XYX Ballet x Georgetown


I’ve put off posting this set of photos that I took last week because I couldn’t get the mood right. I like my sets of photos to have a consistent mood running through them. The mood of the picture is probably the most important thing. I try to edit photos as quickly as possible while the memory of the shoot is still fresh on my mind, so it can merge seamlessly with my initial concept to produce photos that are both artistic and personal. But this time I just can’t get it right. I’ve returned to Photoshop countless times, trying this and that, but with each re-edit it gets further from what instinctively feels right, until I suppose, it is lost.

It’s not like I’m not happy with the shoot. I really am. It was a Thursday evening, the day after I went to Alor Setar. Narmatha, Xin Yi and I left her house too late because it was raining, but finally I decided to try against the weather. Poor Xin Yi was walking the wet roads of Love Lane in her pointe shoes, until I felt really bad about it and ran to 7-Eleven with the red umbrella and bought two plastic bags for her to tie around her shoes. Narmatha was trudging around with my teal cardigan around her head as a poor substitute for a proper raincoat, but it was still great fun because she was laughing contagiously. I loved watching the reactions of strangers around us. Sometimes they’re harassers, other times they’re just really curious children. When Xin Yi was posing, some Chinese tourists stopped to take photos. Shop owners came out to stand at the sidewalk and watch.

Of course there wasn’t a ballet performance for them to watch. They were watching a strange, new spectacle in which both Narmatha and I were also actors. I think it would have been much more interesting if we had done it in kopitiams and mamaks instead (my original locations!). Xin Yi was clearly horrified at the idea, so we settled on a compromise of good old Georgetown.


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On that evening, it rained too hard and the sky was too dark for us to continue any further. We did it on the following Monday, but naturally the flamboyant mood of the first shoot was gone. We went back to Love Lane to re-shoot some poses, then drove to Lim Jetty. I think the team morale was pretty low at this point. The excitement at the newness of the shoot had long evaporated, and it had begun to feel like a chore to get the right shots. I already told you that the mood is the most important, and if the mood is nonexistent, nothing good is going to come out of it.

And then this little dog appeared. To be precise, it saw the three of us just as we noticed it in the gated compounds of one of the houses on the jetty. Like a well-trained dog in a Wes Anderson movie, it came out and joined us. Naturally everyone got a bit distracted, me included. So we were going aww aww awww even while posing and shooting, while the little dog wandered between the three of us, rubbing against one leg or another. Then it walked slightly away from Xin Yi, did the crouchy-gonna-poop-pose, and SNAP! Hah! Picture of the day!



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Massive thanks to Narmatha and Xin Yi for not beating me up when they had the chance to.

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