Wednesday, 30 July 2008

AOP OPEN 08 : Public Choice Vote begins!

The Association of Photographers Open Awards for 2008 is now ready for public voting. 82 finalist's images are up on their website now and the public may vote for their Public Choice best image. The image with the most votes will be announced at 9.00pm on 21st August on the AOP website.

My image is on the site as one of the finalists chosen from 1,700 entries, so I 'm rather chuffed. Well if you like my image, please, vote for it!

As an incentive everyone who takes part in the AOP Open public vote will be entered into a prize draw to win an Intuos3 Pen Tablet system by Wacom. The photographer of the winning image for the 'Public Choice' will also win an Intuos3 Pen Tablet system and the photographer of the 'Best in Show' image will win an Epson Stylus Photo R2880 Printer. To find out more about these prizes, please click

Thursday, 17 July 2008

A surprise awaiting

I arrived back from a 3-week visit to Malaysia to discover that one of my photographs submitted for the Association of Photographers (AOP) Open 2008 competition has been selected for exhibition and inclusion in the first AOP Open book!

The AOP is a body founded in 1968 by a group of professional photographers to :

''unite by a common aim to challenge the then unreasonable demands of model agencies, it brought together professional photographers, to protect their rights and promote photography.

Constituted as a non-profit distributing trade association, today its membership exceeds 1,800 photographers and photographic assistants. It is supported by photographers´ agents, printers, manufacturers and suppliers of photographic equipment. The AOP also has a number of affiliated colleges and plays a significant role in promoting, maintaining and developing relationships between all levels of higher and further education and the professional industry.''

It runs a very well subscribed annual Open competition which has no theme, purely seeking unusual and extraordinary images. I entered about 5 images and this one was selected to be exhibited at the Open Exhibition from 12 August to 13 September 2008 at the AOP Gallery in London. The finalists images are open to a public voting system to pick the winners so please have a look at the finalist images when they are up online.

I took this photograph backstage at Ashley Isham's London Fashion Week Summer 2008 show at the Royal Opera House back in February. It shows a typical chaotic backstage makeup table but without a soul in sight. Everyone was busy prepping the models by the stage entrance during the rehearsal, and I noticed this surreal image, of half drunk water bottles, tissues, coffee cups, hairsprays, brushes etc. It looked the perfect shot.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Kuala Lumpur's Pudu Jail Mural

I have been in KL for 2 and a half weeks now, and with the workshop weekends located at Central Market, we are right in the heart of the city. A section of KL city centre on a Sunday feels like downtown Nepal!

I accompanied a small group of participants weaving our way from Central Market via Jalan Tun HS Lee and into Leboh Ampang, passing Medan Pasar into the back streets of Kota Raya shopping complex. The streets are filled with Nepalese, Myanmar and Bangladeshi citizens hanging out with their friends, shopping, eating, it was incredible. Even some restaurants serve Nepalese food, with Nepalese signage, DVD's stores, money changers, groceries etc. I felt like a tourist in KL.

The sights and sounds brought back memories of walking through some market streets in Ho Chi Minh City, or even in Brick Lane. This is what a real city should feel, not the cosy air-conditioned malls that so many frequent at the weekends.

At the workshop, I toyed with the idea of documenting through photographs the painted mural of the Pudu Jail exterior walls. The mural was painted by several inmates in the early 1980s and the prison was built by the British in 1895. The prison has been earmarked for demolition soon, to be replaced by another commercial/office development as it sits on prime land.

The mural painting is a panorama of nature, with jungle scenes, trees, hills and rivers and stretches the entire 2 flanks of the prison, and may still be the world's longest external mural.

I have sought the workshop's participants to jointly work on the project, with the end result to produce a small book to celebrate the achievement. Watch this space..