With Victor Chin At DCIM Show 2009

Victor Chin delivering his presentation on The Imperfect Body - Challenging some photographic aesthetic values at DCIM Show 2009
Victor Chin talking about The Imperfect Body at DCIM Show 2009.

A few days ago, Victor Chin invited me to give a short presentation together with him at the DCIM Show that was to be held at the Mid Valley Convention Centre. The session was on Sunday. When I agreed to his invitation, I was half awake and did not give it much thought. The evening before the session, no thanks to my procrastination, I huriedly prepared a script and did a four-slide PowerPoint presentation.

Victor’s presentation was titled “The Imperfect Body – Challenging some photographic aesthetic values.” He showed a series of photographs of disabled people adapting and coping with their impairments from an artistic point of view. He shared with the audience about the various images that he took from his perspective as a photographer.

Peter Tan giving a talk about Disabled People and Photography at DCIM Show 2009
Peter Tan on Disabled People and Photography at DCIM Show 2009.

It was refreshing in a way because I seldom get to hear an alternative view other than those that are relevant to my advocacy work. I have attended two of his exhibitions on disabled people and it was only at that seminar that I had a better understanding why his photographs were captured from a certain perspective.

Truth be told, up to the time when I was supposed to deliver my presentation, I was unsure if the topic I had prepared was appropriate and whether the audience would fall asleep halfway through. My photography skills still leave much to be desired and there I was, slotted to speak just after an accomplished artist and photographer, and before an audience of serious photographers brandishing intimidating gears.

Victor Chin responding to an audience after the talk
Victor Chin responding to a question from an audience after the talk at DCIM Show 2009.

The title of my presentation was Disabled People and Photography. I spoke about how many disabled people are invisible from society due to the infrastructural barriers and how Victor’s photographs has provided an insight into the seldom-seen facets. I also talked about how I have used photographs for my advocacy work and how cameras are still inaccessible to people with limited hand function.

All in, I hope I had created some awareness among the photographers who sat through the session regarding disability. Photography and disabled people do not really mix well in Malaysia but through Victor’s effort in exhibiting his images on disabled people, disability may just been seen in a different light. Many thanks to Victor Chin for sharing his platform with me and for allowing me to present disability issues to a few more people at the seminar.