Sern Li asked if there’s any chance I’d be in Malaysia during October to shoot his wedding.
No, I replied. But I’d be there for another wedding during July, perhaps we could arrange a pre-wedding session.
Ok, I’ll get back to you, he replied.
I regretted the proposal instantly, because I imagined the three of us travelling to somewhere far, humid and probably irrelevant.
My imagination raced to insect repellents, extra travel insurance, hepatitis immunisation.
To much surprise they came back with Klang as a location, because that’s Serene’s hometown.
It is the absolute last place any Malaysian couple would think to have their pre-wedding session.
Why? Here’s a hint: the sister city of Klang is Ürümqi in China.
Because it is not safe, not clean, not ‘proper’.
Proper is somewhere that ignites ‘joy’, the beach, balloons, mountains, river.
So the brief changed completely.
The clients decided nostalgia trumps coolness.
And they are willing to take the risk since no one has done it before.
(I tried googling ‘Klang pre-wedding photographs’ to no avail.)
I didn’t come up with the title of this post; Sern Li did.
It was the title of our group chat, presumably a tongue-in-cheek relief.
But for me it was the core message of the shoot.
Deep down, I desperately wanted Klang to look good.
Because if I made a couple in Klang look like a couple in Melbourne, then hopefully everyone else would give Klang a shot.
So on the day, we had some food, started with a first location, where they felt embarrassed and appeared stiff.
The second location was blocked by a homeless man. I improvised.
We moved on to a rest stop in Little India, had some coffee and cake.
Took a very serious shot. Then a not so serious shot.
Started to feel uneasy that many Indians (in Little India) were staring at us.
I made them sit on the floor.
After calling it a day, I changed my mind and turned into a park, so I could take a photo of a tree.
You know the story.
Young protagonist keeps levelling up on his warrior path, only to one day realise the final level is the first – his origin.
I’m not saying I’d unlock the achievement of super-photography-man.
But every time I visit Klang, I tend to think it’s my last time.
And I’m glad I managed to shoot there once.
With clients who appreciate the place.