How a person chooses to express oneself can come in different shapes and forms. Some might choose to write, draw or paint. However, for 22-year-old Maman Shahrunezam, who also goes by the name Mancientry, the camera is his chosen medium of expression.
Ever since he picked up his camera in 2019, Maman’s visuals have developed from those of still pictures to now being visual movements depicted in videos telling not only his stories but also those around him.
“A camera is more than just something you point and click to take a photo; to me a camera is something which allows me to tell a story,” said Maman.
Being a shy individual himself, the talented visual artist shared that his camera helps him to connect with people.
“With the visuals I produce, I am able to express how I feel,” he added.
As a means of income, Maman shoots visuals for wedding events and is well accustomed to the local wedding photography scene. “I’ve learnt a lot while working with others in the same field. It can get very competitive especially when the shutterbugs would push one another to get a better angle of the desired shot. The visual industry is relatively new in the country and still in its infancy stage,” he said.
According to Maman, his love for photography is genuine and he did not plan to venture into other visual mediums. But this changed in 2020.
“I was already struggling with photography during that time when one day my aunt approached me to produce and direct a music video for a new single at that time. I was pretty unsure but, after seeing it as an opportunity to explore something new, I took on the project,” he said.
The music video was for local artiste Dila Junaidi for her song, Rasa Ini Cinta, available on YouTube. It was voted as the most popular video at the 7th Pelangi Awards soon after it was released.
“I was inspired to produce and direct more videos following the positive response,” said Maman. The name Mancientry Films can be seen linked to many upcoming artistes, especially in the local and hip-hop scene.
“I believe there are no opportunities which are too big or too small; I will always take it as a motivation to expand my horizon,” he said.
Holding on to that belief coupled with his love for music, it was natural for Maman to find a place with other local talents in the music scene.
“I can’t sing or produce music, but I can definitely produce visuals for the scene,” he said. “My goal is to push the boundaries of the local music scene which is what I can see from all the artistes or groups I’ve worked with by captivating visuals that can be turned into a message,” he said.
What sets Maman’s work apart from the rest is his focus on the mood and story behind his visuals. As he explained, “I tend to focus on the expression or mood of a shot rather than focussing solely on the subject. Each scene has a story to tell and everything that is put into the shot or a scene in the video plays a role in telling that story. That is what is important to me.” Maman also shared that for those who wish to pursue their passion in visual photography, the most important thing is to know what you want, to keep on shooting and never back away from an opportunity.
“It is a continous learning experience,” he added. “Treat every shoot as an opportunity to improve your skills and to learn every different process. Nothing is more valuable than real life situations,” he concluded.