Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Beyond The Frame | Yan Yang Tian Troupe | GFX 50s

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy | All Rights Reserved
Although the Fuji GFX50s might not really be the most appropriate format to photograph theatre and opera, it produced interesting images while using it to photograph a live performance by the Yan Yang Tian opera troupe in
at the  Leng Eng Tian Khiew Ong Tai Tay temple in Kuala Lumpur during the annual Taoist Nine Emperor Gods Festival. 

For nine days, Taoists gather at various temples around the country to celebrate the Nine Emperor Gods festival, which begins on the eve of the ninth month of the lunar calendar.

The troupe performs traditional Cantonese opera, and has been on stage since its founder opera troupe owner Elizabeth Choy was 7 years old. Now in her late eighties, she is considered a treasure by the Chinese-Malay communities in Malaysia as well as those in neighboring countries.

While the popularity of Cantonese opera has dwindled, especially among the young, her troupe has continued to perform in local and international venues. She has led her troupe to perform throughout Malaysia and in other countries such as Vietnam, Hong Kong and Thailand. Sparing no expense, she sourced many of her opera’s lavish-looking costumes from Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hong Kong.


Accompanied by Stanley Hong and Mizuki Kato, I photographed the performers while they applied intricate makeup and donned their costumes in the back stage of the specially erected structure. Used to photographers, they seemed  oblivious of cameras being pointed at them; even when lenses were almost poking their necks to get their reflections in mirrors.

For those interested in gear: The technical details for the photograph are: Fuji GFX50s+ 63mm. 1/1000th sec Hand Held. f2.8. iso 800. Spot Metering. Date: 2017-10-20 at 20:48:80 (Malaysia time). Post Processed Iridient Developer 3.