It was around five or six in the evening when 41-year-old Liew Chee Shang was taking photos of the sunset by the Brunei River with a few friends when he noticed passengers getting on boats, some with shopping bags and heading home.
He turned his camera and decided to just snap a lot of pictures. One of them won the admiration of the judges at the Borneo Bulletin Photography Contest, and was chosen as the grand prize winner for the Food & Lifestyle category.
“I like going around taking photographs during my free time of places and people’s lifestyles,” said Liew, adding that he enjoys taking photos in the Kampong Ayer area. For him, photography is a hobby that started seven years ago, and this was the second time he participated in the contest.
“It’s good so you can present pictures to those who are also interested in photography,” he said of the competition, “as well as explore more places, people and cultures”.
Meanwhile, Wong Kiong, 53, won the grand prize for the Fitness and Sports category with a photo of a mountain bike rider making a jump at night.
“I shoot a lot of sports and mountain biking is my primary subject. I got to know a group of riders based in Sungai Liang and they ride at night during puasa.” He asked to tag along to take some photos.
“We set up our cameras, and when they jumped, we got the shot. The light behind is actually from the top of the hill and there’s a ramp to jump,” he continued. “It was not easy, and I respect these riders a lot because it was very dark, and they just depend on one torchlight on the front of the bicycle.”
He said he started photography from a young age, but got serious about five years ago, learning with a group of friends.
He advised photographers to not be shy to approach people to take shots on the street.
“Just go out and enjoy it. Don’t think too much about what other people think of your photo. It’s your photo.”
Grand prize winner in the People & Culture category was 29-year-old Abdul Malik bin Haji Abdul Razak. It took him two hours to get the perfect shot. “I wanted to show a Bruneian wedding dress. I used continuous light to show the movement in a photo. With the colours of a Brunei traditional wedding, I wanted to show how bright and elegant the movement is,” he said.
“A big thanks to one of the dancer groups, AJ Dancers,” he said, sharing that he collaborated with them to achieve the photo.
For him, photography started back during university days in 2015/16, where he developed a hobby for it.
“I’m biomedical scientist, but I have media as a hobby. After I graduated, I found it hard to get a job in the biomedical field, so I used my hobby as a form of side income, starting at weddings.
“After five years, I developed photography skills where I generated my own income through weddings coverage. From there I learnt more skills in order to get on par with the current photography styles, because there are a lot of challenges and competition. It pushed me to learn more about photography.”
For the Energy & Industry category, the grand prize was won by Bahrin Yusof, 37. “The story is about a person making a parang. At that time, he was showing us how he created the parang from scratch.
“The picture shows him using a tool. As I was watching him, I thought it would be a good picture, because you can see how he is concentrating on the work. I used a slow shutter for this shot, so it shows the motion of the sparks.”
Bahrin said the contest is worth taking part in as one way to improve photography skills.
“If anyone wants to improve, one way is through competitions, so they can look at other people’s pictures, and then from there they can learn from all those pictures and then improve their pictures from there.”
Sharing some advice, he said, “Keep taking photos, enjoy it and have fun.”