Photoessay: From the streets of KL, #72

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Connected isolation

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted any of the more conventional street photography with identifiable individuals. I suppose that’s a consequence of a change of creative direction towards images that are perhaps less literal and more everyman; photographs that can ask a question and make you have cause to contemplate them for a long time without really having an answer. Images that stick tend to be ones that are graphically shocking (could be positive or negative) or those that require some further digestion. Nevertheless, I still do make these images but instead curate them even more heavily than usual; today’s set perhaps more so because they’re made in what is a very familiar environment to me. What’s interesting is that many of these still come from a very small radius of places I’ve covered literally hundreds of times – I suppose that continual change is one of the joys of photography. This set spans some time, and as a result, quite some equipment too – from a first-generation RX100 to the CFV digital back to the D810. Postprocessing was mostly with PS Workflow II. Enjoy! MT

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Hints of something sinister in a previous frame

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The modern relationship in a nutshell

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Rest rolled up

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Facing away

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Anticipation, I

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Anticipation, II

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Love “Connected isolation”.The cold isolation apparent in a solitary figure on a mobile device is echoed by the cold, stark cement surroundings. Yet at the same time there are hints of warmth in the color palette. Great example of harmony and disparity combined through the effective combination of subject, light, and line.

  2. Hi Ming,
    The photos of the construction engineer: was anybody try to stop you from taking photo ? I was once taking photos at a construction site (in Singapore) using a 28mm, so I was fairly close. After a few shots, the workers there noticed, shouted at me and alerted there supervisor. A few moments later, the supervisor came and asked me to erase all the photo. What an experience !

    • They don’t have the right to do that if you’re in a public place, but if you’re intruding into private property then the law falls on their side. I always work stealthy if in doubt.

  3. Daniel Boyd says:

    Connected Isolation sings! This is the new normal for human behavior, and your image put the spotlight onto it beautifully.

  4. Anticipation II. Love the composition and tones.

  5. great shots, sifu.
    the metallic awning reflective shot really sui.
    look forward to having a chance encounter with you in one of these places at some stage ;).
    have a good weekend.

  6. These images in particular but generally spoken, good ‘street’ shots can be a very interesting study: ‘Does the bits and pieces fit’? If they do I really enjoy it, and if they don’t I find ‘street’ so endlessly boring. I think it’s often about seeing the frame first (idea), compose and then wait for the right persons to walk into it .. the rest is timing.
    This set check all my boxes.

    • Thanks Gerner. I strive not to be boring or contrived, but I tell you it gets harder and harder…

      • Taking a good look at your images here Ming and many previously shown, one come to the understandness why some images works and and some does not. When opening the third eye to begin to ‘see’ in the streets, the interesting shot with the geometrical puzzle therein may come out with such an impact. I have seen it a thousand times how your geometrical oriented third eye works and it is such a pleasure and truly an inspiration for me.

  7. Wonderful Images Ming! Really enjoy them.

  8. Great images. I particularly like “rest rolled up” – also great title! and “distorted”. If you have the time, please could you tell me when / why you make the decision to make an image colour or black and white. I sometime struggle with the idea that my images might lack coherence if I include colour and black and white together. There’s a lot of talk about “creating your own style” and many photographers go with one or the other. For me sometimes in post I decide black and white works best so I go with it. Other times I know whilst I’m taking the photo. Be interested to know your thought process about this. Thanks.

  9. Your photographs are great. I’ve tried street photography a little bit and the point that you made about getting the people to think that what exactly is the theme of the picture is in itself a challenge.

  10. randomesquephoto says:

    You live in a wonderfully interesting city Ming. You might get used to seeing there. But you still pull out amazing photographs. Keep on renewing your vision. Even at home. The results are worthwhile. Thank you for doing so.

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