Thirty Pieces of Silver
By Dr. K. Azril Ismail

Thirty Pieces of Silver‘ marked the newfound beginning of the artist’s journey of visual exploration through the use of old photographic processes. Working with the idea of a direct depiction of the world, through through the lens of the camera, onto the plate. Thus giving the full translation of the object as an artefact, created by the agency-light.

Having observed the fast-changing evolution of photography over the last decade, where the onset of digital photography, the mobile phone camera and social media have made photographers question their roles, Azril Ismail has reacted to this phenomenon by slowing down.

‘I yearned to get back into the darkroom, long after it was diminished post-digital era. Manufacturers of this practice had receded into the background and the materials became much more expensive and limited, and some had even been discontinued. This was a frustration that had silenced my hard-earned practice

 There’s nothing that I find more serene than being in a darkened room, moving about with muscle memories and understanding actions that needed to be done confidently. The sound of slow moving water, the smell of pure and mixed photographic chemicals; foreign yet mesmerising as it tells me that I am within the confinement of an image-making space as it was done over a hundred years ago. A temporal sacred space, created within the darkened environment and a sphere of chemicals, marking the boundary of that working space.’

In the past, images were read backwards and inverted, thus placing us as the viewer, exactly behind a mirror to this inverted world, a reversal of reality of what was seen. Photography, in this manner and form, had always been an interesting shape and form, image-object, as the latent image held much more interest than the source and its counterpart reality.

The details from the mundane became a sea of lines, shapes, and limited hues. These became poetic in their own way, yet shifted back and forth with the objectivity of the subject, depending on the mood of the viewer.

These pieces are hand-crafted, one of a kind, image-objects, with the lending hands of the great giants of photographic pioneers: Louis Daguerre, William Henry Fox Talbot, and Frederick Scott Archer, alongside with Herschel, Wedgwood, Scheele, Davy, Niépce, and Bayard. The tactile qualities and the idea of presenting an ephemeral experience to his works, all ties in with the artist’s belief that objects created by craftsmen are essential keepsakes.

Thirty Pieces of Silver is Dr. K. Azril Ismail’s second exhibition with the gallery following his seminal ‘Live Animals Inside‘ (2009) which documented the now demolished Pudu Jail.

Thirty Pieces of Silver will be showing at Wei-Ling Gallery from 12th September to 31st October 2017.

Wei-Ling Gallery is located 8, Jalan Scott, Brickfields, 50470, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Admission hours are Monday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm

Please call 0322601106 / 0322828323  or email: for more information.