Photographer: GTF exhibition portraits not ‘paparazzi’ shots, subjects gave consent

Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
Portraits of Nisha Ayub and Pang Khee Teik at the Stripes and Strokes exhibition at George Town Festival 2018. — Pictures courtesy of social media

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — The photographer behind the controversial Stripes and Strokes exhibition has defended his work, following a minister’s remark that Nisha Ayub was unaware that her photo was being used with the label of an LGBT activist.

Photographer Mooreyameen Mohamad took to Twitter to clarify matters, and pointed out that all subjects for the exhibition had signed a model release form.

“Everyone signed a model release for photography project. Each participated willingly and their photos were not surreptitiously taken. Do they look like they were paparazzi photos???” Mooreyameen said in a Twitter post.

He added that he took “full responsibility” for the captions of his photos.

The portraits of LGBT activists Nisha and Pang Khee Teik were removed from the photography exhibition by Mooreyameen at Dewan Sri Pinang on Tuesday.

The exhibition, which is also held in conjunction with George Town Festival 2018 (GTF 2018), consists of 28 portraits of various Malaysians holding the national flag.

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa  blamed GTF 2018’s organisers for forcing his hand in the removal of the portraits of the LGBT activists.

Following a meeting with transgender advocate Nisha, Mujahid claimed Nisha herself had admitted that she was not aware that her photo would be used in the exhibition, with the label of an LGBT activist.

“I am taking that stance in order to protect the safety of the trans community because of the backlash they may experience from the label. Can you imagine if the pictures were exhibited for over a month?

“You do not put up a picture of someone without their permission and certainly you do not label someone who does not belong to such activism,” he said at the Putrajaya Islamic Complex.

Nisha had earlier confirmed the photo involved was taken last year, for a Merdeka anniversary photoshoot.

Mujahid said the transgender community has to be protected from harassment because of its “visibility”.

“Well done Nisha Ayub! Well done Mujahid Rawa! Having open and honest conversations about difficult issues is what that matters! We are making progress! #MalaysiaBaharu,” Moorey said in another tweet, referring to the meeting yesterday.