Strange days, so I’m digging through my archives, looking at lost images and forgotten stories and edits. Trying to stay creative while holed up at home. These photographs are from a few years back during a winter vacation in Japan. I had challenged myself to shoot one roll of medium format film per day–12 frames–for the duration of the trip. The idea being that I would be more mindful of my frames, slow down, etc. The usual things people say when they say they want to shoot more film.
We traveled through Osaka, Kyoto, Kurashiki, Ginzan Onsen, and Tokyo. Plus stops in random towns and way stations along the way. I didn’t set out to photograph anything in particular; I mostly just wanted to observe more and be more considerate and considered. There were times I wished I had another camera on me, but for the most part it was an incredibly peaceful way to travel. Just an old Rollei and some sunshine (and rain and snow) on my shoulders. Here’s a small edit, a few years later.
A collection of Polaroids from the past several months of travels and assignments. Street scenes, small details, car windows, cityscapes, and more. From New York and San Francisco to Osaka and Saigon, and a few places in between. Simple and casual.
A few black & white images from a recent trip to Tanzania. Trying to be looser and show things a bit differently. Rougher around the edges. From the plains of the Serengeti to the heights of Kilimanjaro. More to come.
I remembered the view from Mount Phou Si–the Nam Khan river and the surrounding mountains flanking the town, the quiet boulevards and temple roofs. From that vantage, Luang Prabang hadn’t changed much in the past decade. Monks still collected their alms at dawn and the night market still covered most of the main drag from dusk onwards. The waterfalls still fell. And sitting along the Mekong with a book and a fresh coconut remained the perfect way to pass an afternoon. You could still buy buffalo bile and skewered rodents and a variety of fermented fish pastes at the morning market. You could still hear the natural world and feel at peace.
I was able to return to Luang Prabang a few months back to work on a travel story about the evolution of Lao cuisine and to take a few photographs for a local textile company. I spent my time with writers, weavers, chefs, gardeners, market sellers, and cheesemakers. It reminded me of why I fell in love with the town so many years ago, this verdant Eden in the mountains of Southeast Asia. Life just feels closer to the earth. Whether it’s the musical chants of monks carrying through the night air or a local fisherman digging up river crickets for breakfast, there’s something real and authentic and a little weird about it all. And then, in the early evenings along the water, it can feel like everyone is pausing to take in the sun setting gold and reflective off the Mekong. The air is clean and strong and there’s a collective sigh and smile and it’s just a perfect way to end the day, decade after decade.
A few images from a recent campaign with Sula Clothing in the UK. We photographed everything in just a few tiny spaces, transforming them with each image, trying to invoke Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills or something similar. Mostly just avoiding the rain. The weather was cold and mournful and my favorite images from the shoot inhabit that mood.
This is how it usually happens in India. I get sent there on an assignment and I stack a few extra days on either end to explore a bit more of the countryside. I take thousands of photographs and dig myself into corners and poke my nose where it does and doesn’t belong, and in the end the magazine publishes around 10-15 final pictures and I’m left with more outtakes than I know what to do with. Photographs that I love, that I remember taking, that bring back very real and visceral experiences for me. The smell of a curry and the way a light flared down a side alley. A cat jumping from crate to crate at the fishing docks. A rickety river bridge and a boy floating in the water below. Sweet street side masala chai. A talkative guesthouse owner. A barber. A painter. A sweets shop employee.
Oftentimes the outtakes become my favorites. They’re the more memorable photographs, the imperfect ones, the ones that didn’t quite fit into the original story’s narrative arc. They become the underdogs. They’re simple images of meals and streets and people I’ve met along the way. They’re inconsequential and they’re numerous and they’re the reason I take on these assignments, knowing I’ll come home with stacks of treasures and memories. So here are some treasures and memories from the state of Kerala in southern India. One of the softer and more accessible points in the country, but no less magical for it.
Some tearsheets from a recent trip to Kerala, India, where I spent a few weeks traveling across the state for a story on the cuisine and culture of the region. From the backwaters of Alleppey to the mountainous tea plantations of Munnar and most places in between. I’ll post some of the outtakes in a separate blog, so it’s just these simple layouts for now. Thanks to Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia for the beautiful design.