Monday, 27 April 2009

Open window to the future

After 10 days of intensive assignments, slide show reviews and talks, with 4 nights spent in the relative 'comfort' of the Nanga Sumpa longhouse and meeting its 28 families, we emerged from the heat and bug infested jungle of Batang Ai into the civility of the Kuching Hilton to debrief and unwind (hot showers!). Our host, Philip of Borneo Adventure prepared a sumptious dinner at his home for the group, after which we had a slideshow presentation of the Top 100 images of the week from each participant.

Our pilot workshop closed with farewells from the lobby of the Hilton this morning, only to return with a bigger workshop program for 2009/10 with some exciting venues being this space!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Return to Kuching

It was almost 3 years since I was last in Sarawak. In 2006, I was in Kuching photographing the Iban people, and then went by boat to Sibu and up the Rajang river to Kapit to visit a traditional longhouse. Following that, I went by Malaysia Airlines via Miri to the hill-perched settlement of Bario where the Kelabit people call their hometown.

Today I arrived back in Kuching on Air Asia 5206 to a familiar air. There have been changes, like the iconic State Asembly rotunda building across the river from the Waterfront. That wasn't there 3 years ago. Sarawak loves iconic stand alone structures. Especially state buildings. The Main Bazaar stretch of old shop houses seemed busier and houses more touristic stores.

I am here with my photographer colleague Andy and his wife Maria, to begin a 10-day Photo Travel workshop with a group of enthusiasts from the UK. The main group arrives tomorrow, and the fun begins..

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Sarawak : Here we come!

This weekend sees the start of's series of World Photo Travel workshops, where Andy Craggs and myself will be taking a small group from Europe on a 10-Day photo-discovery tour to Sarawak and up-river to Batang Ai and onward to the Nanga Sumpa longhouse. We are travelling with Borneo Adventures, based in Kuching who are handling all our travel arrangements and guide.

Thursday, 9 April 2009


The annual Arts For Grabs weekend is round again at The Annexe Gallery, and since the KL Photoawards 2009 is exhibiting the finalists for from the 7 - 23 May, I am organising the following events. For registration, send me an email at :

Saturday & Sunday, 9th & 10th May : 2 - 3 pm


Gallery Talk Session 1/2 & Review of portrait images 2/2

Steven Lee attempts to define what contemporary photography for portraiture is, and will walk through the 46 finalists of the first KL Photoawards 2009 on show at The Annexe Gallery. He will present tips and techniques for the photographer and explain concept, planning and execution of a portrait session. Participants will have 24 hours to plan and photograph a portrait session of their friends or family, and return the next day to show, discuss and receive feedback of their newly photographed portraits.

Steven Lee is an award winning freelance photographer based in the UK, noted for his photo-documentary books Outside Looking In : Kuala Lumpur and Malaysians. He runs, which involves travel photography, workshops, publishing and exhibition. He is the initiator of the first KL Photoawards 2009 for contemporary portraiture.


Sunday, 10th May : 5 - 7 pm


Have you ever been afraid of photographing strangers? What equipment should you use? How do you maintain distance and yet obtain great street images? Learn techniques and tips on how to shoot effectively and safely in the street directly with Jimin Lai, ex AFP and REUTERS photographer. Jimin will take a small group onto the streets of Kuala Lumpur to capture scenes and people up close. He will demonstrate composition, angle and approach on how to photograph striking images. Limited spaces available : Register early

Jimin Lai is an international freelance photojournalist, a speaker, trainer, and a Mac user. He was formerly Chief Photographer in KL for Agence France-Presse, Senior Staff Photographer for The Star daily newspaper, and Stringer for REUTERS. He is most sought after for his photography workshops and corporate work.