Geographer Photographer

Kota Bharu altar

What Goes In To A Datuk House?

March 17, 2022

Malaysians like to respect the Datuk by building him a house. There are so many interesting versions of a Datuk house, a place that gives him cover and provides a place for worship. Sometimes the houses look a lot like…

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An altar

The Datuk – What’s In A Name?

March 16, 2022

In Tanjong Karang, Datuk temples and shrines abound. The Datuk helps protect the fishermen who hail from a sea-faring background in Fujian province in China. There are 5 Datuks worshipped in this shrine and some of their names are indicated,…

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A man kissing another man’s forehead

Connecting & Reconnecting

August 12, 2019

This story comes from a cluster of Hindu temples under the high tension wires in Kampung Eng Ann, Klang. Here communities gather to reclaim their attachment to sacred space, generations after being separated from their land. We found ourselves there,…

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Twisted arms

Night of the Harimau

February 11, 2019

Communities have different ways of responding to pressures on their traditionally-held beliefs. When a conservative faction in Johor state revived a religious fatwah against the art of Kuda Kepang, the response was loud and clear. In the heart of Parit…

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An altar

The Lure of the Bright Lights

December 4, 2017

This is a short story about a dreamer, or rather it’s the beginning of a story about a dreamer. It comes from backstage at the Chinese Opera, a place where I often lose myself in romantic ideals of the itinerant…

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Tinariwen

Dancing Through Fire

November 24, 2017

This past week, I had reason to think about equivalents, particularly what that means to photography, but also what it means to music, to poetry, to painting, and drawing. Minor White wrote that, in a photograph, “that which seems to…

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Bongo drummer

Before the Show

November 15, 2017

The sound of the nomadic Tuareg people of Mali is still echoing through the city as I write this. Theirs is a music that comes from time, that comes from a sense of knowing and a sense of longing. Tinariwen,…

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Full-Powered Energy at City God Temple

September 22, 2017

Once again, during the 7th lunar month, I returned to the City God temple on the river in Brickfields. The resident deity, Chenghuangshen, is a protector of the urban environment. Perhaps that is the attraction. Perhaps it’s also the fluid…

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Generations of Respect: The Rhythms of Kompang Jidor

September 21, 2017

Kompang Jidor is the traditional art of complex drumming and devotional chanting. I was fortunate to photograph a performance by Persatuan Kompang Kg Parit Madirono in which they displayed their skills, their energy and their contagious camaraderie.  The performers represented…

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Ritual items

Dancing with the Dalang

August 14, 2017

The Think City space on the edge of Medan Pasar in Kuala Lumpur came to life with a performance by Kumpulan Sri Warisan Pusaka – the beloved Wayang Kulit troupe from Kelantan. Organized by Pusaka, they performed a traditional story…

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