Abandoned and derelict

Kuching-based photographer Gerry Fox creates stark imagery with his shots of abandoned structures around town in black and white

 
By Danielle Sendou Ringgit
@danitbpseeds

 

FOR KUCHINGITES, IT IS easy to just walk past old deserted houses and buildings. Most may never give them a second glance, while a few may have become so used to them being there that they don’t know they exist.

How many of us, for example, have stopped to take a second glance at the old, abandoned house located at the Jalan Simpang Tiga junction and wonder how it came to be?

For Scottish photographer, Gerry Fox, being a foreigner may give him the advantage of a fresh perspective, being able to look at places in Kuching from a different angle where others may tend to overlook them.

 

One of Gerry's favourite images is a panoramic shot of an abandoned house in Batu Kawa.

One of Gerry’s favourite images is a panoramic shot of an abandoned house in Batu Kawa.

 

Fighting for a good cause by raising awareness and funds for the Orangutan Project, Gerry will be displaying images of sites and places in Kuching from an alternative perspective for the project’s month-long photography and art exhibition to be held from November 22 onwards.

“I think my favourite image from the show is the panoramic shot of the abandoned building at Batu Kawa,” he said when asked which one was his favourite.

“It reminds me of a shot I took years ago of a phone box in the highlands of Scotland. It’s just this strange man-made object in a barren landscape. For some reason these shots remind me of old American Western Movies,” he explained.

 

A phone booth taken against an austere landscape in the Scottish highlands by Gerry.

A phone booth taken against an austere landscape in the Scottish highlands by Gerry.

 

For the exhibition, Gerry will be displaying black and white images showing sites and locations photographed in Kuching, the images shot with a Mamiya C330 twin lens film camera in square format.

“When I was at college I used to shoot a lot on black and white film and spend hours in the darkroom printing images. I wanted to create something digitally that had a similar aesthetic to black and white prints from a negative,” he said.

He explained that the black and white concept for his images would enhance the contrast, making the structures of the subject much clearer compared to colour images which could distract the eyes from looking closely at the details.

For Gerry, he loves to shoot details and things that most people tend to overlook and take for granted.

“I’m not interested in creating perfect beautiful pictures. I like the idea of finding beauty in ordinary and unexpected places. I suppose it’s just about a different way of looking at things,” said Gerry.

 

An abandoned truck.

An abandoned truck.

 

In contrast to what he is exhibiting during the photography and art exhibition, Gerry normally documents people in realistic and authentic moments, believing that it is important to be truthful while capturing people in real life situations.

In 2013, Gerry completed a short character-based documentary which took him about a year to complete. The 15-minute documentary film called ‘Beneath the Wind’ is about the life of an expat living in Kuching, capturing the innermost thoughts and feelings of the main character as well as the city where he now lives.

Having been in the photography field for over 20 years, Gerry was a photography lecturer from the year 2001 until 2011 in Scotland but decided to leave the teaching field so that he could focus more on his photography work.

 

Gerry Fox

Gerry Fox

 

Based in Kuching for almost four years now, Gerry followed his wife to Kuching in 2011 so she could participate in the English Language Teacher Development Project (ELTD) under the British Council as a mentor working closely with teachers across East Malaysia to develop their teaching skills.

Besides working as a freelance photographer and cinematographer in Kuching where he mostly does commercial photography, Gerry is also working as a freelance communication consultant with the British Council on ELTDP and is responsible for documenting projects, producing multimedia presentations and graphic design work for internal and external publication.

In addition to that, he is also working with The Alvin Leong Academy of Photography developing their syllabus and teaching foundation and diploma courses.

To raise awareness and funds for the Orangutan Project, a conservation company at Matang Wildlife Centre for the endangered wildlife on Borneo, Gerry along with fellow photographer Ch’ien Lee and artist Will Taylor will be exhibiting their work at the Monkee Bar for the photography and art Exhibition from November 22 onwards, with half of the profits from sales of their work will be donated to the project.

To know more about Gerry’s work, check out his website at: www.gerryfox.photoshelter.com

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