Description: Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah is one of the great pioneers of Malaysian photography like Wong Kou Fou, who brought the tribes people in the deep interiors of Sarawak to the world. Similarly, Sultan Ismail and his ethnographic photographs on the lives of the ordinary people in the rural areas including riverine settlements. According to his grandson, Raja Ihsan Shah, the custodian of the Sultan's rich photographic legacy: "The two prints were shot from a raft in Sungai Tersat. Sultan Ismail was a regular sight at Sungai Tersat, where he would travel slowly downriver on a raft to take pictures of the life on the bankside." That was in the 1950s. Being royalty, he could easily have taken a royal barge but he was always close to his subjects and when camera in hand, would shun the urban centre or even his royal court. His favourite hunting ground were Kuala Ibai, Pasar Tepoh, Chendering, Rusila and Pantai Batu Buruk. Later in the 1970s, the Sultan would take a speedboat to save time, and would stop occasionally to take pictures if he found anything interesting. Said Raja Ihsan: "He had a capacity of observing people and an unrelenting curiosity besides a compositional sense, which was refreshing for his time." Wrote Tom Harrison and H. Spender in the Mass Observation research: "The observer or photographer must shed his preconceptions about what is good to observe and what is bad to observe; and shed all habitual frames of reference which may inhibit fresh observation and obscure the unexpected." A print of this image (edition of 3) was exhibited at the Galeri Petronas Images Of Terengganu exhibition in 1997, the Notices Gallery in Singapore in 1997, and the Terengganu State Museum exhibition in 1999.Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah was the fourth King of Malaysia, from 1965 to 1970, and the 14th Sultan of Terengganu from 1946 to 1979. He received his first camera, presumably a Kodak Brownie, when he was 16 in 1923. He was one of the few photographers listed in Photographer Webster's Timeline History 1880-1989. He became an associate of Britain's Royal Photographic Society in 1957 and won the prestigious Excellence Federation International d' Art Photographique (based in Switzerland) in 1966.
Dimensions: 27.5cm x 44.5cm; 25cm x 41cm
Artist or Maker: SULTAN ISMAIL NASIRUDDIN SHAH
Medium: Gelatin silver print on Kodak Ektalure paper
Date: 1955; 1954
Provenance: Private collection, Kuala Lumpur
Notes: Gelatin silver print on Kodak Ektalure paper, Edition of 3, printed 1997. Signed and titled in pen and copyright credit stamp on the verso by Raja Ihsan Shah, grandson of Almarhum Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah and the custodian of the Sultan's rich photographic legacy.
Request more information