How did I end up giving a presentation at a camera store in Kuala Lumpur?

I had been in KL just some days, when my friend Robin took me to a couple of camera stores. It’s always interesting to see what camera stores offer on another continent in another city. Because Robin is a local and has been writing about cameras for years he knows everybody in the business. At Studio Zaloon, a local Sony store, he suggested to the owner that I could give a presentation to his customers, tell my story and show some pictures. Well, I thought they were joking and went along saying that I’d be happy to it. Then the owner, Mr Chin, turned to me and asked when can I come? Then I realized it was not a joke and I had to come up with something to show. I could easily talk, but the pictures could be a minor problem.

I and Mr Chin.

This may sound a bit stupid, but when I left Finland, I didn’t take any portfolio with me. Yes, I know it was stupid. I should have known better, and a few jpgs wouldn’t have taken much space on the hard drive or in the cloud. At the time, I was so looking forward to my trip and starting from afresh, that I simply ignored some things. Besides, I couldn’t imagine that on the third week of my trip I’d be performing before an audience.

Fortunately I have images from my previous trips with me and among them are some nice ones. I also went through my Dropbox just in case, and there I found images that I made for my lightning book three years ago. Those would have to do, because my travel pictures, the decent ones, would not be enough. While searching the photos, I was trying to understand why I took a bunch of travel photos with me instead of a real portfolio. Anyhow, eventually I managed to put together a presentable collection of photos. Besides, my presentation would be in ten days, which would leave me time to shoot a few new pictures. You know, it’s so easy to make great images.

The mandatory group photo. Photo: Studio Zaloon.

Some days before the set date I asked Mr Chin if anybody was coming, because I’m not exactly a world famous photographer. To my surprise more than ten had already signed up, so it seemed the show was on.

Yesterday was the day of my presentation. I was at Studio Zaloon giving my speech and had a really good time. Mr Chin did everything to make me feel welcome and succeeded well. His conference room, if you can call it that, was very different from anything I had seen before. As a matter of fact, he calls it the Alpha Garden. It was more like a patio or a terrace with bamboo blinds, but in the middle of the city. Really comfy place to sit down for a workshop, lecture etc. It was not the first time I did something like this, but it was the first in Malaysia. All in all, it was a very pleasant experience with lovely people.

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