Philippe Durant: A Lifelong Learner 

Philippe giving a presentation on Papan

 Whatever you do, always put your heart into it and it will blossom abundantly. 

Ipoh Echo had an exclusive one-on-one with Philippe Durant, an avid photographer, driven to learn new things. Philippe, who is now in his 60s, took up photography as a hobby at the age of 15. 

Philippe had a career as an administrator and educator at several International schools for 25 years. He was also involved in various other fields, including the food and beverage industry for seven years.

“The best part of my life is being able to pursue my passion and although it’s only a hobby, I’m content. What aroused my interest in photography is my having an eye for detail and the ability to capture moments,” he expressed.

“A witness of the precious moments is the one thing I am proud of”   -Philippe Durant

“I wasn’t aware of Papan until a year and a half ago when a friend of mine brought me to Batu Gajah which is only about 25 kilometers away from where I am. 

“Almost an abandoned village, Papan was inhabited by people from different ethnicities, the natives (Orang Asli), Mandailing and Chinese. Along the road, one will come across old dilapidated buildings, some of which are still occupied by the residents. Some still live in the village despite its poor shape,” he said.

“The beauty in the imperfections of ruins is captivating, especially with the amazing combination of architecture, colours, history, environment and people. You don’t have to pay a few hundred bucks just to experience “nature”, it’s all there!” he enthused.

Unfortunately, people lack interest in history.

Philippe said, “How can you be interested if you have no knowledge on the subject? I believe it starts with schools and parents as education plays a significant role in shaping their perceptions. It is the absence of connection that dampens their spirits to learn.” 

There is no future to go to if you don’t know where you are from. As we are moving towards development, the past will be deserted. 

“When the roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind.”

“Having spent most of my time taking pictures, I do daily updates on my FB. Art is subjective, it may appeal to some but some may think, “oh, that’s OK”. You can’t please everyone all the time,” he highlighted.

The one-month art exhibition is not only to share Phillipe’s journey in Papan but also to create as much awareness as possible within the community given its very interesting background. “This is your heritage, your history. Besides, I want to create an impression. There were plans to release a book but sadly, it didn’t go as expected,” he said. 

You don’t have to read a textbook to understand history and learn photography, just drop by one of Philippe’s exhibitions which is ongoing until October 11 at 22 Hale Street. To get updates check out their FB page at https://web.facebook.com/philippe.durant 


Gisele Soo

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