A night out with Thorsten von Overgaard

World famous photographer, dedicated Leica shooter, and all-around super nice guy, Thorsten von Overgaard was in town for a few days, in part to participate in the judging process of the Maybank Photography Awards, and in part just to spend a few days visiting. On his second night in town, Wing Lee, CEO of YES4G, an avid Leica man himself, hosted a small party for Thorsten, travelling model Joy Villa, and a couple of us. What a great night it was!

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We met at the stylish and hip Marini’s on 57 — the highest bar, lounge and restaurant in town? — and chatted over drinks, cigars, canapes, and lots of photographs. Nearly everyone had their camera on the table, and we took turns to release a creative urge to shoot. That must have been quite a sight: a bunch of us, cigars in mouth giving Marini’s a well deserved Cuban aroma, animatedly chatting by a window with a magnificent view of KLCC, and sporadically shutters firing off with some very fine cameras. It’s as much fun as it sounds.

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We talked about all sorts. Wing Lee is an amazing bundle of energy, and he regaled us with tales of old and new. I’m not surprised that he has driven YES4G to its current heights, perhaps Malaysia’s best performing wireless broadband network. Makes me proud to be a customer, even. Joy Villa, gracious and lovely, added much needed colour to our otherwise plain group. Marini’s attract some of the most beautiful women in town — she easily blew them all away. When she smiled, it rivaled the lights of the very bright KLCC just 200 feet away. Azrul K Abdullah, quiet and strong, speaking in low and wise tones, almost Hemingway-esque in the puffing of his cigar. Ming Thein and Nadiah, the brilliant partners, power-couple-in-the-making if there ever was one. It’s only a matter of time for those two, and then i’ll get to say i was there on Ground Zero.

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And of course, Thorsten von Overgaad. The brooding viking, reserved, decisive and calm. A wealth of photographic experience, he is, like all good teachers, unafraid to share. What he is able to do with the light from an iPhone puts me and my speedlights to shame. He conducts photography courses all around the world, and the experience of countless airmiles shows. He’ll be back in Malaysia again in December to conduct a course. If you’re in town, and want an experience of a lifetime, believe you me, this would be it.

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The best thing about nights like this is that you remember it not for what happened during the time, but for how you feel afterwards. You can forget everything that was said, but if it was good enough, you won’t forget how it made you feel. They say that a great meal doesn’t fill you up, but it tantalizes, excites and pleasures the senses. That’s how i felt after. Excited. Tantalized. Pleasured.

All photographs taken with a Canon 5D MarkII, 50mm f1.4. Click on the images for the larger version on Flickr.

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