The Kampung Boy puts Malaysian student in prestigious photo award shortlist

The Multimedia University student turned her lens on Malaysian farm life, capturing the close bond between a boy and his buffaloes. — Picture courtesy of World Photography Organisation
The Multimedia University student turned her lens on Malaysian farm life, capturing the close bond between a boy and his buffaloes. — Picture courtesy of World Photography Organisation

PETALING JAYA, March 26 — Malaysian viral sensation, The Kampung Boy, has grabbed attention once again, as the subject of another photographer who is receiving recognition for her effort.

Mohd Syukor Khamis, the teenager from Terengganu in January, earned the moniker after images of him went viral in January when photos of him taken by photographer Mohd Nazri Sulaiman won the top prize in an annual competition by Singapore-based magazine Asian Geographic.

The 14-year-old has now earned Cyberjaya’s Multimedia University’s Nur Hidayati Abd Rahim a spot among the 10 young photographers shortlisted in the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards.

The 20-year-old Faculty of Creative Multimedia student is the only South-east Asian candidate shortlisted in one of the most prestigious global photography competitions and a highly anticipated event on the global photographic calendar.

Next month, Nur Hidayati, her tutor and the nine shortlisted students from around the world will head to London for the awards ceremony where they will receive expert portfolio reviews, a masterclass with world-renowned artist Nadav Kander and have their works exhibited.

The exhibition in London will from April 18 until May 6, before embarking on a global tour including Italy, Japan and Germany.

Prior to being shortlisted, students were asked to produce a series of three to five images with the theme “Evolution,” with 10 lucky shortlisted students receiving Sony cameras with which they were required to create a second series of work under the brief “Belong.”

Nur Hidayati caught the judges’ attention with her first series “Rural Life in Urban World” before creating her second series titled “Soul of the Wild.”

The images painted a picture of harmony between humans and animals featuring Syukor, the youngest of eight children, who developed a close bond with the animals on his father’s farm.



Sharing Emotion | Photograph by Mohd Nazri Sulaiman (@nazriphotoelements) . “A young boy named Syukor takes care of a number of buffaloes belonging to his father in Terengganu, Malaysia,” writes #YourShotPhotographer Mohd Nazri Sulaiman. “He was an amazing young boy who was able to handle about a hundred of buffaloes at the same time. He was really close with the animals. It was an amazing moment. That’s why I gave this photo the title: ‘Sharing Emotion.’” — “I like #YourShotPhotographer Pam Hanlan (@nonnie9975)'s comment: "Perfect title for an amazing photo, Mohd! You have captured a bond and emotion and curiosity. The bond between the buffalo and the child. But also the bond between the child and the herd. And the curiosity of the herd as a group. The emotion is powerful and uplifting! I can see the child growing up to be an amazing young man." — @natgeoyourshot Producer David Y. Lee (@davidylee)

A post shared by National Geographic Your Shot (@natgeoyourshot) on

Syukor's first brush with fame that went viral on Malaysian social media sites.

The series captures Syukor’s interactions with the farm’s buffaloes, where Nur Hidayati wanted to display the sense of belonging between Syukor and the huge animals.

“This idea was really challenging because I needed to find the right moments of animal behaviour toward Syukor.

“I’m not someone who is brave enough to touch these animals or even go near them. However, I tried to overcome my weakness little by little to capture those beautiful moments,” Nur Hidayati said in a press release.

The MMU student detailed her shortlisted image, saying she took a lower angle of Syukor and his buffaloes to give the picture more impact and later on moved further away to capture a sense of belonging.

“I faced difficulties from unwelcome weather. Heavy rain made it harder for me to take the pictures I wanted,” she said.

The winner of the coveted Student Photographer of the Year, to be announced April 17, will receive €30,000 (RM138,072) worth of Sony digital imaging equipment for their institution.