TRUST YOUR EYE: AMANI AZLIN BY XIA YI

Ah, Urbanscapes. The festival to connect with creatives you fangirl via social media. Without a doubt, Amani Azlin is one of them. Here, Xia Yi talks to the young photographer. Amani Azlin is a visual artist, and the creative eye behind some of the highly anticipated campaign of Malaysian fashion labels such as Nelissa Hilman, SHALS, Thavia, Anaabu, and more. You probably saved one of her photos already.
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Ah, Urbanscapes. The festival to connect with creatives you fangirl via social media. Without a doubt, Amani Azlin is one of them. To be able to attend her Photowalk was a memory of 2018 and yet that’s still an understatement. Amani Azlin is a visual artist, and the creative eye behind some of the highly anticipated campaign of Malaysian fashion labels such as Nelissa Hilman, SHALS, Thavia, Anaabu, and more. You probably saved one of her photos already.

We had the opportunity to explore the bustling city centre of Kuala Lumpur, around Petaling Street and Jalan Hang Kasturi through the guidance of Azlin. Unlikely spots alongside streets of Jalan Tun H.S. Lee to the dark corners located somewhere in between Pasar Seni. The dichotomy between the controlled environment of the Urbanscapes House and the chaotic alley of Petaling Street was already an experience itself.

Most importantly, the hyper-personalised experience we had with Azlin, herself. Her willingness to help the participants further discover their creative eye through her experiences as a fashion photographer was indeed heartwarming to watch as participants, ourselves. “This entire photowalk session aimed for participants to focus thematically on the colour theory and motion aspect of a photograph,” said Azlin as she answered our question on whether she had set a specific theme for the photowalk. She added “Participants were able to work closely with model, Dhani Illiani. This was so they can learn the how-to’s when it comes to directing a photography shoot.”

“I decided to choose Dhani Illiani as my model because I felt most comfortable working with her. She is someone I have photographed for different projects.” Azlin explained on why she selected Illiani as her model who is seen in all the photos taken by her participants. We thought it was important for Azlin to portray a healthy relationship between the photographer and model to her participants as this projection would be impactful for first-time participants. The nonchalant, ever-expressive model, Illiani had always been open to sharing her ideas to participants foreign to photo-taking and creative direction.

Photo Courtesy of Amani Azlin – from her workshop

Before the photowalk, Azlin and Illiani decided to be dressed comfortably instead as they initially had a more ambitious idea for Illiani to be dressed as an astronaut with the concept of

‘travelling’ through the roads of Petaling Street. Instead, Illiani was dressed as an explorer as portrayed with an exaggerated headpiece. The entire group ended up walking around for a few hours under the scorching sunlight. The photowalk adventure ended by having every participant required to come out with 6 final photographs as a series.

“Every participant will take turns explaining their themes and reasonings behind their selected images and the rest would share their feedback. ” Azlin said. The positive and encouraging energy during the final sharing was necessary to have participants become more open to giving each other constructive comments and through this, learn how to explain their body of work to others. We found the overall Photowalk experience wholesome — there was no need for complicated and expensive photography gears to capture beautiful, contextualized images. The usage of secondhand film cameras, iPhones, and DSLRs taught us that our creative eye was most important. Gear to always be secondary.