As an amateur photographer in the 1990s, while taking pictures of historic George Town, I eventually came to appreciate photos typically from postcards taken in the bygone era. The difference in the street scenes was startling because so much had changed and yet there were aspects that showed a sense of continuity. These pictures were truly time capsules that captured Penang as it was, through which we are able to have a glimpse of life in the past.
While today practically anyone and everyone is able to take photos – and pretty decent ones at that, with the aid of technology – it certainly wasn’t the case even in the 1990s with the film camera, what more in the days gone by. All this would not have been possible without the dedication of the early photographers who made it a point to capture the early images of Penang. We can best commemorate them by ensuring their works are made available and kept alive. It is my hope that the younger and upcoming generations of Penangites will cherish these wonders always.