Art + Architecture + Culture
Culture and Civilization
Foundation in Natural and Built Environment
April 2013 Intake
TAN SHING YEOU
0 3 1 4 850
CONCEPT - MONOCHROME
“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you
photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”
— Ted Grant
Color is an element of every photo. Just like framing, composition, subject matter, lighting,
exposure, etc. But color is one of those elements that can essentially be turned off.
Street scenes can be very busy with lots of distracting elements as is, and color will often add a
level of complexity that leads to sensory overload in an image. Background elements can be a
major distraction, the bright green car, the guy in the red shirt, the neon sign and so on.
Black and white photos are simple and elegant. The lack of color forces the eye to concentrate
on the core of the photo - composition, textures, patterns, and subjects. The utter simplicity of
black on white or white on black has no match.
Black and white photos allow for greater artistic flexibility. The great thing about a grayscale
image versus a color image is that the reality of the photo can be stretched much further.
Black, white and gray are the "colorless"shades shades that are cool, smart, and endlessly
adaptable. They work best in street photography, as the concentration on the photo will be just
composition, contrast, light and shadow and etc.
THEME - THE PILLARS OF GEORGE TOWN
The theme for my graphical book is "THE PILLARS OF GEORGE TOWN", which the pillar here
means, the support of the city or how the old cultural site complete the city form.
George town, natural beauty & cultural splendour with its people & their cross culture, its
fascinating architectural & engineering marvels.
All of these elements & features are like pillars at every corner of the city, form the only one,
In this photo book, it captures the old street in Lebuh Pinang, traditional shops at Lebuh
Armenian and local activities at Lebyh Ahceh.
RESEARCH - PENANG
Over the last decade, Penang has experienced an urban renaissance through a gradual but
consistent transformation of streets, shops, lanes, and other spaces into public places that are
culturally engaging and diverse, and that respond to the George Town's intrinsic physical
Much of this change is attributable to the derivation of different cultures and various flourishing
decades from the early Hindu civilization in Northern Malaya, to that of the Portuguess, the
Dutch and later the British, who came to this part of the world in search of spices and stayed to
participate in the lucrative trade.
More than two centuries of unique history and heritage makes George Town a worthy recipient
as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site on 7th July 2009.
George Town have large collection of shophouses and townhouses within its Core and Buffer
Zones numbering more than 1700 buildings in different styles and types. All of these buildings
normally have similar plan configuration as well as materials used. What makes them look
different is their façade.
These shophouses extend to the street without any forecourt. From the outside one can see
only the concrete walls with long rectangular windows for the upper level and the roof which
was made of tiles. The upper floor projects out to cover the verandah in front of the main
entrance. The façade is often designed in a symmetrical organization in which the entrance is
located in the middle with windows on both sides.
There are several different architectural styles of shophoouses on the street. Some have stylistic
trends of the different periods on the front façade. Architecturally, the shophouses and
townhouses in the Historic City of George Town can be grouped into seven categories,
depending on their façade designs. The seven groups are:
Early Shophouse Style 1800 – 1850’s
Early Transitional Style 1840 – 1900’s
Early Straits Eclectic Style 1890 – 1920’s
Late Straits Eclectic Style 1920 – 1940’s
Neo-Classical Style 19th – early 20th century
Art Deco Style 1930 – 1950’s
Early Modern Style - Post war
- Early Shophouses (1800-1850's)
The early form of two storey type of shophouses is built to the street edge with recessed ground
floor forming a pedestrian walkway, generally simple in detail and relatively low in scale. With
masonry dividing wall, they are normally built in rows with simple pitched roof.
The façade is a means of filling the space between the two end walls. The upper floor façade
supported by squat pillars project over the pedestrian walkway, and consists mostly of timber
construction with continuous row of paneled or louvered shutters. The spandrel is of either
timber (for the earlier type) or masonry while the upper beam is generally placed directly above
the window opening, leaving no room for frieze and with exposed roof rafters forming an
overhang and simple fascia board. The upper floor façade is bordered by plain masonry pilasters
at each side and the ground floor has full width opening.
Structurally, buildings of this style incorporate masonry dividing walls with timber upper floor
and tiled roof.
- Early Transitional Style (1840 – 1900’s)
The two storey structures are built to the street edge and incorporate a five foot pedestrian
walkway which is subsequently known as ‘five footway’ and is well entrenched in the style by
the middle of the nineteenth century.
Expressive gable ends to rows. Ornamentation is minimal with the upper consoles often
enlarged and decorated with floral motifs, simple decoration to the spandrel 9eg. Green glazed
ceramic vents) and plain pilasters.
The usual orders adopted are the Tuscan and Doric. Upper floor openings, with a row of
continuous timber shutters are common. Cornices or horizontal mouldings along the beam
make the strycture appear heavy.
Structurally, buildings of this style incorporate the use of masonry dividing walls with timber
upper floor, tiled roof and timber beam.
- Early Straits Eclectic Style ( 1890 - 1920's)
The transitional style is characterized by buildings with relatively restrained use of ornaments on
its façade. Doors and windows remain predominantly timber framed and shuttered although the
use of glass in small plates on the shutters later became common.
Transoms are flat arched or semicircular infilled with glass. Vents are employed with an
elegance of economy, architectural composition as squares or diamond between windows.
Ground floor masonry walls have symmetrical double doors, a pair of window and bat shape
The style incorporates many of the features of the ‘grand’ classical style, reinterpreted and
adopted to suit the shophouses vernacular may include pediments, pilasters, keystones and
arches. From 1910’s the use of reinforced concrete allowed wide roof overhangs and more
elaborate cantilevered concrete decoration (consoles). This style exhibits almost exclusively a
bipartite elevation order, i.e elevation with two windows.
Structurally, buildings of this style incorporate extensive use of masonry with the introduction of
reinforced concrete lintels and beams, timber upper floor and tiled roofs.
- Late Straits Eclectic Style (1920 - 1940's)
This the most spectacular style particularly in the use of ornamentation. The tripartite
arrangement of three windows on the façade reduces the actual wall space to the minimum and
provides maximum ventilation. In later examples, the wall surface is replaced by columns or
pilasters framing the windows. The constrained indigenous façade designs borrowed freely from
the various ethnic traditions. Chinese panel frescoes are often combined with Malay timber
fretworks that fringe the cape of the roof. Brightly coloured ceramic tiles and plaster delicately
moulded into bouquets, festoons, plagues and other elaborate ornamentation bear testimony
to the artistry of the shophouse builders. The development of reinforced concrete in the 1910’s
enabled large spans to be achieved and more elaborate cantilevered details to be incorporated
into facades. Structurally, buildings of this style incorporate extensive use of masonry with first
floor timber fenestration and tiled roof.
- Neo-Classical Style ( early 20th century )
The Last phase of European Classicism of the late 18th and early 19th century characterised by
monumentality, a sparing used of ornament and strict used of the Orders Of Architecture.
Studiously proportioned which sometimes incorporate portico, colonnade and cupola(s) in the
Evidently, the style which was carried through into the early 20th century was influenced by
Anglo-Indian Architecture through colonial British with East Indian Company which brought
influences practical to their tropical experience, which are typified by high ceilings, large porches
and painted in pastel or white finishing on exterior and interior walls that can be seen in the
colonial government buildings and bungalows for European masters in all major cities such as
buildings along Weld Quay.
Most non-tropical forms used is the Palladian system of neo-greek column, pediments and
fenestration, neo-Roman arches and domes, and Renaissance parapets, turrets, cupalos, quoins,
espadanas, surrounds, staircases and balconies.
- Art-Deco Style ( 1930 - 1950's )
Art Deco is a decorative style widely used between the 1930’s and 1950’s. The style is
characterised by the use of straight lines (typically three parallel) arranged either vertically or
horizontally in conjunction with other geometric elements, creating a strong vertical or
horizontal emphasis to the structure. A granulated render adapted from and regionally known
as “Shanghai Plaster” was introduced at this time and was commonly utilised. The exuberant
classical decoration of earlier style became much more restrained and in many cases was
stripped completely. Windows are arranged in groups rather than the typical three bays
commonly observed in the earlier shophouses style (casement shutters). Highlighting the date
of construction on the facade of the building as well as the use of metal frame windows is
typical of this period of architecture. Structurally, buildings of this style are or reinforced
concrete masonry rendered or Shanghai plastered. Development or reinforced concrete
resulted in cantilevered sunshades and high pediment or parapet wall.
- Early Modern Style ( Post War )
Following the development in western art and architecture from the end of the 19th century to
its pinnacles in the 1920’s and 1930’s. It actually embraces a wide variety of movements,
theories, and attitudes whose modernity resides in a common tendency to repudiate past
architecture. Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Mies Van de Rohe were the important figures in the
general trend towards a radically ornamented, simplified approach to architectural style. Built
with reason, form by character and the aesthetic quality of which came from the simplicity of
their form and the abstract relationship of solid surfaces and large, clean cut openings rather
than from applied ornament or decoration. The trend soon caught up in the country after the
war. Although in moving design away from the quaint and craftsmanship, local influences were
not disregarded but were adapted to form a unique modern style. Structurally, the buildings of
this style use reinforced concrete.
These architectures scatter along the many streets of George Town, bearing witness to the
evolution of this rustic port city.
The Historic City of George Town covers an area of 109.39 hectares bounded by the Straits of
Melaka on the north-eastern cape of Penang Island, Lorong Love to the north west and Gat
Lebuh Melayu and Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong to the south-west corner.
There are more than 1700 historic buildings within this Core Zone align on four main streets of
Penagkalan Weld, Lebuh Pantai, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and Lorong Love and several
perpendicular streets of Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, Lebuh Light, Lebuh Bishop, Lebuh
Gereja, Lebuh China, Lebuh Pasar, Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Armenian and Lebuh Acheh.
MAPPING OF FINDINGS
In the end, I decided to focus on the certain area that i can take photos to match my theme and
concept of this photo book. The Historic City of George Town has the Core Zone and after I
research on the streets around the Core Zone, I found that the first street in Penang is build by
Francis Light and it is the Lebuh Pinang.
Therefore, I start to select and filter the other main street in the Core Zone and finalize as three
streets which is, Lebuh Pinang, Lebuh Armenian and Lebuh Acheh.
The reason why I choose Lebuh Pinang is because it has full of different huge historical buildings
and to show the outer part of the old street.
The Lebuh Armenian is the best place to reveal the inner part of the old street which it has a lot
of old shops surrounded and traditional business running there.
Lebuh Acheh is unique with it's night market and human activities along the street.
In a nut shell, the following arrangement are,
Lebuh Pinang - Outer part of street
Lebuh Armenian - Inner part of street
Lebuh Acheh - Human activities
PREPARATION FOR PHOTO SHOOTING
1. Choose the right lens
Either wide angle lens, prime lens, or telephoto lens.
It is the preparation work to bring the lens you need not the all the lenses you have. Street
photography don't let you the time to change your lenses and pose for you to set the correct
2. Bring your tripod
With the tripod on hand, it provide you to take wider range of photography which flexible your
You can play around with slow shutter, increase stability, enhance sharpness or even lift your
camera higher or lower than you can do.
3. Carry light
It is suffer to carry all your heavy stuff around the streets, make sure you bring what you need
and keep all the unnessasary stuff home.
4. Check the weather
Make sure you have the weather that you prefer. If you want to shoot soft light, then choose a
not so sunny day, if you want to shoot raining street, then wait for the sky to cry.
The only thing that you will need other than your camera system.
6. Clean your camera and lenses
Make sure you clean them in proper way with a lens pen and blower. Make sure that you do
that after the shooting too, and check all the lens cap attached.
7. Check your memory card
It will be the best if you transfer all your file to PC once you reach home after photoshooting. If
you don't, you have to check everytime before you are out for shooting.