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The Spool: A Rocker’s Photographer
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The Spool: A Rocker’s Photographer

by Nazreen AbrahamMay 4, 2015

Imagine being at a gig and seeing your childhood friend taking pictures of the rockstars behind the stage. How does one not feel proud yet a tad envious?

That is my reaction every time there is a new photo uploaded on The Spool, an online portfolio of photos featuring Kuala Lumpur’s street life and gig culture.

With photography, I can steal moments – yes, the keyword is steal.” The Spool, Interview with Gumball


The Spool‘s main mission is to document and capture the essence of life within the limitation of a photograph. It is not hard to see the aesthetic values in the snapshots of his bathroom-developed films filled with unique and interesting characters of our metropolis, taken sometimes without permission. Though there are plenty more black and white film photographers in Malaysia (the Tahi Cicak group comes to mind) The Spool is one of the more active ones due to his relentless participation in the local music scene.

The Spool, also known as Rizki Maulana, is a 22 year old photographer that went from attending gigs and taking blurry photos to hanging out with famous international musicians and snapping pictures for covers of local art and culture magazines such as JUICE Malaysia, Clive and New Man.

This young Indonesian dude is perhaps one of the town’s better known roadies/photographers. Go to any gig or musical event and there he’ll be with his camera in his hand and a big smile on his face, ready to make anyone look as photogenic and bad ass as the rock and roll legends on stage.



I pretty much categorise myself as a Malaysian. Some say that I am more Malaysian than some Malaysians.” Rizki Maulana

Even back in high school, this Petaling Jaya-raised photographer has been following and capturing moments from local bands such as An Honest Mistake, Kyoto Protocol, Liyana Fizi, Couple, Oh Chentaku, Love Me Butch, Yuna, Arabyrd and many others. He started out in September 11th 2009 (conspiracy?) with a cheap plastic camera because he was “too broke for a DSLR”. The APIIT graduate has earned and upgraded his tools from a Yashica T5 to both a Nikon D700 for gigs and a Ricoh GR1v for the street allowing his skills to bloom in both digital and traditional photography.

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His experience being a workhorse behind the stage plus his passion for analog cameras has influence his decision in picking an alias.

He feels that the spool is one of the most underrated parts of the camera and it relates to him as a roadie; thus The Spool was created. “All the fuss goes to the lens and how the body works but the camera will not work without a spool to take up film,” he states.

Maulana has already made his mark as a legitimate photographer by being one of the finalists of Levi’s Go Forth! and had his photos exhibited in the Levi’s tent at Urbanscapes 2012.


I want to follow bands on world tours, as many bands as there can be,” said Rizki when questioned on his expectations and dreams of pursuing photography as The Spool.

He was merely being humble, for The Spool is greatly in demand, contributing regularly to Juice and Clive for events namely Geared Up : BATE 2nd Anniversary, Upfront Arena Presents: Foals, Urbanscapes, and Rockaway 2012 to state a few. It’s just a matter of time before he will be travelling around the world taking photos for The Rolling Stones and the such.



“f/4 is the new f/2.8” – The Spool

About The Author
Profile photo of Nazreen Abraham
Nazreen Abraham
Nazreen Abraham is a padawan of Minut Init Art Space in Damansara Uptown. The Father of Zero Ducks Given, the online Inter-Dimensional Zine. He yearns to understand the local arts scene in his search for the elusive Malaysian Identity and the National Dream. Nazreen was junior writer at The Daily Seni.

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