Short Story and Photo Series of Indigenous People of Sarawak (1)

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I did not appreciate black and white photos until recent years that I started to love the beauty of simplicity in this type of photo in delivering a straightforward message to readers. These black and white photos shown in the above figure really bring out the character of a man who focused on his work.

I was on a trip organized  by the non-governmental organization (NGO), Baramkini (means Baram Today or Baram Now) during the Sarawak State Election period in early May, 2016. One of the main goals of Baramkini is to promote the political awareness among the indigenous people on environmental protection and indigenous people’s right in the Baram area. It was a beautiful morning and on the last day of the trip at Long Laput (Laput village), I came across this man in the Kayan longhouse who was skilfully repairing the fishing net. I did not take the photo of the man immediately, instead I approached him and chatted with him. I looked at his Tattoo and I said, ‘Wow, is beautiful! What does it mean with the tattoo for them?’. He told that it was for fun only. I looked at his calloused palms and fingers moved so effortlessly as he was repairing the fishing net. Then I took some photos of him after politely asking for the permission.

To the people who have been living in the city for ages, life in a village seems amazingly simple and yet requiring many surviving skills in the harsh mother nature. The Kayan men play many career roles in their daily living of their families as well as in the village. They are the fishermen, hunters, farmers, artists, as well as architect in building their own houses and fishing boats. Just like the black and white photos, we should not see the photo as a simple representation of life in village, but to seek a more thorough understanding of living in village with our hearts (or mind).

Are you willing to know more about the people that is living with our beautiful mother nature?

*if you are interested to visit villages of indigenous people in Sarawak, Borneo, or you wish to donate for a good cause, please contact the NGO Baramkini



我是在砂劳越州大选期间5月初的时候跟随了无政府组织当今峇南(Baramkini)到峇南区的原住民村落走访。当今峇南其中最主要的组织活动是提高原住民对保护自己环境和权利的认识。那是一个美丽的早晨在Long Laput的加央族的村落里,我看到了一位村民在他长屋的住家外修补着渔网。我没有急着马上拍照,而是走过去和他攀谈了几句。我看着他手臂上的纹身,那是一只老虎。婆罗洲并没有老虎,所以我问他这纹身有什么特别的意思吗?他告诉只是好玩而已。我没有多加追问。我把视线移到他长着茧的手掌和手指那么轻巧的来回修补着渔网。之后我在得到他的同意下拍了他的几张照片。








2 Comments Add yours

  1. ladysighs says:

    I agree about the black and white photos. It is wonderful to have colored pictures and the software to change and enhance them. But with black and white you really look for meaning. I enjoy looking at albums of black and white photos from my childhood in the 1940’s.

    Often old black and white TV programs are colored and I don’t care for that.
    I like that you asked the man if you could take his photo. So many just take whenever and wherever they want.


    1. maodunworld says:

      As I am gaining more life experience, I am now tend to see things clearer and to avoid some distractions. It took me a long time in photography to be able to do that and I think that I still have to improve even further!

      Most of my portrait photos I like to ask people because I want them to look at me or at least has some interactions with me. I am also learning ways to communicate with my subjects so that I can take meaningful photos. Taking a photo and communication are both arts that need to be mastered =). Oh I saw one photographer who went to take street photos in Beijing, and he purposely took those photos where his subjects did not want the photo to be taken. It is called arts for them, oh well.


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