Monday, July 21, 2008

Strikingly elegant














The make-up for an Iban lady contestant of a traditional beauty contest could take more than three hours and require the painstaking efforts of several male and female beauticians. I asked for permission to go backstage to observe and took these images to share with you all. The beauticians are mostly close family members or relatives who learn the skills from their elders. Apart from the usual facial make-up and hairdo,each girl is fully adorned with many kilos of silver belts,coins,necklaces,head-dresses,beads and bangles. Many of these are heirlooms passed down from their ancestors hence they are family treasures and always treat as priceless items which the family would jealously keep and protect for their future generations.The full splendour of the ethnic costume greatly restricts movement of the contestant and she has to be extra careful while doing the catwalk.Nonetheless, it is strikingly elegant and colourful. The hours of effort put into beautifying a contestant could be handsomely paid off when she wins the beauty contest. She will instantly bring fame and prestige to herself, her family and the whole community.

9 comments:

Tony Hii said...

rubberseeds, the beauty of our ethnic culture should be better promoted to become a tourist attraction.

Hardy said...

I agree with Tony. I think there should be a "photography package" for photography lovers from all over the world. We can bring them to sight seeing & at the same time shoot photos. Example ethnic culture, our jungle or even landscape.
I think when they have shoot few photos for sure they will show them to others.

cc said...

I really enjoy your photo tremendously. Especially the cultural ones. Thank you for sharing them. :)

rubberseeds said...

Tony: Yes, before it is too late.

Hardy: A few Photographers in Sabah are successful in bringing in foreign Photographers to Sabah. Their nature and wildlife packages seem to be very popular.Can we in Sibu organize something similiar?

CC:Thank you and it is always my pleasure to share them with friends like you. Bad weather here now, otherwise I would be travelling to the interior again.

suituapui said...

Nice post, but why have u chosen to have the photos in black and white? To have an old feel to it? But the culture is so colourful...and in leaving out the colours, I think something has gone missing.

Perhaps you can have the subject/model in colour and everything else in black and white? I've seen that done in some blogs. I won't know how...cos I'm a dinosaur!!!

Anyway, that's just my opinion! I'm sure you have ur reasons and being a professional, u know best! Cheers!!!

rubberseeds said...

stp:Good that you comment about B&W and the colour photos.Two reasons I posted the pictures in B&W are :(1) I had posted similiar photos on my July 2 entry "Beauty contest---Borneo's style" in colours. So why not have a change/comparison? (2) Several senior Dayak friends who saw these pictures last week suggested that they actuallly look better in B&W.Like you said, they would like to have an old feel to it.Perhaps in future I will balance it with some colour and some B&W photos.

-eiling- said...

Wow, 3 hours just to get ready and not to forget the many kilos of jewellery and accessories.... I think the stick thin models will not be able to withhold the weight!
Haha...good insight into the Iban beauty contest.

rubberseeds said...

eiling:That perhaps explain why there was no stick thin lady joining the contest!.These contestants have to do their decorations at the backstage because once they are decorated with kilos of silver and brass, they can't even sit inside a car!. I heard a story about a long boat carrying some beauty contestants capsized and the enormous weight of the silver and brass ornaments brought the ladies to the bottom of the river.

-eiling- said...

Ooo...that's tragic. Death by over-accessorized!