This award-winning Malaysian photographer has ‘shot’ three US presidents

Heng Mok Zung is usually known as the “ninja photographer” for his uncommon stealth and velocity at work.

One minute, he might be hiding behind a tree taking pictures from a distance and the following minute, be proper in entrance of your face.

“Initially, I didn’t like being known as the ‘ninja photographer’ as a result of I assumed it was tacky, ” laughs Heng.

“However later, I realised that it was good branding and precisely described my model. Now, in fact I like it!” he provides.

And it’s this model, plus lots of onerous work, that has led the award-winning photographer to the place he’s in the present day.

Higher often known as Zung Ninja photographer or Zung Heng, the individuals photographer has been the non-public lensman of American writer and life coach Anthony Robbins since 2009.

Heng, 41, has additionally photographed three US presidents – Donald Trump, George Bush and Invoice Clinton – British enterprise magnate Richard Branson, the Dalai Lama, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, and different world icons. Unsurprisingly, he’s wanted by Malaysian royalty and excessive society for his providers.

With Trump, one of the US presidents that Heng, better known as Zung Ninja Photographer, has photographed.With Trump, one of many US presidents that Heng, higher often known as Zung Ninja Photographer, has photographed.

Most of his excessive profile purchasers come by way of referrals and phrase of mouth.

“The world may be very small and persons are extra related than we realise. The six levels of separation idea states that everybody is related in six steps or much less, which is how the time period ‘buddy of a buddy’ would possibly apply in such a state of affairs, ” he says.

“Lots of people say that I’m fortunate, and maybe I’m. However to me, luck is definitely work. In the event you work onerous, work good and do the correct factor on the proper time, then you definitely ‘get fortunate’. I be sure that I all the time do job for my clients, and when the chance comes, they often refer me to their buddies, who change into my clients, ” he explains.

Heng highlighted the significance of being outfitted with the correct expertise.

“I educated myself in numerous expertise to {photograph} all types of individuals, quite than simply limiting myself to 1 model or copying different individuals’s concepts, ” he shares.

“I consider in creating my very own distinctive model, capturing the second and telling the story. My photographs have been described by Anthony Robbins as ‘capturing the soul’, ” provides Heng, who additionally feels that pictures should all the time develop and evolve.

Heng has been Anthony Robbins' official photographer since 2009.Heng has been Anthony Robbins’ official photographer since 2009.

A self-taught photographer, Heng has been within the business for over 20 years.

“A proper schooling is vital however it’s not sufficient as a result of it produces an everyday employee, and such staff usually don’t make it on this planet of pictures. What units one aside is the power to suppose out of the field, expertise and the power to create and conceptualise, ” he factors out.

Having stated that, Heng does consider in coaching and conducts pictures masterclasses in between his busy schedule.

Some individuals have additionally likened him to the character of Sean O’Connell, a photographer in The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty film.

“On the floor, it does look like me. However what most individuals don’t realise is, I’m additionally like Walter Mitty – the one who’s scared and afraid, however who someday simply decides to enterprise out into the unknown to do what appears unattainable, ” he shares.

Humble beginnings

Born and raised within the small fishing village of Sekinchan, Selangor, Heng got here from a poor household. The son of a fisherman, he was the youngest of seven siblings.

When he was 18, he misplaced his sister to breast most cancers when she was 25. That basically made him query the that means of life and be decided to stay life to the fullest.

Heng had initially needed to change into an engineer, however his dream was dashed two years earlier than graduating. He needed to drop out of college as his household confronted monetary issues when the Asian financial disaster hit.

Heng then began working part-time photographing occasions at nightclubs on weekends, whereas on weekdays, he labored at a digicam store to boost funds for his schooling.

However his meagre wages weren’t sufficient to pay for his research and he by no means went again to college.

“I used to be actually upset as a result of my hopes and goals had been shattered. I cried for a very long time, ” he recollects.

The turning level in his life got here when someday, he simply determined to select himself up and do one thing about it.

“I stated to myself: ‘Don’t blame others, don’t blame the state of affairs, don’t blame your mother and father or the federal government, the nation or the economic system, however blame your self after which discover a answer’, ” he says.

Heng ventured out to start out his personal firm, photographing weddings on the age of 24.

“Many individuals seemed down on us as a result of they thought wedding ceremony photographers had been of the bottom class and that such work was solely executed by those that didn’t make it into extra in style varieties of pictures like photojournalism or business pictures, ” he says.

However good work speaks for itself. Final yr, his firm photographed over 1,000 weddings. Heng travels to a whole lot of places annually for numerous particular engagements. His most memorable job was when he acquired a standing ovation from the 200 visitors at a marriage in Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

“A lot of the visitors solely spoke Spanish within the comparatively unknown holy metropolis of the Catholic world. They had been questioning why the couple employed a photographer from Asia when there have been so many gifted ones in Europe.

“However after the shoot, after we acquired the slideshow executed and confirmed it in the course of the wedding ceremony dinner, they understood why, ” he says.

Over and above his work, Heng believes that it is necessary for one to always remember the place they arrive from and to offer again to society.

Heng believes in giving back to society and often gives motivational talks to underprivileged children, both locally and abroad.Heng believes in giving again to society and infrequently provides motivational talks to underprivileged youngsters, each regionally and overseas.

He usually provides motivational talks to underprivileged youths in public colleges and orphanages regionally and overseas.

Heng has visited colleges in Zambia to contribute in direction of enhancing their services. He additionally donated proceeds totalling RM15,000 from the sale of his Leaping Masai photograph taken in Kenya to Hospis Malaysia.

Having labored in each continent, Heng has just a few favorite places – Bhutan, Peru and Bali for his or her tradition; Iceland, Antarctica and Morocco for his or her landscapes; and Italy (Tuscany), Portugal and Japan for his or her structure and meals.

Nonetheless, his favorite nation stays Malaysia. “It’s not good however it’s residence. There could also be lots of issues that may be improved however I take pleasure in it, and I really like the multiculturalism, ” he ends.

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