September 21, 2023


The Truth must be told no matter what so Justice can live!

Masjid India ~ Faces and Places ~ Street Photography

Masjid India ~ a popular shopping area in the older part of Kuala Lumpur is full of sights, faces and places that would give street photographers endless subjects to immortalize by way of capturing them on both print and digital form.

I was there yesterday to get my supply of Roti Benggali from the two Muhammad’s Bread Truck and also go on my impromptu street photography. Frankly speaking, engaging in street photography nowadays has to be done discreetly. 

Not that many folks especially those foreign illegal immigrants trying to make a fast buck at places like Jalan Masjid India and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman like being captured on camera.

Being both  illegal and unlicensed, they do not want their faces and illegal trade being recorded on the sidewalks of KL! The minute they see you pointing your camera lens in their direction, they will turn away and raise the alarm to their fellow alien traders. I heard one of the fake smartphone Indonesian trading woman shout ‘Kamera! Kamera!‘ to her colleague and they turned away quickly! 

For photographers like me, the best option when faced with hostile characters such as these is to ignore them and just move along. Not to make any eye contact with them and proceed with capturing other scenes much more worthy of our attention.

I couldn’t be bothered with such illegals and proceeded to go shoot other interesting characters out there. Like for instance, the cobbler busy at work. 

We would not face such adverse reactions from legitimate business people or those who are here legally. It’s their knowing fully well of their illegal status and presence that makes them so edgy and prone to creating a scene or ruckus. 

So for those similarly inclined to conduct street photography, you need to be wise and stay street smart. Always be ready to move along and not linger at the areas where such illegal traders are hanging out. Best to be safe and not having to deal with any undesirables out there.

I can say that this photo above is one of the most memorable shots I managed to capture during my day out at the historical major thoroughfare of Jalan Masjid India! I don’t know whether the man on the wheelchair is a panhandler but the guy on the sidewalk is definitely one. Captured this exchange between the two candidly and it is truly one interesting shot!

Judging from the reactions of the men above, clearly they do not like to be photographed but as this photographer comes across as an elderly fellow Indian Muslim like them complete with a skull cap and white beard, they are dumbfounded as to whether they should protest or let it slide? Hehehehe…

The tourist above was gesticulating excitedly but unaware of being photographed through my zoom lens. His pale complexioned face complete with a cigarette dangling from his fingers made a nice composition topped off with a dark background. A good shot I must say.

Instead of just one, now we have a couple. Makes an interesting addition to the Masjid India Faces album. 

This gentleman seemed nonchalant about being photographed. This interaction took just a split second and no acknowledgment on my part. This is what street photography is all about. Candid snapshots of life as it unfurls before my camera. No time to think or compose. Just snap, snap, snap away as the opportunity opens up before us.

Like fresh out of a Bollywood movie, this colorful guy came along busy talking on his smartphone. One thing for sure, when it comes to smartphone users, Indians and Africans are the most animated ones when they are on the phone.

All kinds of gesticulations will take place and the sound decibels of thir voice will keep rising to a crescendo! The voice will come to a peak and depending on the context and content of such a phone conversation, the outcome can go either way. You do not want an Indian going berserk running and screaming after you! No sirree!

Panhandler in Black & White. Life devoid of color. 

If you are into people-watching, this street is flush with interesting subjects. A turban clad Pakistani speaks to a western garbed man whilst a scavenger rummages through a dust bin. How’s that for a striking contrast between different persons?

This elderly Malay man seems fixated on his smartphone screen. Oblivious to all that is transpiring around him. He is lost in a virtual world of his own. Period!

Once in a while, one gets a unique shot such as this. A perspective of the busy street life where each person seems totally lost in their own individual bubble of life. 

Children of shopkeepers and traders are forced to spend their days playing in front of their parents shops and hang out around the place. The bored boy wearing blue was not that pleased with his dad for not buying him something he wanted at a neighboring shop.

My Roti Benggali breadseller goofing around upon seeing me aiming my camera lenses in his direction.

Willing to travel all the way to KL Old City just to buy these bread from my native Penang home island.

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