I have been here for a total of 5 months, during this time I have worked with over 60 photographers and am sad to say that only a handful of them have been “professional”, when I say professional I mean by their working ethics and not the quality of the pictures. Being a photographer is all about passion, it is a form of art and with this comes future works that blow minds.
I came here to visit the home I grew up in, having lived here for 21 years, I realised why I had moved away in the first place. People here always complain that the world does not give them a chance to show their works, that Malaysians are ‘left behind’ in a world, which is moving forward. Now I can see why this is.
I’m writing this so that the flakes (adjective: a flaky person; foolish, silly, frivolous, flighty, spacey.) out there will understand what they are doing to the professionals in the industry.
When a professional Art Nude model like myself comes to Malaysia you would think that they will be overjoyed at the chance to further themselves/skills/portfolio so that they may have a chance to be professional in the art of photography and move overseas, but yet that is not the outcome. Instead I have received mostly flaky bookings, cancellations and constant bargaining of my rates (sometimes asking for a down price of RM50 per hour) like as if I am a piece of meet on sale at a flee market. For this I am gravely disappointed.
Put it this way, if you want quality then you have to pay for quality and my rates of RM350 per hour are below the average price. If anyone would have taken the time to look up online then they would have seen that I’m undercharging for my work, and I know I am good at what I do.
This is why models from overseas don’t come here, they don’t see the point of being underpaid for their talent whether it is nude or not, the industry here does not respect the worldwide market nor does it take care of its models.
What makes it worse is those who are not even half way to the professional level in their works have the cheek to think they are so good that Id do free shoots with them, and when I turn them down they then say I am not good at what I do anyway. What right does anyone have to say that to a model, especially one who has worked with world renown published photographers? If I was not good at my works then well known photogs would have not asked me to work with them on a regular basis.
I get irritated with the things that come out of photographers mouths, i.e., “I am a hobbyist so could u give me half price” (I work with hobbyists in US and they are very very good at what they do, it doesn’t make a difference to me) or “I think your works are not that good, I can do better for a TFCD” (and their works are well below my view of good) or “I will give you the same rate if you will let me have sex with you while I take your picture”…. It disgusts me on levels, which I can’t even begin to explain. Flirting and dirty talk is more common in this country then any other one I have visited.
You may think that I get this because I’m a nude model in an Asian country but then why don’t I get it in other counties in Asia?
Its simple, this happens because the photographers are not exposed to the worldwide market (taking into consideration the fact that the law does not help as it is a Muslim country), they do not wish to move forward, they stay in their comfort zone when all they have to do is go to Spore to find good models and pay to get good talents. But no, they wont bother because they don’t have the passion enough to spend out to get quality, instead they rather use a first timer model that is scared of showing their body and pictures don’t turn out good just because they wish to save a few bucks.
I have stressed my concerns to all the photographers I have worked with here and they all do agree that Malaysian’s have to somehow buck up or there will be no recognitios for their works in the worldwide market. The world spins and doesn’t wait for you, it will leave you behind. The unprofessional photographers are killing what chance the professionals have to succeed and move overseas to become well known.
I do know that I will get many who will defend against what I am saying here and chances are they will hate me for it because the truth does get to people but I am only writing this in what spare time I have to make Malaysians realise what they are doing to their reputation.
I think overall I have had some great experiences, especially with the crew from Picture Elements, Sun from Penang and Ted Adnan’s groups, many should learn from them, as they are what I call up to par and prosessional in all sense of the word. They will go far as they are humble, kind, fun, and put all passion in to what they wish the result to be. I have great respect for those who are professional but to those and only those who are flaky with cancellations, flirtatiousness, with bargain and take for grated an opportunity of a lifetime I have no respect for.
I do hope and pray that whomever reads this will take it and use it to better themselves, I am not putting down those who are good at what they do, I have no intentions to do so. I am only stressing the fact that the photography society in Malaysia has to change.
At the end of the day we all have to better ourselves to achieve our dreams and just because you may have the best pictures doesn’t mean you are good because professionalism is all about ATTITUDE & RESPECT as well.
Thank you for reading my long post, take care and good luck in your future works ☺