(above Mr. A, merchant and resident of Sungai Penchala).
When I travel I tend to be out all day with my camera. I'll gladly (OK, almost gladly) get out of bed before dawn and head out for first light. I'll shoot details, interiors, or in shade at the high points in the day and then continue on into twilight. Day after day. I come back from these trips charged up and vow to hit the streets of Kuala Lumpur (where I live) with the same fervor. But something happens.
I get back in the old routine. Walk the dogs, check email, process images, take care of business. Given the number of times I've said that I will 'head out tomorrow' I'm surprised my wife hasn't just chucked me out the window when the alarm goes off. Unless I have a specific assignment in KL the camera, for the most part, stays in the bag. Then I read this article by the fantastic photographer Gavin Gough and I thought - he's talking about me.
A few weeks back I did some editorial photography at Bayan Indah Culinary Resort . Bayan Indah is located in Sungai Penchala a kampung which on a good traffic day is maybe 20 minutes from 'downtown' KL (and 5 minutes from my house). Given KL's rapid urbanization, Sungai Penchala is one of KL's last remaining kampungs. I wanted to explore the area more - but how? Well gee Einstein, you might just have to leave that cushy desk chair and break a sweat for a change. And so I did.
And the reaction? A little cautious maybe, curious for sure, but overall very warm and welcoming. Of course people did ask me what I was doing but that part was a no brainer. This is such a unique area that you can't help but feel that it's a matter of time before urban sprawl swallows it up like the neighborhoods at it's borders. I definitely got some agreement on this point.
I am not sure where this project is going, or if it even needs to 'go' anywhere at all. I've made two visits in a week and plan to go back this week (with prints to give people). I know if I am going to tell a story about this community that I'll need to get a lot closer which means it will take some time to build trust. Let's see.