiture, I use Imagenomic.

Some photographers capture the image as it is within the frame of their lens. How do you feel about cropping an image?
Depends on the subject you capture. If it is necessary to crop the unnecessary parts or some distractions, for example, in candid shots, you can do so. If it is unnecessary, such as in cityscapes, landscapes and close up portraits, you dont have to.

What do you feel is the most important thing about photographing weddings or portraits?
Good question. Beside doing street photography I am also a wedding and potrait photographer. The things that are most needed in wedding and portrait photography are lighting, the subject's emotions and posture.

What is you most-proud achievement to date?
To be chosen as the leader and head administrator for the Fotografi Jalanan Brunei, where I am assigned by Mr. Chot to guide the new followers in the group on street photography - helping them to do street photography in a correct way, explaining the elements of street photography - I feel honoured to be selected and trusted by him.

Where would be your dream destination for photography?
There are a few, but my wish-places are Milan, India, Singapore and Amsterdam.

Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph?
If I have the chance, I would love to photograph the Afghanistan people and let the world see and feel their suffering, understand their life and their story. For modeling, I would love to photograph Angelina Jolie - she is a person with the most complete package in this world. :)

Any website and/or blog you visit often?
I usually visit the FJM - 'Fotografi Jalanan Malaysia' group page, Jebat.Net.Street and www.chouttouch.com.

What photographic or any organizations you belong to?
I don't belong to any photographic organisation here in Brunei.

Do you market or advertise your work? If so where?
Nope, I don't market or advertise my work, but I would love to do it in the near future.

How important is an awesome website for your business?
A great looking website will, for sure, easily attract people to view the contents of our website. At the same time it will attract more clients for business, especially for weddings and big events. Posting some of our work on the website is one of the ways to attract people.

What are your favourite images you have shot recently?
Featuring Ina Alimin, my favourite makeup artist who I usually work with on talent photo shoots. I have been working with her for quite some time but have never photographed her as a subject. One day, when boredom struck us, I asked her to be my subject. She did her own makeup and we picked an abandoned shop area as our spot. We rely on the natural light, with the help of a friend who held the light reflector for me.

The SOAS Mosque Lagoon - I have been taking a lot of this majestic mosque but never got the chance to take a shot from the Lagoon. One day, while I was doing my street videography, I managed to enter and take a beautiful image of the mosque from this angle.

On one of my recent 'Sunday Street Shooting' sessions, I was lucky to capture this image of a woman walking along the alley with the wordings in the background perfectly.

Also on one of my recent 'Sunday Street Shooting' sessions. In this photo, I made a story based on the subject and the surroundings.

One of my favourite element in Street Photography - the black and white.

What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography as a full time job?
Hold to this 3 words of wisdom - CREATIVITY, PASSION & TECHNIQUE. Insya Allah you can go far.

What do you think of the local photography industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years from now?
Alhamdulillah, the photography industry in Brunei nowadays is so unexpected. New faces, new ideas and new photography organisations, introduced from the younger set to the older generation. I believe in the next 5 years, a local Bruneian will emerge and stand together with the professional photographers from around the world.

Any photographer who inspires you?
In street photography, for sure it is Mr. Chottouch who inspires me to be who I am now.

We know that each of us has someone or something, which inspires our life and work. Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?
The people who support and inspire me are my family.  My wife always gives me her opinions, suggestions and her support in this field I am in. Her attitude and understanding is something I always appreciate.

Something you’re still learning?
I never stop learning what I do. :)

Finish this sentence.
If I could be invisible for one day with my camera…
... I will travel into the king's palace and capture all the things that I have never seen before.  It will be epic. I must take a shot from their bedroom :p

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