June 4th to 11th Exhibition

EXHIBITION June 4th to11th RUANG by Think City. Concentration and effort now go towards this short exhibition as a collaboration with Kenny Loh. On his 2nd installation with his thematic #BorninMalaysia #ragstoriches, this exhibit will be called #PeopleofKualaLumpur #instantportraits he has invited me to be part of this project.

I will be exhibiting portraits taken this year, from booths I've set up. trying my best to select and reproduce the prints, showcasing the beautiful people of KL. It is a growing exhibit, where instant portraits taken around the vicinity will also be added on throughout the exhibit duration, the weekend will feature the finale compilation. Kanta Box Kamra #1interchange and some of my other camera prototypes will be up on display.

I will also be attempting to build my latest concept camera, #7 (no working title yet) into the exhibit. What would be my largest ever, printing life size at 20x24". practically, it will be a room camera, one where you can step into entirely.

Art for Grabs, Urbanscapes

last planned booth for the year. Interesting crowd, 3rd time with Prototype #5 Element Camera #elecamm and almost standard procedure to invite the sitter into the dark box (room/tent).

Met amazing people of Kuala Lumpur, and of the world, heard talks on topics of consciousnes. The loveliest people of KL. Thank you everyone, and thanks to Bronz for her amazing assistance.

Bronz, aspiring fine art & student of life, Kamra assistant

Ming #allisamazing 
instant polaroid! hah! by Ming


Art Market; Kg. Attap, KL

"it's just a thing" small art market at Kg. Attap organised by chitoo. 29 & 30 April weekend. debuting a working prototype of the latest build. #6 Sphere Camera #spherecam a.k.a Gantua, pushing the concept of a camera, using a landscape lighting ball filled with water as a lens. A scaled up concept Spherical Aqua Lens after prototype #3 Bulb.

Fundraising for the next phase of project, traveling to East Malaysia #KantaBorneo #KantaBoxKamra at "It's Just a Thing" art gather/ market, come 29 & 30 April weekend

Prototype #1 Interchange, featuring interchange-able lens, smallest & most versatile, box kamra built. This mobile camera has been into the far jungles of Northern Belum, Central Pahang, Southern Endau Rompin, overseas to river mangroves of Sabah, to halfway round the world São Paulo, on land (car, bus, bicycle), on boat and in the air. (need to change the outer shell steel can and make some upgrades, but still going strong). 

Prototype #4 Woodie, the biggest Kamra Box built featuring dual format; horizontal/ vertical, limited changeable lens, easiest to operate, a stationary 'plaza-camera' (not the most mobile), also built to be reverse-able as an image projector. 

Prototype #5 Element Camera #elecamm the biggest camera format I've built. still going through it's trial run. Featuring a thrash bag as it's bellows, this build still holds true to the philosophy of using found and used materials & parts as it's make up while trying to be versatile and adaptive (although more specialised parts are used). It features some camera parts that are over a century old and using only the basic elements to projecting an image. It takes at a 10x12" format, vertical/ horizontal, a different build concept from the box series, this is the new range of cameras that #instudio25/build will be exploring with. Still processing instantly on-site, via a darktent, this camera will probably be making its trip to East Malaysia as a Mobile Studio Setup. (although not as mobile).

Debuting Prototype #6 Sphere Camera #spherecamm/ Gantua. The entire series of the new builds were based on this camera concept, utilising a Spherical Aqua Lens (much like prototype #3 Bulb). Made possible with the kind donation of the surveyor's tripod, aptly called 'Julia Stand' after the 'patron Nurzuliana Abd Aziz' and a few more edition and assistance, Magic Arm on loan from Helios Loo, making of the rear element frame with tools & guidance from Gan Siong King, "buy/token" of rear element window from Kb Wong/ @hsien from @Arcadia, and gift of wooden plate holder from K Azril Ismail. this 'camera' features a 6.5x8.5" format, which is a strange size, vertical only. Will be attempting portraits selectively through demonstrations only.

art market space
transport package
Prototype #1 Interchange, trusty camera
Prototype #6 #SphereCamm, #5 #EleCamm
Master Chan makes an appearance with Mahen

#5 Element Camera
#1 interchange

#4 Woodie
#6 Sphere Camera/ Gantua


BUILD #6 Gantua, a conceptual prototype

Making of a new build #6 Gantua. Although nothing new, this concept camera is based on prototype #3 Bulb, or the use of a Spherical Aqua Lens, one of the first patented lenses, and an interesting approach to using water in a bowl to refract light.

The major component of this build was actually the initial trigger/ inspiration to the new range of large format build concept. More updates soon

26 April– Dry run, with lens filled with water
mid April– building base mount
at market, as a display
setup with darkbox
first print made
- purchase 2x2" (measures 1.5"), rear element frame, build gan, mount rear element view frame. purchase tee nut. bolt & nut imperial threads. 

- prepared mounting on tripod leg. prepare plateholder with rattan shim, spacers (chopstick). bought acrylic sheets as plate holder spacers. 

- measure rear ground glass with plate holder length. difference in 2mm more for plate holder. +2mm to offset plate holder.

26 Apr- Front element, packaging fold solution with waste cardboard. spherical aqua lens rated at 274 to 300mm. Aperture size calculated to /f4 at 300/4=ø75mm. reinforce base with weaved hemp rope. fill with water, 4 rounds with yellow bucket with large funnel. use hand pump to remove water from lens. tripod stabilised with added weight.

Dry test run with imagery achieved, at 900mm from front lens/ aperture board, for 6.5x8.5" projection. lighting is fair, bright, focus is soft, hard to achieve sharp focus, suggest /f8 or 11 to achieve a degree of projectile sharpness. only a print exposure with flash lighting assistance to determine. top coat/ dark cloth not long enough for close focus. light leaks numerous.


Drama of the Light meter

light meter took a tumble, showed only error on reading. contacted engine tong, local sekonic distributor, located warranty card 2 year (Nov 2015), purchased new replacement while broken one gets sent back to manufacturer in Japan. RM 833, a RM200+ increase in 2 years

 old one E.u

Master chan visit

presenting portrait prints to Master Chan. Mahen purchases a Nagoya 4x5. 'inherit'/ bought' couple of Packard shutters, and a rotary backing, rear element 4x5. got Master Chan to agree to make an appearance at Market this weekend

Market Booth, Desapark

a short stint with a new market, in dog central part of town. First ever dog portrait. broke my light meter here.



April Blue Cyanotype Exhibition

April Blue Cyanotype Exhibition at 仲夏夜 / Midsummer Night by travelling HK Textile Artist @laigarling. love the #cyaness deep blue hues photographic print. 交流 “exchange knowledge”



Nic Emma night

#KantaBoxKamra Nic & Emma's last do in KL, had to take their portraits with the camera. always supportive of the project. was unable to ever get an exhibition up when they were here. Thanks for a great night ;) (pic from @d.t6n #pinjampic)

setting up reproduction, red & the inside of kamra
mini exhibit
Nic & Emma



Master Chan visit

Portrait of my Master Chan, with #elecamm, thrash bag camera. Slowly sinking in, the idea of my build, for my master. He has warmed up to it and my quirkiness. #ChanSifu a camera rebuilder, photography guru, and a close friend #kantaboxkamra #instudio25 #adaptreuse #instudio25build

Visiting Master Chan, from south pole straight to camera master, Mahen Bala prodigal son returns! 

Mahen acquiring a 4x5
setting up elecamm, portrait of my master


Art For Grabs; Kanta Instant Portraits DEBUTING #Elecamm

Come 25 & 26 March, will be opening a Instant Portrait booth at this art market to raise fund for the next phase of this project. Debuting the big 10 x 12" camera too, with test shots


3R print
10 x 12 print

closeup storage
booth on trolley


KANTA Borneo; first trip to East Malaysia

followed a film crew into rural Sabah, Eloi River Village, Pitas, Northern Sabah. Estuary country with the Tambanoa Tribe, River people "Orang Asal / Original People" Natives.

more update soon


BUILD; Mobile Darkbox

010317– For use with Element Camera #elecamm, the 10x12" plate holder camera. A foldable 'tent', which is made for diffusing light for product shoot. Comes in various sizes, chose 75x75cm due to the format & tray size, quite sizable and spacious. Biggest challenge is to light-proof the tent. Using the same materials used for the bellows, garbage bags, double ply, as a very light and water-proof material. Inexpensive and readily available in-the-field.

040317– Still needs more development, figuring out for internal stack system for trays, squeegee, wet bench and a dry bench to store and reload the plate holders. Ventilation is gonna be big issue.

060317– little branding to keep the cover right side up and front. i'm starting to like this blockie typeface

080317– bought a usb powered fan for ventilation, spray painted the blades flat-black


Japan Foundation Artists, KL

hanging out with the japanese artists for the exhibition Escape from the SEA




DEMO; Refugee School

Part of the 2nd phase of the journey; #edgesofmalaysia

01 Camera Strapped 26/01
02 Demonstrating 26/01
03 First Magic 26/01
04 The Image 15/02
05 Making Portraits 15/02
06 Image in the box 15/02
07 Next Batch 01/03
01– Camera strapped on and ready to go, #bikepacking with Kamra #1 to visit a refugee school for show & demonstration, introduction to the community. it’s an underground network and an unwritten system for refugees and migrant. I got asked some hard questions by the kids, I'm learning about them as much as they are from me. 26/01

02– Demonstrating the process, while being their special guest for English language class. “photography is magic”, my best scientific explanation of the process haha :) this has been my most rewarding experience so far. Most of these students are from the North West State of Myanmar, refugee status perhaps still in limbo. 26/01

03– the first magic of photography, the ‘moulding’ of light to produce a likeness image. 26/01

04– the image, moulding light with just found items. Demonstration, portraits Students of age 9-10. 15/02

05– Making portraits of the class, one at a time. Students of age 9-10. 15/02

06– “image” in the box, most fulfilling experience, when these kids started showing the same experiment to the other classes. 15/02

07– next batch of class from refugee school, ‘science & english class’ plus making portraits. 01/03