Malaysia’s iconic The Datai Langkawi has teamed up with award-winning photographer SC Shekar, celebrated Langkawi naturalist Irshad Mobarak and digital imaging expert Wesley Wong to offer a three-day photography workshop, from 26 to 30 October 2022. Offering access to decades of combined experience at the very top of their fields, the exclusive four-night package allows a limited number of budding photographers to explore the beauty of Langkawi and learn how to capture its magic with their lenses, at all stages of the process.
“I think photography should have a purpose. It must mean something. At some point, it must help with a vision. You have to tell a story, otherwise, it becomes just empty, pretty pictures at most. But when you are able to impact another person with the images you take, then I think you are getting somewhere.” – SC Shekar
An island of legends and magical dreams, the identity of Langkawi is rooted in romance. The island was first formed some 550 million years ago as a delta at the mouth of an ancient river; before the entire archipelago was tectonically pushed out of the ocean depths some 346 million years later. It is also the island where the mythical princess Mahsuri once cast her curse on the land – said to have ended only after seven generations of suffering.
Langkawi’s majestic landscapes and culture offer spectacular photo opportunities. The rising arches of the primordial Gunung Machinchang rock formation can be shot sheathed in the morning mist or bathed in afternoon sunshine from Teluk Datai (Datai Bay). The beaches that make Langkawi famous include Pantai Kok, with its backdrop of imposing rainforests and sheer sandstone cliffs, and the tranquil limestone formation seascapes of Tanjung Rhu. The UNESCO-listed Kilim Karst Geoforest Park offers magnificent mangrove swamps and tiny islands embraced by emerald waters, as well as a mesmerizing diversity of wildlife, from crab-eating macaques and dusky langurs; giant squirrels; slow lorises; civets and eagles, to the unique colugo or flying lemur, the world’s only flying primate.
The workshops are led by renowned photojournalist SC Shekar and provide in-depth one-on-one guidance on how to capture images guaranteed to make an impact. Shekar’s 40-year career spans news and commercial disciplines, latterly with a focus on documentary photography. His major documentary assignments in Asia include projects in India, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea, and he spent more than 12 years photographing Myanmar during a period of political upheaval beginning in the late 1980s. He has been working with Malaysia’s indigenous communities for more than 30 years, creating an unparalleled portfolio of pictures of daily life as well as their struggles over access to natural resources.
Renowned naturalist Irshad Mobarak accompanies the sessions, sharing his deep knowledge and love of the natural environment and its resident species, honed over 25 years studying and leading nature tours in Langkawi, and spearheading significant research and conservation projects. Mobarak left a career in banking to follow his passion for educating others on the beauty of his native country and the delicate, symbiotic relationship between animals, plants, and humans. He has appeared in several international documentaries, including by National Geographic and The Discovery Channel.
On the final day of the workshop, Wesley Wong, digital imaging expert, and printing maestro joins participants to lead them through the creation of a beautiful high-resolution print for each to take home. Working primarily in the field for over a decade, Wong’s quest for better prints has led him to an encyclopedic knowledge of 35mm DSLR and mirrorless and medium format cameras. His profound knowledge in color management and digital printmaking has made him one of the most sought-after personalities in this field to demonstrate and conduct live sessions, from capture to print, and he is often called upon for his expertise by renowned camera brands such as the L-Mount Alliance, Sony, Profoto and Pentax. Mastery of color management makes him a specialist in color-critical works including art reproduction. In recognition of his expertise, Wong has received numerous accolades including being named ILFORD Master, X-Rite Coloratti Master, and EIZO Ambassador. Wong’s Giclee Art Sdn Bhd is one of Malaysia’s leading giclee fine art printmaking and art reproduction companies and Malaysia’s first ILFORD Certified Printer Partner.