We couldn’t quite figure out the shy but towering figure of Shafiq Saleh at first; all we knew was that he had an amazing following in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and he had carved out a unique identity on Instagram.
“ShafiqAnakSaleh came about because Instagram only allowed 12 characters as a username in 2011! It stuck. People sometimes don’t even bother with it and just call me ‘SAS’.”
PIXERF visited KL during the last weekend of September to engage the city’s community of photographers with Shafiq headlining the event together with Instagram phenom Yik Keat Lee, and other Malaysian photographers, Kenny Peters, Mike Ahmad and special guest CK Ng from Penang. The response was overwhelming, and we packed our event venue with photographers from all trades and specialities to see and talk to their heroes.
Get him started talking about his passion as a photographer, and all shyness melts away. Shafiq started out as a mobile photographer in the days when smartphone cameras weren’t the greatest. He conquered the architecture and skyscrapers of KL with what we would consider a low-tech solution, and built his following from there.
“I can’t explain the glorious feeling I had when I started first shooting with a mobile phone. It was overwhelming and just took over me. That made me the photographer I am today.”
Since that moment, he has been busy travelling, hopping from city to city to both work and explore the world with his lens. The city that started it all, though, still has a special place in his heart. He believes it has its own signature view, especially in street photography. Till this day, he and his friends regularly explore the city, if only to find new and interesting perspectives they can document.
“I’ve been reppin this city since I can remember. All my rules of exploring, hunting, photography – I learn from my experience in KL.”
His passion is unmistakable; palpable even when he interacts with other photographers. He believes Asia has a lot more to give in terms of visual talent. We don’t disagree. Every time we visit an Asian city, we are floored by the prodigious talents we encounter. Our mission is to give them a voice and platform to show it off.