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Hotshots: A Malaysian Lady Preparing Food

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In this series, we present a look-book of authentic photographs collected by the writers and editors here at Envato Tuts+. We hope these pictures inspire ideas, help kindle new projects, and give you a better understanding of visual communication.

Today's Image: Malaysian Lady Prepares Food in the Kitchen. This image is by Rawpixel and it's available on Envato Elements.

Malaysian Lady Prepares Food in the KitchenMalaysian Lady Prepares Food in the KitchenMalaysian Lady Prepares Food in the Kitchen
Malaysian Lady Prepares Food in the Kitchen


Aside from the fact that we can see the woman is preparing food, we don’t get a lot of context. That’s partly due to the lighting. The photographer has chosen to highlight the woman—probably from a window in front of her—and revealed some of the room she’s in. Much of the room is obscured in shadow, in a way that focuses our attention nicely.

We don’t know whether the lighting was a conscious decision or one of necessity, but it works.


I love the bright, primary colours here, they really pop against the dark background. While the woman’s main outfit is a subtle grey/blue, the vivid apron and headscarf really make her stand out, particularly against the yellow wall of the kitchen.

The pots and pans become almost like holes in the image, the absence of colour rather than something to be looked at. Their pleasing, shiny, almost-abstract, shapes in the background reinforce the visual story about cooking, and give us important context about the woman.


Even though we know the woman is preparing food, we can’t really see what it is. Usually if I see food being prepared, it makes me hungry, but this just made me want to know what it was she was making. I like that it piques our interest. I even zoomed in to see if I could work it out. I think maybe a dough covered with oil; the board and her hands look oily.

The lady’s face is turned away but from her bright lipstick we can see the hint of a smile. Is she enjoying the task or is she simply amused that the photographer wanted a picture of her?

Reading a Photograph

We'd love to hear your take on this photograph, and if you're not sure where to begin, then How to Read a Photograph will get you started with how to analyse photography. Mostly, it's just saying what you see and how you feel about an image!

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