A VISITOR to Penang will usually have unforgettable moments, and how apt it was when the George Town Festival 2022 published a photobook, Moments, to commemorate, celebrate and reflect on Penang’s uniqueness.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow congratulated George Town Festival on the successful publication of the photobook when he launched it at the iconic Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (also known as the Blue Mansion) today.
The 109-page hardcover photobook featured the works of three local photographers – Patrick Loo, 41, Dr Sean Lim Choon Hean, 39, and Yih Chang, 35. It showcases the scenes of contemporary Penang with a dose of nostalgia, highlighting the state’s diversity in landscapes, festivals, celebrations, arts, culture, heritage and people.
Chow said Penang has been widely regarded as a leading tourist destination in the world, having received numerous accolades from prestigious publications.
“Penang’s art scene has indeed placed Penang on the global map, thanks to its many creative talents and homegrown festivals like the George Town Festival,” Chow said in his speech during the launch of the photobook.
“In this book, you will find familiar and rare images of Penang, such as aerial shots of the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site, Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve, a charming fishing village in Teluk Kumbar, padi fields in Seberang Perai, and more.
“You will also find photographs of the state’s vibrant celebrations and traditional trades captured on both island and mainland.
“It is exciting that Moments covers all the important facets of Penang. The images depict our successful 50-year industrialisation journey, greenery despite rapid development, inherited traditional trades and arts and proud diversity.
“This photobook successfully illustrates the state government’s efforts in realising the Penang2030 vision of ‘A Family-Focused Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation.’”
Chow also commended the three photographers for utilising their talents to promote the state’s charm and also expressed hopes that the book would inspire a profound desire to create and capture more Penang memories that will last a lifetime.
Penang, he said, is made up of beautiful moments, and there is no further evidence of that than in Moments.
He said the book too would be an ideal souvenir for visiting tourists, friends and families besides enticing more festival-goers to visit Penang and discover the state’s distinct charm as it welcomes the world back.
Also present at the launch were Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng, George Town World Heritage Incorporated general manager Dr Ang Ming Chee, George Town Festival director Jack Wong, and photographers Loo, Lim and Yih Chang.
Photography to Lim is a hobby. He is a consultant surgeon by profession at the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Setar and the Island Hospital in Penang.
“I only took up photography more seriously after a family trip to Japan in 2019. I used a mirrorless camera to capture the scenes there. And over time, my interest in photography grew into a passion.
“The George Town Festival must have seen my photos on Instagram and got in touch with me regarding the publication of the photobook,” said Lim, who is interested in camera and drone photography.
He was accompanied by his Sarawakian wife Joy Dujong Bendindang, and their five-year-old daughter Chloe Grace Lim to the launch.
For Chew, he freelances as an event and wedding photographer. He is a solution analyst by profession in a multinational company in Penang.
“As no events were allowed to be held during the MCO (movement control order) in 2020, I explored drone photography during the lockdown. I used my free time to take aerial shots from my home in Teluk Kumbar.
“I believe the George Town Festival noticed my photos through Instagram and decided to use my drone collections,” said Yih Chang, who came with his wife Lai Zhi Hui and their four-year-old son, Chew Xu Le.
Loo, who only got to know Lim and Yih Chang just before the publication of the book, said he was surprised that his photographs were selected by the George Town Festival.
“I work in the R&D department of a multinational company in Penang. I have been into photography for about 10 years.
“I would like to thank the George Town Festival for giving me this opportunity to have my photos published for the first time in book form.
“I hope this photobook will inspire more people, especially the younger generation to pick up photography and to see the world through a wider lens.
“Penang is a living history museum, with age-old shophouses, places of worship and streets that have survived for centuries.
“I shoot images in multiple genres of photography, of which many are radically different from the other.
“As a photographer, it is exciting to create images that perfectly describe the essence of the intangible and to show people the way you see the world, not just the visuals of a scene, but the feelings, emotions, and spirits, too,” Loo said.
Moments is George Town Festival’s second photobook, after Penang at a Glance which was published in 2021.
It is now available for purchase online at store.georgetownfestival.com and is retailed at RM90 per copy. The book will soon be sold in physical bookstores and tourist attractions.
George Town Festival director Jack Wong said the book’s publication will be followed by a photo exhibition, scheduled to be held alongside George Town Festival 2022 in July this year.
Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Law Suun Ting