exploring & researching, many papers & studies point towards north, our anthropological trail, and Taiwan is one such place. A pilot trip in November, meeting & researching, hopefully setting some pretext and deeper understanding


IN THE NEWS; Nikkei Asian Review

Old-style box-camera portraits intrigue Malaysians– Photographer's pinhole pictures capture the heart and soul of the country by CAROLYN HONG, Contributing writer, Nikkei Asian Review

KUALA LUMPUR -- Observers could be forgiven for wondering why graphic designer and artist Jeffrey Lim lugs an old oil tin around with him. In an age of super-slim camera phones, it is far from obvious that Lim's tin is a combination camera and darkroom.

Lim, a youthful 39-year-old, has been travelling around Malaysia since 2014 to take photographs of people in market places and villages. "It is really as simple as light through a pinhole falling onto paper coated with silver," he said.



Obsolete (?) talk & demonstration

With billions of images being made and shared digitally every day, and photographic equipment increasingly reliant on software and computing power, are traditional image-making methods still relevant?

In conjunction with No Man's Land, an Antarctic photography exhibition currently hosted in Balai Seni Negara (BSN), artists Mahen Bala, Jeffrey Lim and Dr. Azril Ismail are conducting a workshop and sharing session on analogue photography.

Analogue processes in photography explores the intimate and direct relationship between the person, the proces, and the outcome. The physicality and modality of these analogue processes allow the practitioners to modify, adapt, and experiment with various elements to produce new perspectives on a familiar object.

Mahen Bala will start the session with a short presentation on the extreme challenges faced by the early photographers in Antarctica and how their works have survived the century and is
being revisited today.

K. Azril Ismail will be sharing his experience in 19th century photographic processes. He will demonstrate the many steps that fo into making a wet plate using collodion.

Jeffrey Lim will be demonstrating how 'anything' can be turned into a camera, provided the practitioner has a full grasp of the fundamental principles of light, optics and photo-chemistry.


Travelling Bag for 2 Cameras

120L bag & trolley system, capable of transporting #1interchange & #5elecamm about 25kg total

30" hardshell, RM 290+ got this one instead
120L expended
foldable trolley


REPAIRED; Sekonic L-308DC light meter

my Sekonic light meter has returned from Japan's factory. Cost me bout RM 200 shipping in total, repair is under warranty, now I have 2 light meters


WORKSHOP: Arus Maker Education Workshop

17 Sept, 3pm will be holding a workshop in collaboration with Huda XD Arus on the magic of photography. Building simple camera obscura and experiencing image making. Only meant for School Kids, but I think open to public too. MDEC KL Convention Centre



TALK: Pecha Kucha

Coming 7th Sept, I'll be giving a Pecha Kucha talk, pretty quick 6 minutes on the KANTA portraits project. For the first time, I'll be sharing a few intimate details of my personal journey with identity and how i found myself through making portraits. #KantaBorneo is still ongoing, i'll share a few notes on that too. I'll do a demonstration after too.

prints of the organisers

hakin does a selfie

with the organisers

presentation slide


Hari Hasanah

Coming September, #KantaPortraits will be giving #FreePortraits during Hari Hasanah. With support from Yayasan Hasanah


Art for grabs: Book fest, Publika

#KantaPortraits floor setup, three cameras, #1interchange #4woodie #5elecamm. With new inclusion of #instudio25 artworks stall of prints & other produce. Assistant Bronz, and visit from the only other box camera practitioner in Malaysia @nurulhudamr. Managed to get a few shots of the booth before it gets chaotic #KantaBoxKamra raising funds for going to Taipei for proposal meetings & return to #KantaBorneo! thank you so many for the support! I lost count of f how many, maybe alot of misses, but a few good prints I hope.


IN THE NEWS: The Focus Widens

The Focus Widens (print 12 August 2017)
Photographer captures Sabah and Sarawak with an unusual camera (online 21 August 2017)
by Qishin Tariq, The Star Newspaper. I missed the article, thanks for pointing it out Huda.



#KantaBorneo Miri & Keningau

2nd excursion Miri, Keningau #KantaBorneo visiting Miri, Sarawak and Keningau, Sabah. Just locked down the dates (begin Aug) My first to Sarawak, through Miri. Heading down south west, meeting Teachers and making demonstrations along the way. If we're lucky, join in a Tamu or visit some longhouses too. Huda as my guide. Keningau through JOAS/ PAKOS for Hari Orang Asal/ Indigenous People day #KantaBoxKamra #KantaPortraits #instudio25


South of Miri

Southwest of Kota Kinabalu


Presentation: Realities Asian Photography Month

Kanta Portraits– Realities Asian Photography Month July 2017
autoplay presentation of 3 minutes, audio was required, exported as video file! first time i've ever prepared a presentation like so, i must be so obsolete.


Foma photo papers

14 Jul
#20x24 #foma photo paper, testing out a different brand, still RC paper #resincoated but included some FB paper #fiberbased to test some positive prints #kantaportraits #kantaboxkamra #instudio25 thanks Foma Malaysia

13 Jul
tonight's pickup, foma from Chech Rep. testing out other alternative from an independent distributor Foma Malaysia! tomorrow expecting delivery for #20x24



IN THE MEDIA; Meet your Makers

short video on 'Meet your Makers' featuring the building aspect of the cameras. shot during the recent exhibition where i've set up the biggest build so far #7BilikObscura. great chance that they were there to document it! thanks Daily Rojak team!


Build; Shelf/ worktable

new shelf & table unit for kanta. the fourth shelving work table I have for the project. I need more shelves


New stock arrives

new fresh stock arrives, replenish my old "expired" "discounted-price" stock. RM$2,000++ worth of photo chemicals & papers, and I still haven't bought #20x24 for my large prints! (that's another 2grand!) no more cheap rates, people of KL, sorry :( also this means I've done more than a thousand prints! that's perhaps 500 portraits #KantaPortraits ok it's getting very serious now!
10 boxes 3.5 x 5.5" (100pc) RC gloss about RM 800
1 box 20 x 24" (15pc) FB art paper RM900
5 liter MultiDev RM200
5 liter Ilfo fix RM200


BUILD #7BilikObscura

Taking down the room camera


<picture caption> the insides of camera #7BilikObscura wet bench on the left, 'dry' bench on the right

12 June; KANTA exhibition ended yesterday; taking down of camera #7BilikObscura #20x24 #16x20, biggest camera-build I've attempted. Thank you to the many apprentices for the support, the journey of learning through doing and the many people who came and sat through patiently, experiencing the process together. Need to make some improvements and upgrade some processes, but overall it is a success #KantaPortraits #KantaBoxKamra #instudio25

11 June; One of the kind print, what I call the #firstsheet. One of my oldest designer colleague & good friend, Alex. I use expired paper, for one reason that they're cheaper (struggling artist), but another important aspect, the papers have unique characters and effects, silver have 'crystalised' and in this case, stuck to the plastic bag being the first sheet in the bag, giving interesting streaking patterns to the print. Camera #7bilikobscura #16x20 #kantaboxkamra #kantaportraits @instudio25 #photography #bwphotography #Repost @huwe

11 June; Was only able to do 5 demonstrations a day on the weekend, and sometimes by chance we have an open slot, or it just so happens, time allows us to meet. As random as Kuala Lumpur is, we all have stories and the more we share with each other, we find we have so much in common. Have a conversation Malaysia.

#REPOST @lilyjamaflyTime moves in circles. Old styles come back in fashion. The same mistakes are made over and over again to teach the same lessons. And our own faces tend to repeat themselves.

As we took this photo, my mom told us about the last time she saw a camera like this. In the 1960s the government deployed photographers to little kampungs around the country to take IC photos for the "first" Malaysians, fresh out of independence.

Thank you Jeffrey @instudio25 and the Kanta box team for taking this lovely portrait of us! I'm in love with it. And grateful that you managed to squeeze us in on your last day. #kantaboxkamra #KantaPortraits

11 June; "This is your radiance." He said the camera, this paper, alkaline and acidic solutions work together to capture your radiance and the light around you. Because science proves that all humans emit light. It is a collaboration.

Making this photograph was a magical experience. Jeffrey and his team talked me through every second of sitting down keeping my eyes and head in the direction we've chosen, staying still, conserving energy to hold one moment absolutely still. In that moment, against all posing ideas, my entire body decided to burst into a toothy grin. And the moment was gone. We went into the dark room and Jeffrey used his gloved hands to make a portrait out of paper while narrating how every step of bathing the paper and exposing it to light would bring my past moment to life.

This entire experience made me more conscious of who I am versus how I want to be seen.

Thank you Jeffrey and team, for your knowledge in this art and patiently working with me to achieve this photograph. Today is the final day for you to have this experience at Urbanscape House. Wait in line. #Repost @melizarani #kantaportraits #Kantaboxkamra

pic from faizul
demonstration on saturday
Danial, youngest sitter

preparing Meliza for portrait
image inside the camera

11 June; Instant portraits with Camera #7BilikObscura, a demonstration and walk through of the process, never had so many people inside my camera, and the youngest sitter ever, 6 month old Daniel #kantaportraits #Kantaboxkamra pics from various participants, thank you for the support

justin close up
preparation for close up

10 June; 10 June; #KantaPortraits with #7BilikObscura #roomcamera making portraits of @iamjustinlim #Kantaboxkamra #instudio25build thanks to @liankianlik for the pics!

first test run
room camera team

print caption; test prints, close focus cropped face (1st test), mid shot (3rd test), full body standing (2nd test)

7 June; Camera #7bilikobscura #20x24 our first successful test run. need some refinements but the print is awesome. thanks to the team work of Bronz, Ramizah, Ken, and Kanta/ Kamra operator loading assistant Nurul Huda. at the moment needs minimum of 2 to operate, I'm gonna try a procedure with only 1 operator. People have asked, Open for public, trial run portrait price at RM180. limited runs per day

7 June; camera #7bilikobscura full body portraits, something I've not worked with, probably cause of space constraints and lighting!, but with the #20x24 camera, it's a thing of beauty, here are 2 test I've taken so far. every shot is a first for me to solve and overcome, and it's been a pleasure to work with! managed to create a safe curtain so the #roomcamera can be operated by a single person! achievement unlocked! haha, literally a walk-in camera, my kinda studio

9 June– fully operational

6 June setup
1st sitter with print

2nd print
2 person print


6 June; say hello to camera build #7BilikObscura / #roomcamera the largest I've built so far. did 3 successful test prints. turned out amazing. abit more complex in terms of operations, but fundamentals are the same #Kantaboxkamra #kantaportraits exhibition

9 June; Camera build #7BilikObscura biggest I've built so far. Making negative exposures at #20x24 inches. Only around for the next few days, not sure when I'll get the chance to ever do it again. Catch it in action over the weekend, and if you'd really like an instant-portrait (you'll need to catch me at a good time). Trial run period RM180 #kantaportraits #Kantaboxkamra

2 June; Say hello to camera build #7BilikObscura (Room Obscura), name inspired from my old blog on darkroom http://www.bilikobscura.blogspot.com will be building a room-sized camera capable of shooting at 20x24" #kantaportraits #kantaboxkamra #bilikobscura will build and do a test print on Tuesday 6th June #cameraroom #20x24

31 May; will be attempting a build, room-sized camera, dubbed Bilik Obscura after my old blogspot http://bilikobscura.blogspot.my/

it will be my 7th build, featuring the 486mm projector lens and a painter's easel. It can print up to 20 x 24" for now as that's the limitations of the photo paper that i can get hold of now.


Exhibition: preparation work

Booklet- covers
Booklet- inside pages
Booklet- foldout index sheet

5 June; Exhibition booklet (foldout index sheet) Introduction to project & collaboration. Index of the 20 portraits, writeup of the sitters, and short description of the cameras on exhibit. limited print run, RM10. #KANTAboxkamra #kantaborneo #kantaportraits #instudio25


1 June; Making of a Silverprint Sheena Baharudin her light, she radiates, her likeness, emerges from the paper, as if magic. at 525% enlargement Silver Resin Coated paper. (leaking tray, my chemical level is low too so I had to handle the print)


1 June; Making of a Silverprint Poodien. made a couple of his prints some experiments on slight oxidation and solarising. 525% enlargement on Silver RC paper. (leaky tray and my chemical level is low too so i had to handle the print)

31 May; the apparatus (projector), in the early days of photography, cameras were used as projectors to make enlargements. it's like a reverse camera, rather than capturing, it projects light. Where the camera would be put up against a window, with a mirror reflecting the ambient sky light in-through the camera.

Here is the project's makeshift photo enlarger, combination of plate holder and projector lens about 700+mm for a 200% enlargement #kantaportraits #kantaboxkamra #instudio25build

31 May; Upcoming exhibition was initially proposed late last year by Kenny to include KANTA portraits. The project decided to only select portraits taken this year 2017 to be part of this collaboration. Most were taken in Kuala Lumpur, if not Greater Kuala Lumpur, of random people who happen to have their portrait taken at the setup booth. It will be an interesting juxtapose to Born In Malaysia 's approach in terms of portraiture photography. I hope you'll enjoy the prints and stories.

22 of more that 150 portraits were shortlisted and 20 hand-prints were made. A special apparatus (projector) was built to enable prints at 20 x 24" from #papernegatives that were smaller in size. 200% to 525% enlargement. It was no easy feat, with many sleepless nights. Results are some less satisfactory and some more pleasant. The short interviews for the captions were the most revealing and intimate. Thank you everyone for your kind support & participation #kantaportraits #kantaboxkamra #kantaborneo #5elecamm #instudio25build