“Thai Massage” – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Romain Mattei – Featured Photographer
What a fun photograph! This is not exactly something that can be staged, just one of life’s little chuckles caught by the quick camera skills of Romain Mattei. Read Romain’s story below and find out the true cost of such a shot in US dollars. Also find out if the cat is enjoying this or if he is just in a state of shock. After reading the story catch up with Romain on his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/mattei.photography or one of his beautiful galleries at
I was spending the day in Kuala Lumpur without any plan of what to visit or to see. I was just going straight with only a map not to be lost. I make an amazing encounter purely by luck in a place where there were no tourists at all. A monkey and two cats were chilling on a chair in a patio. The two cats appeared to be pets but I wasn’t sure about the monkey. They were slipping and then playing together before the playful monkey pushed one of two sleeping cats out of the chair for fun. The cat lied down in order to keep on with its nap and this is when the monkey started to massage him.
To me, it was a massage because he was really focused on doing it well on the back and the tail but of course if he would find a flea, he wouldn’t refuse a little snack. The cat was really enjoying and I was shooting the scene with my 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, which allowed me to be quite close to the scene. The two animals were not shy at all, the monkey was doing his job and the cat was even posing for the pictures.
I took a whole series of pictures, it was too unique not to burn my Memory Card. I shot this one wide open in order to get the monkey a bit blurry but not too much so that the massage scene would be very recognizable. Like this, the focus point would be on the cat and the shot would be more eye-catching stressing the cat’s eyes looking right at me.
Also, I didn’t want to center the cat’s face in order to strengthen the composition and I chose to place the cat on the picture following the thirds rule. The monkey was more or less in the center, but being blurry it didn’t affect the composition, not catching the attention that much.
I left the right side empty, apart from the monkey’s tail in order not to overload the whole composition.
I felt extremely lucky to witness this scene. After the monkey finished his massage/skin care, he went away and while I was shooting the cat completely relaxed, he came from a side and stole two bills in my pocket. I couldn’t believe it, I chased him to get my money back (maybe I should have left it to him as a reward for such a photographic moment) and while I was about to take my bills back from his hand, he put his hand behind his back like a little child!! He only wanted to play and then he gave the bills back to me himself. An extraordinary animal, so smart!
I shot some portraits of this monkey, very expressive ones I’m eager to share in my portfolio.
Camera: Canon 450D
Lens: EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Shutter Speed: 1/80
Focal Length: 100 mm
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