An excursion to Malaysia, Part One (about 30 images)

Joined
Jan 20, 2006
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Absolutley great work, really great looking stuff. I love the expression on the dogs face in the two girls and their new puppy picture.
 

gho

Joined
Feb 7, 2005
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California
Extrordinary shots, Peter! And what a wonderful narrative to go along with it. Thanks for taking the time to show us. I don't travel much (I actually don't travel at all), and live my life vicariously through the superb images you and others post here.

Sure does make me want to get out and see the world.
 
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Feb 3, 2005
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506
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Durban, South Africa
Please consider yourselves individually thanked for all your kind comments; they are truly appreciated.

Some specifics -

andreasb said:
My favorite place in this part of the world is Chiang Mai (Spelling?) in northern Thailand, where all the handicraft seems to be made still by hand, Silver, handspun and colored silk, whole english grand style furnityre sets, hand made paper parasolls, and of course the Buddist Temple are something I never will forget.

Indeed, Andreas, Chiang Mai is a lovely place, and I'm fortunate to have been there twice. We caught the train both times from Bangkok; I do like trains. The north is so relaxed, and the handcrafts, as you say are wonderful. Last time around we went to Mae Hong Son, even further north on the Burmese border..on the edge of the jungle; what a wonderful place. And so cheap, it's ridiculous !


tweber said:
Can you comment on how you approach your subjects, in particular those whom you've photographed head on. (eg: Clock maker, the albino, and others).
Also, have you bumped saturation on many of these?

Tom, I think it varies with each person. I have to say that Malaysia was quite difficult for people shots, and I got quite a few polite, but firm no's. One has to learn not to take this personally, but move on and keep at it.

Specifically, the clock man was a real nice guy. I chatted to him for a good half hour. Turns out he now lived alone upstairs in the shop, long since retired from actually fixing clocks. His wife had died, so he was quite lonely and he came down everyday to change a couple of watch batteries just so he could have some company. I guess that's why the clocks had long since stopped working.

I usually try to spend a little time with the people I photograph so that I become their "vehicle" for their expression of who they really are, and then the shot is just so much more personal.

But, sometimes I don't, especially when the shot is just there, and you have to "grab it" or lose it.

But I do have one golden rule...I never take pictures of people from a distance with a long lens, Then you stop having personal contact with people, and something is missing from the shot for me, usually it's the eye contact. Besides, I feel that's a little paparazzi like and invasive. I'm usually up close and personal; for that sort of work the 17-55 I find just ideal.

In working up close, you have to work fast, and sometimes...one looses the shot because you are just not fast enough. One needs to develop a sort of prediction in one's head for what that person is going to do next, you have to almost second guess them. So you wait for the jigsaw of expressions ansd angles to fall into place...sometimes it does, just as one expects it to do, sometimes it doesn't. I love watching people; I can think of nothing better thatn sitting at a street cafe with a good cappuchino watching the world go by. And if one watches enough, one discovers that people are sometimes quite predictable.

As to colour, I usually use Adobe + Color Space ll as my setting. This can be quite flat, so I do tweak my colors afterwards to capture the mood I want to express. I try to revisualise the total environment I was in..which includes the atmosphere and mood of the place, not simply the reflected light.

On another note, I must say that places like Malaysia are huge travel bargains right now, even for people like me with rotten exchange rates. I can spend a month there for far, far less than holidaying in my own country. If you are looking for a wonderfully exotic travel destination, the east is great. Malaysia must be one of the safest places you could visit.

One night I was in a crowded street market and I left my wallet without noticing, at a stall. About half an hour later, an agitated man who had obviously been combing the market to find me, tapped me on the shoulder to let me know that he had been searching for me to give me back my wallet.

That's certainly not something that would happen in South Africa, ever!

Thanks again, everyone

Peter B
 
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Wow, what a story! thanks for taking the time to show us this. :smile: :biggrin:

OK, but I'm depressed now, how should one compare to something like this....:redface:

You just reminded me, about the long way I still have to go, before hoping to aquire similar stunning images.


:Shy: :Shy: :Unsure: :Angry: :Crunk:

But I will sure try!:biggrin:

Thanks very much for sharing!
 
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East Norriton, PA
Fantastic I can feel your poeple shots if you know what I mean there is some sort of connection
 
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John DeSanto
Wonderful work, Peter

Peter:

As usual, your extraordinary talent leaves all of us grasping for words to describe our feelings. But our words fall far short of doing the job. If we could somehow manage it, I'm sure every photographer here would join me in rising to their feet for a well-deserved standing-ovation on this particular posting.

In lieu of the virtual applause, please accept this thought instead: We are honored that you walk among us.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
372
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St. Louis
bendheim said:
Some specifics -



Tom, I think it varies with each person. I have to say that Malaysia was quite difficult for people shots, and I got quite a few polite, but firm no's. One has to learn not to take this personally, but move on and keep at it.

Specifically, the clock man was a real nice guy. I chatted to him for a good half hour. Turns out he now lived alone upstairs in the shop, long since retired from actually fixing clocks. His wife had died, so he was quite lonely and he came down everyday to change a couple of watch batteries just so he could have some company. I guess that's why the clocks had long since stopped working.

I usually try to spend a little time with the people I photograph so that I become their "vehicle" for their expression of who they really are, and then the shot is just so much more personal.

But, sometimes I don't, especially when the shot is just there, and you have to "grab it" or lose it.

But I do have one golden rule...I never take pictures of people from a distance with a long lens, Then you stop having personal contact with people, and something is missing from the shot for me, usually it's the eye contact. Besides, I feel that's a little paparazzi like and invasive. I'm usually up close and personal; for that sort of work the 17-55 I find just ideal.

[SNIP]
Peter B

Peter,

Thanks for taking the time for such thoughtful reflection and instruction. I am often intimdated and at a loss when looking to take street portraits. You've given me real food for thought and reflection.

Tom
 
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Apr 30, 2005
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Thanks, Peter

I really enjoyed your essay. Now I have added Malaysia to my list of must see places. Great photos.
 
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Thanks for taking the time and effort to let us in on your trip. Beautiful images and essays really give me a strong impression of both the place and the photographer.
 
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Jan 31, 2005
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Brooklyn, NY USA
absolutely stunning, the work of a real master. But of course ;-) The images tell the story, but your words enhance and elaborate. You should do a book of these images. I am in awe...
 
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Feb 1, 2006
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Michigan
Beautiful images there, Bendheim. You really did my home country justice with your images and you were spot on with your writeup too. I really appreciate the fact that you took the time to understand Malaysia better. I believe you have a real advantage being a foreigner. Most locals are more approachable and receptive to tourists especially if a photograph is involved.

Ps. Georgetown is the capital of the state of Penang. I'm glad you made your way up there. It's THE place for local cuisine. I know because I spent 18 years of my life there. :)

Thanks again for sharing your experience with everyone here. Looking forward to part II!
 
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mikench said:
Georgetown is the capital of the state of Penang. I'm glad you made your way up there. It's THE place for local cuisine. I know because I spent 18 years of my life there. :)

Thanks a lot Mike...I have to say that I liked Georgetown the most of all the places I visited and the food is simply fantastic. We were lucky enough to stay at the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion, which is now a museum as well as a place one can stay in. The original owner, Cheong Fatt Tze, was known as the the "Rockerfeller of the East" as he was one of the richest men in Asia around the turn of the century. The entire house was designed around Feng Shui principles and later fully restored by local architects.

Georgetown may well see me again...I've been researching the "Malaysia, my second home" programme which allows foreigners to locate there...it's a lovely place, rich in history.

Peter
 
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Denmark
I just have to comment on these shots. They are so great. Each and everyone tells a story. I wish I had your eye and talent. Thanks for sharing. Saved me the money to buy an expensive magazine to see shots like these.
 

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