How photography shaped Malaysia's visual narrative over the years

A studio portrait from Penang in the 1960s. This is a hand-tinted silver gelatin print. Photo: Ilham Gallery

There are some curious items to be discovered in Ilham Gallery’s ongoing photography exhibition Bayangnya Itu Timbul Tenggelam: Photographic Cultures In Malaysia. While there is no doubt that the more nostalgic among us would be able to spend ages pouring over the old photographs featured in this exhibition, it is the inclusion of artefacts – from manuals to photography equipment and photo studio props – that really brings it all together.

It is hardly surprising though, as Bayangnya Itu Timbul Tenggelam: Photographic Cultures In Malaysia, as its name suggests, is a survey of the cultural and social significance of the photographic image during the last century or so, and not a history of photography and its technical processes.

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