Memory is a power of the mind by which facts can be remembered. Ever since we are born, new memories are planting into our brain day by day, until we no longer alive. It is our nature to retain and recall the past experiences in our life. The only matter is whether we choose to keep (good one) or let go (bad one) the memories set in our mind. Most people like to keep their good and sweet memories about their life, so that they can tell their children, grandchildren and friends about their stories. However, memory do fade with time, especially with age and all of us are aware about it. We do struggle to recall an event, a place, a face or a name, exploring our brain for some clue about a memory that we thought we have set in our brain. We know it happens from time to time and its out of our control, that’s why we need some other aids to keep our precious memory. Capturing image is one of the way to preserve our memory forever, which I believe is the main reason why camera was invented for. Until today, photography is used by many people to capture special moments and to tell stories.
In this modern age, photography has became a norm for our modern society. Owning a camera is nothing special for most of us, unlike 50 years ago where camera is considered something exclusive. Photography becomes more user-friendly and simplified when digital photography was introduced in late 1990s. With camera easily accessible to us, we can capture images easily any time, place, occasion, and with anyone we like. However, there are still a faction of society who can’t afford to possess a decent camera, not to mention having a self-portrait. Imagine these people do not have photo of themselves, their family, their childhood days, and their memorable occasions.
When I was working outstation in Sandakan, I had a chance to visit a water village, called Sandakan BDC Water Village. It is a water village on stilts on the coast of Sandakan, connected by plank walkways. It is a village where the residents build their wooden houses above the sea with whatever resources in their hand. Most of these people work as fisherman or general workers in some factories, and receive a low monthly income of RM300 – RM600 (Approximate 100USD – 200USD), living a harsh life. Not to forget the local living cost is almost on par with the living cost in most of the main cities in West Malaysia.
After some walk around the village, I decided to start my second photography project, a long-term charity project to provide these people who wouldn’t be able to have a nice photo of themselves, to have one, to keep their memories, for free. Here are some images I have captured during the visit.
After taking their photos, I went back to West Malaysia to develop the film, scanned the film and printed the images out. Each of them in the photos will get their own copies. When I returned to Sandakan for my work, I visited the place again.
Unfortunately, during my second visit to the village, I couldn’t find those children in the photos, but I met a guy who happens to be the elder brother for one of the children in the photos and he promised to help me distributing the photos to the children.
This is my first step on this charity project and this project doesn’t stop here. It probably will be my life-time project as long as I am able to shoot.
Be generous. Don’t just take photograph of others without leaving them a copy of your work. I believe it makes a difference especially for the people in the photos as it is part of their memories.
Nikon F100, Tokina AF 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5
Kodak T-Max 400
Developed and scanned by BWFilmProcessing