Razlan Yusof, is one of our dear friends who takes pride in his passion and turned it into a career and way of life. He is one of those friends who sticks to what he believes in and never stop learning the trade despite his young age. Having worked with him in a few projects, we will always see him smiling and the excitement in his eyes when he’s on the job. He captures most of his photos on film and owns an impressive display of antique cameras as well as new ones. He recently went to Kathmandu, Nepal and came back with a series of photos featuring the ‘Faces of Nepal’ and we thought we’d have a little chat with him about his photographs and traveling experience.
Tell us a little bit about your background in photography?
I actually started with a dislike in photography. I was an art student from The One Academy and I majored in Advertising & Graphic Design. Photography was one of the subjects that we had and I initially thought that photography was a shortcut to create an image as compared to drawing and painting which required so much more detail and skill which made me dislike photography classes very much. However, my dad owned a few cameras and really loved taking photographs of my family growing up. He handed me his old DSLR camera one day and I decided to give it a try. I took it out with me wherever I went and started photographing things I like and people who were close to me. For the first 3 years I took pictures for fun before I realised that I had a passion for visual documentation through photography. After the first 3 years of experimenting and learning on my own, I decided to offer my photography services until it became my occupation.
What influenced your decision to go to Nepal?
I’ve always wanted to travel outside of Malaysia but I’ve never had a travel buddy to go with. The opportunity came when my girlfriend decided to go to Nepal to work at a hospital there for 2 months and it was a golden opportunity for me to go with her. However, 2 weeks was the most time I could get off work which is why I only stayed there for 2 weeks.
Tell us more about your inspiration to create this ‘Faces of Nepal’ photo series?
At the end of my trip, I was quite sure I did not want to return with a tonne of photographs of the temples and the mountains and scenery. Those are photographs that other tourist have taken and you can easily find them on the internet. What struck me most was the people of Nepal and the culture and background of who they are. The interaction between a Nepali is what teaches you the most about the country. I was absolutely fascinated at the way they dressed and the jewellery they wore as well as the wrinkles of their face that gave them so much personality and tells their life story of being a Nepali. The best way to capture their story is to take a portrait of them which led to “Faces of Nepal”.
Are there any interesting stories you’d like to share about Kathmandu, Nepal or any places you’d like our readers to check out?
Nepal is definitely a place for tourist to visit with their many attractions ranging from temples, mountains, lakes and good food. Throughout my stay there, I’ve visited Thamel, Pokhara and Bhaktapur. One of my favourite would be Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is filled with beautiful temples and old architectural buildings. What I decided to do there is to get myself lost instead of following a tour guide because as I walked aimlessly into alley ways and secluded corridors, I met many more interesting people to photograph. Pokhara is a town that one must visit when coming to Nepal as you can see the beautiful Annapurna mountain range from anywhere in Pokhara. It is also where the second largest lake in Nepal is situated and is the starting point of many hiking trails in the Annapurna region. My best advice would be to check out Lonely Planet or Trip Advisor for more information on the best time to visit and the many option of things to do here in Nepal.
What would be in your photography gear bag when you travel?
I personally prefer to shoot on film more than digital and so whenever I’m travelling, I will always bring at least 3 film cameras (Leica M2, Leica M3 and Canon 1V), 1 digital camera (Canon 5D MKIII) and according to the length of my travel; sufficient supply of colour and black&white films. I would also bring my Hasselblad if I want to take landscape photographs.
Is there anything we should anticipate next from you or do you have anything in your travel shoot wishlist in the future?
I definitely wished I had more time to explore when I was in Nepal and am looking forward to another opportunity to go back there to visit a different region in Nepal. It would also be a great opportunity if I could travel to other third world countries such as Tibet, Myanmar and Bangladesh to experience their culture and country. But before I visit those other countries, I would go back to Nepal one more time.