“The world looks different to a photographer than it does to everyone else. A photographer does not need expensive equipment to take great photos. The best camera gear in the world is not going to help a photographer see or be aware of his or her surroundings. It’s all about the art of seeing.

Photo by Hariz in Taiwan
Photo by Hariz in Taiwan

Hasif Fikri, 27, has been involved in photography from a young age. He was inspired by his father who loved taking photos of him and his siblings when they were small. “As a kid, I always wanted to do something new. That curiosity sparked when I saw my father holding his camera. One day I asked him if I could take some photos and he happily allowed me. Since then, my passion for cameras and photography has grown and I always knew that I wanted to be involved in photography,” he said.

With over a decade of experience working as a photographer, Hasif has a list of loyal clientele who engage him as their personal photographer.

Asked what inspires him, Hasif said; “As a photographer, I am drawn to emotion, connection, movement and story within a photograph. I am often inspired by nature – great natural lighting, breezy weather, and clear blue skies make me excited to take pictures. The cinematography in movies and works by other photographers inspire me too.”

Like Hasif, 24-year-old Muhammad Nurhariz developed an interest in photography since young. He honed his skills as a freelance photographer for part time gigs at age 16.

Hariz ventured into the industry full time after graduating from college and never looked back since then.

Travelling to different parts of the world is a dream for many, photographers included, as it provides new vistas. Hasif and Hariz have had the opportunity to explore Taiwan for the first time during the shooting of the Salam Taiwan TVC with the ambassador of Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Mira Filzah.

Hasif shared, “2018 was the year when I went to Taiwan for the first time. It was love at first sight! I remember being at Qingjing Farm for one of the scenes. Although the road to this area was quite challenging, the scenery was amazing and the sheep made it even more interesting. I could not stop taking pictures of the beautiful scenery. When it comes to food, Taiwan is truly the paradise for foodies. As a Muslim, I was concerned about the availability of Halal food in Taiwan but having been there, I now know that there are numerous choices.

“And Taiwan is the home of bubble tea; there are so many varieties and all are very delicious. The local people in Taiwan are probably one of the friendliest people you will come across. From a random stranger to a cashier, they are ever willing to help you out whenever you are in need.

“From a photographer’s perspective, I really recommend Taiwan as a place for photographers to explore. Speaking from my own personal experience, Taiwan is a perfect blend of modern city life and nature. It was surreal for me to be in both worlds in one place. If you are a traveller, Taiwan is a safe place. In fact when I was walking the street alone in the middle of the night looking for food, I did not feel the need to be extra alert about any danger.

Hariz, travelled to Taiwan for the first time in 2019 with Mira Filzah for the second season of Salam Taiwan. He had the opportunity to explore different sides of the island.

Photo by Hariz in Taiwan.jpg
Photo by Hariz in Taiwan.jpg

“As a nature lover, there are so many places that I like but if I had to choose, Alishan would be the one. Alishan has so many parks and nature attractions that are worth exploring. Some of my best shots are taken in Alishan especially during the train rides.

“I miss many things about Taiwan. If you watch Salam Taiwan’s latest TVC, there was a scene where peanut ice cream rolls were being made. I miss this snack the most and you can only get it in Taiwan! The peanut ice cream roll is a combination of shaved nuts with two scoops of vanilla ice cream wrapped in a thin flour crepe like a burrito. When it comes to places of attractions, I miss being in Sun Moon Lake which is located in Nantou County. The combination of the morning sun and diffused misty clouds are simply poetic for a photographer,” Hariz said.

Hariz plans to visit Taiwan to explore more places for landscape photos. “I love landscape and street photography. For me, this island is one of the best places I have ever visited in Asia for street photography. My next trip will be with friends and family,” he said.