Students use old-fashioned film photography to record heritage buildings

Focus on faces: Lee John Salmon posing next to his favourite photograph in the exhibition titled ‘Gabriel’ (left).

PHOTOGRAPHY studio The Print Room KL is displaying its students’ artworks in an exhibition titled Within These Walls.

The exhibition explores older built spaces that are deemed to have heritage value and how these space are used by the local community.

Each of the unique locations that the students photographed are located around Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Perak.

The collection of black-and-white photographs were then painstakingly developed and printed in the darkroom by the nine students, who are studying basic and advanced film photography at the studio.

Eileen Chwee, 27, photographed a rickety wooden sundry shop in Section 8, Petaling Jaya, where she used to buy her snacks as a schoolgirl.

“I used to see the owner deliver sacks of rice from house to house on his old bicycle. This shop has been there for more than 20 years and the owner is still there,” said Chwee.

“Although it is an art class, the course has taught me how to be precise,” said Chwee, who embraced film photography recently.

Linda Chin, 26, also photographed something close to her childhood — a traditional Chinese coffeeshop in Kajang.

“The coffeeshop is a few shops down from my father’s old shop and our family used to go there often. Coffeeshops have been part of our culture for a long time and most of us have eaten in one before,” said Chin.

Leong Weng Wah, 32, photographed the 57-year-old Lok Ann Hotel in Petaling Street after being introduced to the owner.

“Due to the MRT project, I am not sure how much longer it will be around. This is a good chance to document the building and its occupants while I still have the chance,” said Leong.

Meanwhile, Lee John Salmon and Rathika Rethinasamy both explored shared spaces, with Salmon photographing the buildings and people around Lorong Ampang while Rathika explored shophouses which have been used by multiple generations.

Other notable locations were the Coliseum Cafe, photographed by Alia Zulasmin, the Kuala Lumpur railway station by Nashah Bashah and the Batu Gajah Hospital by Razlan Yusof.

Paul Gadd, who is resident photographer and instructor at The Print Room, said he chose the theme while working on a project to photograph Malaysian heritage.

“Through our first student exhibition, I learned that Malaysians like to look at photographs about Malaysia. This second exhibition is more powerful because the students photographed not just buildings, but also the people and how they used the space,” said Gadd, 43, who is also displaying his photographs of Chowrasta market in Penang.

Within These Walls is on until Feb 3, 2013 at The Print Room, 49, Lorong 16/9E, Petaling Jaya.

The gallery is open every Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 7pm.

For details, visit

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Lifestyle , The Print Room , Paul Gadd


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