Dwarfism no obstacle for go-getter photographer

02 Dec 2019 / 11:15 H.

PETALING JAYA: Despite graduating with a diploma in business technology, Muhammad Afiq Zainal Abu has not been able to get a job in his field of choice.

The 22-year-old has gone for several interviews in the last two years but the recruiters were unable to look beyond his height of 121cm, or 3ft 11in.

He found that people thought of him as being a disabled person, when dwarfism is only a physical disadvantage.

Not wanting to be denied a skilled profession, Afiq tried his hand at photography.

He started to see life differently through his camera lens.

“I realised that it is a waste of time for me to continue being disappointed,” he told theSun.

“I embarked on a journey of being a freelance photographer, which allows me to meet new faces and gives me good income as well.”

Although Afiq was born with dwarfism, he is standing tall and sees himself as a little person with a big life ahead.

He is the youngest in a family with three sisters and parents who are all of normal height.

“I was born with this condition, so I learned to cope with it,” he said.

“It is something that I cannot escape.

“I cannot escape being stared at by the public but that is just normal because I know I am not like everybody else.”

However, being a professional photographer with a lack of height has its challenges.

“I have always needed to cope with the bigger world around me,” Afiq said.

“At home, my family prepared a stool for me to do house chores like washing the dishes. I even use a back scratcher to reach for things. So I have learnt to adapt and be resourceful.

“I was brought up from the get go to be flexible in order to get through with things. It is no different when I take pictures of my clients, usually for their wedding photos.”

Being shorter than most photographers means approaching his work slightly differently. But that has not stopped him from composing his photographs the way he wants.

Afiq said he needed to be more creative to capture the image that he wants for his clients. He found it necessary to explain to prospective clients that he would be able to deliver the goods despite his limitation.

“I would not expect them to understand my situation, so I walk them through the creative process of how I would compose and develop my photos.”

Still, he finds tall bridal dais a bit challenging but he is not one to give up easily.

“I need to reach their eye level, so I would use a chair. I need to be quite acrobatic and not to be shy about it.”

The pint-sized photographer credits his friends for supporting him.

“I used to get bullied when I was in primary and secondary school,” he said.

“People are not used to seeing people like me often. In school, they would call me many names such as a midget but I never let that get to me. I would be kind even to people who bullied me so they would eventually become my friends.

“Everybody has his own miseries, struggles and challenges.

“It’s just mine happens to be with physical abilities. That is not unfortunate as I find there is always a silver lining. You just need to find your silver lining.”

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