JRP: As one views the blog of Wazari Wazir you are impressed with his images. Though he labors day to day as an informational photographer in his native land he truly captures his images with love. Thanks Wazari for sharing some of your thoughts, and images with the readers of JRP Blog.
Wazari Wazir: Thanks for for the invite James. It is such an honor to be interviewed here among other great photographers and some of them that have already been interviewed here are my idols.
JRP: Where is your home?
Wazari Wazir: I live in Kuala Lumpur for the past thirty years, actually I wasn’t born here, I was born in Teluk Intan Perak, two hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. My family moved here in Kuala Lumpur when I was a baby, It is a crowded and busy city with people from all walks of life.
JRP: How did you get started in photography? Do you have any formal training?
Wazari Wazir: No, I don’t have any formal training in photography. I’m a self taught photographer. I bought my first camera a Nikon FM2 in 1993. I’ve spent a lot of money buying books and magazines about photography. Nowadays it is easy, most people have access to the Internet. Honestly speaking I got interested in photography after watching National Geographic Magazine on the television, I grew up watching National Geographic and was always amazed at the quality of their photographs.
JRP: How would you describe your photographic style?
Wazari Wazir: Actually I really don’t know whether I’ve any particular style, but I like to shoot naturally with just natural light. I like to keep my background simple and let the viewers focus on the subject. I like the candid moment.
JRP: What would I find in your camera bag for a shoot?
Wazari Wazir: A Nikon D200, 70-200mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8, I like to keep things simple, I rarely carry flash unless it is for an official assignment.
JRP: What software do you make use of in your digital darkroom (workflow)?
Wazari Wazir: I use Photoshop CS3. Usually my workflow is something like this, most of my pictures were taken in RAW format, so I will start with ACR ( Adobe Camera Raw ) doing some basic adjustment before I make final touch-up in Photoshop. I love post processing simply because I can’t do that during my official assignments where my department wants unedited pictures. I don’t even need a Photoshop for my official assignments. Usually I just download the image after shooting, burn DVD and give it to my department.
JRP: How do you handle printing your images?
Wazari Wazir: I don’t handle printing, usually I will just give a copy of a DVD to my client or my department.
JRP: A great deal of the work presented on your site involves portraits. Is that an area you have a special fondness for?
Wazari Wazir: I like portraits, there is so much we can learn from looking at a portraits. Actually I love shooting portraits since I have a son. I’ve been shooting a picture of my son since the day he was born, and I polish my skills of editing almost every night.
Unlike shooting landscape or other things that don’t involve humans, we can always shoot them the next day or the next year, it will always look the same or maybe a bit different depending on the lighting situation.
You can’t do that with a portraits. The person you photograph now may not be available tomorrow. She or he may smile today and may cry tomorrow. Taking portraits is not an easy job. Knowing about a camera alone and all the technical aspect of photography is not good enough to be a good portrait photographer. We need to learn how to communicate with people. Not everybody likes to be photographed. You just can’t go out on the street and straight away point a camera at a stranger.
Build a rapport first. Get to know your subject, spend sometime with them. Show that you are interested in getting to know about their life, family and after the person gets comfortable he or she won’t bother about your camera. You can get good portrait or great expression from your subject.
JRP: Do you make use of available light or do you use supplemental lighting on location? What kind of lighting do you prefer for your portrait work and which lens?
Wazari Wazir: I like to use natural light. I hate using flash because sometimes flash will tend to annoy my subject. Natural light is good enough if we know how to use it well. I like to share my pictures as they are without any artificial light and since I like doing my post processing especially playing with color tones, natural light gives me the best result.
JRP: Do you have any special projects or workshops you are working on?
Wazari Wazir: I do conduct a few Photography and Photo Editing Workshops. People who come to my workshops like to know about my portrait editing style especially color tones. Currently I’m quite busy doing a photo book about My Son HaiQal. I’ve thousands of pictures to select from.
JRP: Thus far what has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Wazari Wazir: Don’t be obsessed with a camera, a camera is just a tool.
JRP: What advice would you share with photographers starting out?
Wazari Wazir: To those photographers who are just starting out, don’t get too excited about upgrading your equipment. Just get a decent camera, a DSLR. A few good lenses and that’s it. What is most important is to keep on upgrading your skills and knowledge by attending workshops, learning through online materials. Buy some books and get together during photo shoots with much more experienced photographers. Ask them a lot of question so you don’t make the same mistakes like they have.
Practice, practice and practice. Be honest with your own pictures, take criticism from more experienced photographers as a learning process. Photography is a subjective matter, you will find your own way of doing things. Learn the basics. Learn all the rules about photography and when you are very good at it, you can break the rules. Sometimes by breaking the rules you will produce some great results.
JRP: Thank you Wazari for sharing your thoughts and photography with us. It has been a pleasure talking with you and I wish you continued success.
Wazari Wazir: Thanks to you too James, thanks for giving me the opportunity for me to share my thoughts with other great photographers here on your blog. It is an honor for me to be interviewed here.
JRP: To view more of Wazari Wazir’s thoughtful images please go to these links: