Street photography in Kuala Lumpur is hot work

One of my favourite street photography breakouts from the heat and chaos of Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur is Coffee Amo. The cafe is not on street level (and perhaps a little difficult to find) if you’re not a regular. It is well signposted once you’ve reached the address. You climb a small flight of dimly lit creaky stairs, the coffee aroma and the fun illustrations greet you at the top of the stairway and entice you to enter the cafe.

Coffee Amo
Coffee Amo signage directing you to a very good coffee 🙂

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Street Photography Ethics

Street Portrait Photography is my passion.

I love stepping out with my camera, wondering who I might meet on my travels, and what photos I’ll make along the way.

My vocation is portrait photography, and the street provides so many interesting subjects.

The opportunity to learn about people, a snippet of their lives is what motivates me to keep stepping out.

When the portraits are downloaded, it’s another opportunity for me to gaze upon the subject, recall our conversation and imagine more …

This is a short list of what is important to me in my craft of Street Portrait Photography.

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Street Photography the Risks of Chasing Art

Street photography is not without its challenges. This is the first post in a series I’m writing about my experiences on the street with accompanying photos.

Personal safety is a biggie for me, and sometimes I put myself at risk by being too in the frame and not being aware of my surroundings. Plus, I don’t have eye’s in the back of my head, and prefer to travel alone – basically, because a companion would be very bored hanging with me and there’s no fun in that and I would feel bad. Which in turn would disrupt my focus.

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Christmas in Luang Prabang – Laos

I spent Christmas in Luang Prabang Laos, a peaceful holiday away from the bustling metropolis of Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia.

Luang Prabang’s climate is different from Kuala Lumpur’s, it is much cooler in the mornings and evenings.

From my research for the holiday I was aware of this, but unfortunately my packing lent on the side of summer ensembles. Due to low cloud hanging in the valley the sun often didn’t appear until about 11 am and its enveloping warmth feels like a visit from a dear friend. My packing choices meant I wore the same jeans, puffer jacket and long sleeve shirt twice daily for ten days. Once home, I swore never to wear these items of clothing again, and stored them deep in the recesses of my wardrobe.

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Weekend Relaxing Exploring Ipoh

Ipoh was on my list of must visits while living in Kuala Lumpur. Ipoh is the capital of Malaysia’s Perak state and travel by electric train from KL Sentral is approximately 90 minutes. Ideally, we wanted to stay somewhere within walking distance of the Old Town with an agenda to escape the city buzz and relax walking around the Old Town, experience great food, and visit the cave temples.

The boutique hotel Sarang Paloh, only  a short walk of 600 metres from the train station sounded perfect. Sarang Paloh is a heritage stay in the Oversea Building and the Yick Woh building. The art deco façade is beautifully restored along with the interior which is decorated with antiques and preloved old furniture. The restoration is of a high standard and materials as close to the original have been used. The staff are knowledgeable about Ipoh and very helpful. I loved my stay in at Sarang Paloh.

Sarang Paloh - courtyard
Sarang Paloh heritage hotel in Ipoh – Malaysia

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One Night Out in Soi Bangla

When I first hit Bangla Road (Soi Bangla) in Patong it was a bit disorientating.

I’d had a few cocktails beforehand to help me slip into the party spirit. The 400 metre road was closed off to vehicle traffic. Bangla was a party zone, with neon signs and lights flashing, and loud thumping music from the competing line-up of street bars stimulating my senses. It was jam-packed with people, and it seemed like everyone was out for a night of excess.

The atmosphere was festive; with touts selling everything from tickets to ‘ping-pong shows’ to the latest plastic whizzy thing that may entertain children for a few hours before boredom sets in or the toy breaks.

Scantily clothed girls wriggle their wares in the hope of enticing our group to enter their establishment. With flamboyant Ladyboy dancers at Soi Vegas sexily posing for photographs. I looked up to the second stories of bars and saw girls gyrating on poles, girls in glass surrounds giving the come-hither stare.

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Ampang Park Street Gang – “APSG”

I’d noticed a regular gathering of skaterboarders at the Ampang Park LRT Station Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia and often had my arms filled and no camera.

This evening I made a special trip with my camera in the hope that the skateboarders would be out and about. I chose the 24-70mm lens for speed and flexibility, and decided to use only the available natural light. As luck would have it, three skateboarders rolled out from the LRT Station, and the late afternoon light was nice and bright.

I introduced myself to the skaterboarders and asked if I could hangout and take photos of them. They agreed, these are the photos I took of the ‘Ampang Park Street Gang – APSG’.

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