A graduate in digital animation. A professional in the hospitality industry. Nik Affan has found his true calling. It’s as a photographer and urban explorer. His use of Leica cameras, shooting in monochrome, and long, regular walks around Malaysia’s capital city has built up an extensive portfolio of street photography, showing the uniqueness of life in Kuala Lumpur.

Nik Affan's Facebook

Nik Affan's Instagram

Going the Extra Mile

Street photographer Nik Affan takes us on a photo walk of Kuala Lumpur.

See how Nik goes the distance to get unique shots in Malaysia’s capital.


Kuala Lumpur has a population of eight million, covers an area of 243 square kilometres, and there are hundreds of kilometres of roads.

Nik Affan, totally dedicated to the art of street photography, shows the stamina of a long-distance athlete when he goes on a photo walk.

He’s probably walked along every main road, side-street and alleyway in the city to find quintessential scenes of Kuala Lumpur life, and visited every place of interest, been to every transit point and meeting place.

Anywhere people gather or pass through in Kuala Lumpur, Nik has been there and got the shot.

He regularly spends the daylight hours during weekends exploring at street level.

Nik details the time and physical commitment he puts into his street photography.

From sunrise to sunset, his photography regimen reads like a training schedule for the Olympic Games.

“I follow the technique of renowned Malaysian street photographer Che’ Ahmad Azhar, who is a source of inspiration.

“Usually, I go out for street photography every Saturday and Sunday. I’ll walk for about six or seven hours each time, and cover about 10 kilometres during a photo walk.

“I’ve been doing that regularly since October 2019.”

Nik proves to all aspiring photographers: you need to be out there to get the shot.

“You’re not going to get great photos of real life if you’re sitting in the living room, or if your camera is always in the dry box,” added Nik.




Nik was put on the path to photography by an act of generosity.

“It started in 2008,” he recalls. “I was 13 years old when my father bought me a DSLR camera. It was only a hobby at the time.”

It was in school that Nik had his first Leica experience.

“One of my high school friends bought a M9 in 2009. That’s when it all began. That’s when my Leica adventure started. I dreamed of owning one too.

“Then, when I was 18 years old, I continued my studies, taking a college course in digital animation. Moving into the imaging field, I became more serious about photography. I found my interest in photography growing day by day.”




When his dream of owning a Leica became a reality, Nik enjoyed personal development.

“I noticed a change. My photography improved. Leica renders a unique picture quality, different from all the other brands.

“For me, a Leica is unlike other cameras, particularly because of the M System and the rangefinder concept.

“Currently, I’m using a M9 with the Leica Super-Elmar-M 21 f/3.4 ASPH and the Leica Summilux-M 50 f/1.4 ASPH lenses.”

Leica rangefinders are noted for their build, reliability and easy handling. They’re compact and discrete, making them ideal for street photography. The Leica M9 was the world’s first full-frame, 35mm digital rangefinder camera. It delivers superb, high-resolution imaging with exceptional colour and contrast.

The “M” in M9 stands for “Messsucher” – a German term for a combined rangefinder/viewfinder, which shows you action outside the actual frame. This betters lets you see the scene unfold, set the shot and have more direct interaction with the subject.

The Leica Super-Elmar-M 21 f/3.4 ASPH offers a new dimension in super wide-angle photography. It is characterized by superb imaging performance and amazingly compact construction. This powerful combination makes it ideal for many applications, such as landscape or photojournalistic photography. Even at maximum aperture, the lens delivers outstanding rendition of details and optimum contrast up to its closest focusing distance.

The Leica Summilux-M 50 f/1.4 ASPH is a lens for natural perspectives that is fit for any situation. It combines the know-how of Leica’s engineers, together with the latest developments in manufacturing technology, has resulted in this outstanding standard lens. It has a natural image angle that corresponds to a human eye view and is ideal for available-light situations, selective-focus shots, and even fine art photography – making it a top choice in assembling a Leica M-Lens outfit.




It’s clear Nik truly loves what he does. He talks about his photos making an emotional connection.

“I enjoy shooting photos that touch people’s hearts. I hope people feel peacefulness and calmness when they see my shots.

“Through my street photography, I show daily life from a different perspective. Every time I go out for a photo walk, I find something new on the streets. I’ve lived in KL for years. The city still surprises me. I’ve enjoyed many beautiful moments doing what I enjoy the most.

“To share a different perspective, I moved away from colour towards monochrome photography.

“I’m always looking to take my photography to a higher level.”




With his commitment to the genre, Nik is a role model for aspiring street photographers. What words of wisdom would he give them?

“I like a quote from Ansel Adams: ‘When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.’”

Nik adds: “I’m a man of few words. But I do have a lot of photos that I am happy to share. I like to express myself through my photography. I’ll continue taking photos that break the silence and resonate.

“That’s the best advice I can give: let your photos be your way of communicating.

“I hope it motivates them to pick up a camera, to capture the moment and share their lives through the power of the still image.”




Written by Kieron Long

Leica M9 Digital Camera by Nik Affan

f/1.4 | 1/125 | ISO 80

Leica M9 Digital Camera by Nik Affan

f/6.7 | 1/1000 | ISO 400

Leica M9 Digital Camera by Nik Affan

f/1.7 | 1/180 | ISO 1250

Leica M9 Digital Camera by Nik Affan

f/4.8 | 1/750 | ISO 200

Leica M9 Digital Camera by Nik Affan

f/2.0 | 1/1000 | ISO 400

Leica M9 Digital Camera by Nik Affan

f/2.0 | 1/3000 | ISO 80

Leica M9 Digital Camera by Nik Affan

f/1.4 | 1/1500 | ISO 80

Leica M9 Digital Camera by Nik Affan

f/10 | 1/250 | ISO 400

Leica M9 Digital Camera by Nik Affan

f/11 | 1/500 | ISO 400