Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Orient Expressed

Working Up An Appetite For Colour

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


It’s not often I’m separated from my camera by more than about six feet. Even when it’s not slung around my shoulder or my neck, it’s in a bag within arm’s reach. But I was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with my family last July and we decided to explore our temporary abode, the Shangri-La Hotel.

We’d had a whole day outdoors exploring the city and since it was fairly late at night I didn’t think I’d need my camera, so I left it in our room. We walked around the spacious, ornate lobby and I was mentally ticking off shots I could take the next day – and angles that I could use in daylight.

Then we found our way to the Shang Palace restaurant and even before I got to its entrance, the colours just stopped me in my tracks. It was like looking at some ethereal artwork.


I turned around and, over my shoulder, told the rest of the clan that I was going back to the room for my camera. I was back in less than five minutes and I reckon I couldn’t have gone any quicker, even if I’d strapped a pair of rollerblades on.

It was an interesting exercise shooting this series, because the sheen on the walls caused a reflection that could have actually resulted in a crystal-clear close-up looking as if the focus had been botched. So I walked as far back down the corridor as I could, not only to minimise the problem but also to use the wonderful blue-and-black mural as a counterpoint to the other bright colours.


For earlier posts in this series, check out The Doors Archive.

35 comments:

spacedlaw said...

Wow, what an amazing place. No wonder you went back for your camera! (whatever possessed you to leave it behind? You might always need it. And food is also often pretty enough for pictures too.)

Carolina said...

Great colours indeed! WOW! A very enticing corridor.

Maggie May said...

I just love those pictures. The colours and the composition, even the headings! Perfect!

Word verification.... duchess ..... and I reckon that room is fit for one!

Robynn's Ravings said...

Oh, I just want to lay flat on that floor (with a pillow, mind you) and soak up the essence and hue of that room. Maybe a little Gregorian Chant in the background.

B said...

I can see why you went running for your camera, that is stunning!

Mojo said...

I would have raced you back to the room if I'd left my camera behind too. On a normal workday, my camera is frequently left home since my job is in a field that doesn't employ my photographic skills and I've pretty well shot up the surrounding area already.

But let me go a-traveling, and the Canon becomes an extra appendage.

And on one particular evening (last Sunday to be precise) I was glad I'd taken it out to dinner (you have to do that every once in a while so it doesn't feel taken for granted). That's when I got this Doors entry (pun intended).
The Doors #4: "Britannia Triumphant"

lime said...

boy that's another one with such amazing color. so saturated and eye grabbing.

Daryl said...

Fabulous ... I hope this is a lesson for you... never ever ever ever leave that camera behind.

As a woman I carry a purse but my camera is always in my pocket, I buy coats/jackets/sweaters only if they have pockets! BUT when I go 'out' fancy schmancy I often havent got a pocket and the purse is downsized .. so I opt to leave home anything that makes it hard to carry my camera.

Just sayin'

Muthering Heights said...

I love the saturation of the red!

jinksy said...

The dragons on the mural obviously breathed their fire on the walls! Wonder if the food was as hot and spicy?

richies said...

The colors and light are incredible.

Tiffany Norris said...

I'm often tempted to leave my camera behind for "convenience." Then I think of your advice and photographs, and along it comes! Great colors...sorry, colours. :)

lakeviewer said...

These are great shots. Aren't you lucky to have such a job?

Jazz said...

That is incredible. I wish I could take that kind of photo...

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Simply stunning! Wish I could import this room! Time to revise Dickinson's immortal lines to read, "There is no frigate like a BLOG" And of course, this particularly applies to authorblog!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Amazing color, David! It is just stunning!

Sheila :-)

Nessa said...

Fabulous jeweled colors.

April said...

Hi David~

Thank you so much for stopping by today...you have an amazing blog! I see your friends with Sheila over at The Quintessential Magpie...isn't she the best?

Have a good rest of the day...come back for a visit anytime!

RiverPoet said...

The colors are truly stunning! I wish I had the style of home in which I could get away with such bold colors. The rich jewel tones have a creative affect on the soul.

Peace - D

Sarah Laurence said...

Wow, the colors are amazing! I take my DSLR on special excursions and have a small point and shoot strapped to my handbag or in my pocket whenever I leave the house. Great photos, and I love the storybook alike bike photos below.

Keep running with your bright color theme. How lucky that your work takes you to such photogenic places.

Merrily Down the Stream said...

Drop dead gorgeous - they are FEARLESS with color - something Americans could learn from.

cheshire wife said...

Very oriental looking. In the UK we would only see those colours in an Indian or Chinese restaurant. Brilliantly photographed!

Eddie Bluelights said...

David, those shots really 'grabbed me'. It must have been so wonderful to be in that room, so peaceful, almost a sanctuary. The colour combinations and blends are astonishing. It's not often that a photo has that effect on me. As you know, I tend to focus more on words.

SandyCarlson said...

That is amazing, David. The collors are striking.

Pagan Sphinx said...

Hi, David
I'm wondering, is this a series that you do exclusively on your blog or do you invite others to join, meme style?

I think it's a great idea. Doors can make for such intriguing and beautiful photographic subjects.

I love this one. Incredible color.

Pat - Arkansas said...

I can usually count on a very deep intake of breath upon viewing your photos, David, and these were no exception! From reading your narrative, I think you must have sucked a bit of air yourself before dashing away to get your camera. Amazing color and color contrast! Thanks for sharing these beauties with us.

slowtumblinglife said...

great photographs david!! love the doors series..

introspection said...

Vow ! you are some photographer David..!
I have often been to such Oriental decor in Chinese, Indian, and Thai Restaurant. Singapore airport (it's called Changi, I think) is a beautiful collage of such colours.
I have been fascibated by them a lot, and have clicked my camera shutters all the time, but ended up getting coloured blobs nothing else. Never could I get a picture that resembled it's origin.
you are a genius...!

introspection said...

" Facinated "

C. Michael Cox said...

Your sense of color in your photographs caught my attention the first time I visited your sight. These pictures are wonderful. (I also liked the park bench and the bicycle and the...)

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

I agree with Robyn, l shall was to absorb the positive and loving energy l see there. Many people think that pale greens and blues evoke peace, for me I need a room full of purple, red, mauve hues, or else I feel all or more angsy!!

lovely post

Marites said...

oh wow! the colours are really amazing and the hall's lighting emphasized its beauty.

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Wow! Those photos are amazing David! and the vibrant colours are good enough to eat!!

Pinkerbell said...

These colours are utterly beautiful and so calming considering that they are reds. It's tranquil and feel almost spiritual!

Ocean Quill said...

Good afternoon David, Just love the fresh composition and colour. You and your family visit some amazing places in the world! All the best Ocean Quill