Panicrama for George Town heritage

 |Aug 10, 2016
Roslant Abu, Gareth Richards, Joe Sidek and Tan Yeow Wooi launching “Panicrama” in George Town – Pix by Doris Lim

Panicrama provides a fun twist to heritage buildings in George Town.

Tan Yeow Wooi’s unique Panicrama photo exhibition and book launch in conjunction with George Town Festival (GTF) shows the fun side of photography as Penang streetscape turns whimsical with building that twist wiggle and even melt in the sun.

Where most photographers would straighten the horizon and correct the perspective when shooting a building, Tan Yeow Wooi purposely used this tilt “glitch” in a digital camera to create beautiful and artfully stretched panoramic images never seen before.

The first of this genre of photography created by Tan is named “Panicrama”.

The images captured in the new book with photographs by Tan Yeow Wooi and texts by Gareth Richards are published by Tan Yeow Wooi Culture & Heritage Research Studio and are the result of dozen’s years’ work.

Gerak Budaya Bookstore director Gareth Richards in his eloquent opening speech teased the audience with snippets of the basics of street photography before the big bang reveal of the opening.

Richard provided the resounding storyboard to balance the series of twisted, distorted images of streetscape upon streetscape that caused discontent with the viewer.

Tan Yeow Wooi is a Penang-based architect who trained in Taiwan and specializes in heritage conservation architecture.

Known for his meticulous research, history taking and photographic recording, Tan has mapped out most of the buildings in George Town’s historic quarter.

An avid photographer, Tan accidentally discovered this glitch when taking panoramic photos and showed the results to writer Gareth Richards who encourage him to develop this new art form.

Tan uses the sweep panorama function developed for a new generation of digital cameras to deliberately manipulate the static images by intuitively waving, moving his hand held camera and even twisting and turning his body to get the right shot.

As Tan is not able to look through the viewfinder before taking that decisive shot, it is almost impossible to replicate these dynamic photos.

“I wanted to induce a sense of unease or anxiety in the viewer and even (perhaps) a sense of panic to see the familiar iconic buildings distorted and the formal, twisted.

“I call this Panicrama the creativity of error,” said Tan as he elaborated with talks on the techniques, concepts involved in the art form with live demos.

The corporate sponsor for the book is D’nonce Technology Berhad with grants received from GTF for the exhibition.

Panicrama exhibition is open daily from now until August 28, at 161 Lebuh Pantai, George Town, and entrance to the exhibition is free.

Doris Lim is a Malaysia Outlook contributor with a keen eye for details developed form her background in architecture and design. Her affable personality and passion to celebrate life is captured in her stories of the community. Doris’ love for all things beautiful and quirky is tempered by her love for writing, photography, food, art and travel.