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Born in Singapore, now based in KL, Pak Khal started out as a physics and chemistry major. He turned to advertising, where he rose to the top of his industry as Creative Group Head, and then he branched out into commercial film production. Now he runs his own communications consultancy, The Loft. Pak Khal’s preferred form of creative self-expression is the genre of boudoir photography.

Khal TheLoft 's FB

Singapore-born, KL-based art director Pak Khal explores femininity through his photography.

His tasteful boudoir shots are a beautiful celebration of female empowerment.

 

 

The interesting thing about a lot of photographers is that they never planned to be photographers.

Most became photographers by a stroke of fortune.

Many had other careers, jobs that they wanted to break free from, where the creativity of photography would give them a release from the office routine and a liberating second life.

That was the case with Pak Khal and his first foray into boudoir photography – a style featuring intimate, sensual, and romantic images of its subjects in a studio or private environment.

There were a few twists and turns in his journey before Pak Khal arrived at photography.

The surprising thing was that he comes from the agency side of advertising, considered to be among the most creative of all professions.

Pak Khal was looking for something even more creative than advertising. The answer, and his preferred form of creative self-expression, was photography.

Born in Singapore, Pak Khal was a physics and chemistry major. But his real love is art. This led him to enroll at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Art in Singapore. He eventually discovered the application of fine art in the modern, commercial world with advertising.

He worked in senior creative and post-production roles – Art Director, Senior Art Director, and Creative Group Head – for a roster of the world’s biggest advertising agency networks in Singapore, KL, Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.

Pak Khal narrates his story from there:

“I left the ad agency environment. I started a new career as a commercial film director, which led me to Jakarta and Bangkok.

“I really developed my talent as a film director. So much so, that Jakarta really burnt me out due to too many back-to-back shoots, and traveling to and fro between Bangkok, Hong Kong, Australia or Singapore.

“Sometime around 2001, I called it quits. It was during this time that I began to learn shooting with a DSLR. That’s when photography became my passion.

“I was offered opportunities to work with agencies in New York and LA. But I didn’t want to go back to that life. I’m content to run my small consultancy in KL, so I would be freer to focus on photography.”

 

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How much of a passion is photography for Pak Khal now?

“I have converted the third floor of my home into my own studio,” he says.

That’s a big commitment and a huge investment in something that Pak Khal still calls a hobby, and not a profession.

And why boudoir photography?

“As a student of fine art, I understood that there was a long tradition of facial and anatomical studies in Western art. Partly as preparatory sketches for major artworks. Sometimes as masterpieces in their own right.

“Because of my advertising background, it was all about image, beauty, style, high fashion, and glamour. The photographers that I knew were all professionals I met through advertising work. The subjects that were available to me where models and aspiring actresses. It seemed natural to me. It was an extension of my then professional life.”

What’s interesting to Pak Khal is who his subjects are now.

“They’re professionals. But they’re not models. They’re doctors, architects, microbiologists. They came from different careers, all walks of life.

“They want to be photographed in an intimate, sensual way, different from their professional or public personas. To express themselves in a physical way. They find it liberating, empowering. They’re proud of who they are and what they look like. They want to celebrate their femininity.

“For them, it’s a record of who they are now, at a young age. It’s something to look back on when they are older.

“Many come back for a second or third boudoir photo shoot.

“I have my own studio, so the shots are carefully crafted. But I try to make the shots appear naturalistic, as if taken candidly.

“I avoid using complicated lighting set-ups where possible, preferring ambient light. It helps to create a truer representation of the subject.”

 

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It’s clear that Pak Khal is passionate about gear too. He seems to have as many Leica cameras and lenses as the Avenue K store in KL.

He has a M240, M10, the SL, the SL2, and he used to have the T. His lenses include prime focal lengths –21mm, 28mm, 50mm and 90 mm – along with vario lenses of 24-90mm and 90-280mm.

Pak Khal most often used pairing is the SL with the Apo-Summicron-M 90mm f/2 ASPH lens.

The Leica SL (TYP 601) is a mirrorless system camera, offering an impressive set of specifications and innovative features. The camera’s 24 MP full-frame CMOS sensor and perfectly matched components – from the premium-quality SL lenses to the built-in electronic viewfinder – guarantee exceptional imaging performance.

The Leica Apo-Summicron-M 90mm f/2 ASPH’s light fall-off is very low. Its fast aperture lets you shoot at a relatively short exposure time even in dim light. It’s ideal for Pak Khal’s handheld studio shots, where he avoids artificial illumination, relying instead on ambient light.

Recently, Pak Khal has upgraded to the Leica SL2, a natural evolution of the Leica SL. The unprecedented resolution of the SL2’s 47-megapixel CMOS image sensor in full-frame format results in an unparalleled level of detail rendition and image quality. Enormous dynamic range, a color depth of 14 bits per RGB channel and a sensitivity of up to ISO 50,000 enable outstanding image quality in all lighting conditions.

 

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He has made an investment in his studio and Leica cameras and lenses. He’s clearly loves his hobby. What does Pak Khal visualize as a fitting destination for his photography journey?

“I hope my photography will be recognized internationally. My dream is to shoot for the Pirelli Calendar.”

One of the most famous publications in the world of photography, the Pirelli Calendar is produced with limited availability. Copies do not go on sale, but are instead given as corporate gifts to celebrities and select Pirelli customers. It’s the work of the world’s most famous photographers and models.

This is what is admirable about Pak Khal: he has found a second calling that satisfies his creative impulse and he knows where he wants it to lead him.

His long-term goal is clearly in sharp focus in his viewfinder.

 

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Written by Kieron Long

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.

LEICA SL, LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.