A group of Saito College design students have been given the chance to showcase their talents at the on-going Capturing Malaysia Through The Years: 40 Years Of Press Photography photo exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

The free exhibition, which is scheduled to run at Galeri Petronas in KLCC until March 18, features some of the best press photos shot by The Star photographers over the past 40 years.

Displayed among the many excellent photos in the exhibition are two installations by 10 Saito College students, both created using the medium of newspaper.

Saito College students Khairunnisa Kamarudin (L) and Seow Shermen with the newspaper collage they helped create for the Capturing Malaysia Through The Years: 40 years of Press Photography exhibition.

The Star provided the students a million sheets of newspaper for the project, which was used to create two separate collages – one an urban skyline, representing Malaysia’s status as a developing nation, and the other a collection of newspaper comic strips and movie listings around a large hand-drawn “doodle”.

Khairunnisa Kamarudin, 22, one of the Saito College students involved in creating the doodle installation, explained, “The doodle and the comic strips are meant to show the other side of newspapers. There’s the serious side, but there’s also the fun side, the entertaining side.”

Visitors to the exhibition admiring the Saito College student's "doodle" installation, which is accompanied by cutouts of The Star newspaper's comics section.

Exhibition curator Angelina Chong was pleased with the students’ pieces, given that they had to work “around the clock” in not more than three days to complete everything.

“They’ve helped made the exhibition not-so-serious. It’s more youthful, more fun, and more spontaneous now,” said Chong.

The exhibition itself has been a huge success with over 5,000 visitors in the last three weeks, and could now be extended beyond March 18.

Visitors have also included students from local colleges and universities who were given curatorial walkthroughs by Chong.

Curator Angelina Chong (far left) giving students a walkthrough of the exhibition.

Seow Shermen, another one of the students involved in the installation, was impressed by what he saw from the photos at the exhibition.

“Press photography is an art, too, but it’s more related to real life. It’s not so much about the concept, but about the story behind the photo,” he said, adding that he was particularly impressed by the black-and-white pictures.

Chong also paid tribute to the press photographers who contributed their work to the exhibition.

The 54 photos at the exhibition were selected from Hotshots, a photo book featuring some of the most iconic images ever published by The Star, released in conjunction with the newspaper’s 40th anniversary celebration last year.

The photos are divided into four categories – Newsmakers, Sports, Arts and Society and Conflicts and Disasters.

A visitor having a look at a photo by The Star photographer Art Chen, one of the 54 images at the exhibition.

“The work and sacrifice press photographers have to go through is captured here,” said Chong. “They have to put themselves in some very difficult situations to get the shots they need. And in terms of technique and subject matter, they do a very good job too.”

Another thing about press photography that has impressed Chong is the photographers’ ability to handle sensitive situations.

“There was a picture of a father whose daughter had just died, and he was holding her body, which was wrapped in white cloth for a Muslim burial.

“There was a sense of loss, but the photographer also gave it so much serenity. It wasso reverent. The photographer didn’t make it look pitiful. It was like the child was going to heaven,” she said.

* The Capturing Malaysia Through The Years: 40 years of Press Photography exhibition is currently showing and will end on March 18. Canon Marketing (Malaysia) is the official partner. Hotshots is currently available in major bookstores and retails at RM59.90.

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