A few months back, I traveled to Singapore to photograph a big travel story for Selamta Magazine–the inflight publication for Ethiopian Airlines. I got to run around and see amazing things, meet fantastic people, and eat more than a few world-class meals. Pretty much the perfect assignment. And then to boot, the story design and layout looked absolutely beautiful in the final magazine. So thanks to everyone over at Selamta for treating my images and the writer’s piece with such care and respect. I love seeing something come together like this. Here are the tear sheets. I’ll post some outtakes and a more detailed account of my travels in Singapore in a few days. So for now.
I’m trying to loosen up a bit and change things around. It’s been nearly 10 years since I moved to Asia and I find myself skipping past things these days without giving them a second glance. Things I would have stopped for years ago. Things I would have photographed. These things normalize and we change and grow and stop being amazed by what quickly becomes commonplace, even in a part of the world as inspiring and outlandish and wonderful as Southeast Asia.
These days, I’ve gotten in the habit of leaving my camera at home when I’m not working. To clear my head, or so I’m not always be seen as a photographer. Which is all well and good and necessary, but I’ve started to crave that clutter again. I miss stopping for things. I miss those random images you collect at the end of a day walking around a city. I miss going through photographs and being surprised. And so I’ve been trying to remedy that.
Street photography means different things to different people, but at its heart I’ve always thought if it as a spontaneous kind of action. Photographs of things that moved you in one way or another at some time or other in some place or another. It’s people, places, and things. Decisive moments. Random objects. The way light falls against a building or how the colors in a frame all interact together. Street photography is simple. In a way, it’s whatever you decide it is. And so I’ve been doing more street photography, which simply means I’ve been taking more photographs. Streets have often been involved.
And so here are some things from Hong Kong. I’m shooting film, because it feels more spontaneous and I like not being able to see what I’ve captured until the rolls come back from the lab. These were all taken with a Lomo LC-A and a Leica M7, two of my favorite 35mm film cameras for their simplicity of design and user friendliness. I try to have at least one of them on me at all times these days. Because I’m embracing these things again, and you never know who or what you’re going to run into.
For all of my travels in Southeast Asia, I always come back to Vietnam. It can be hard to pin down at times, what exactly I love about it. A certain kind of madness and awkward beauty maybe. Its unhinged chaos barely concealed beneath a veneer of wide-eyed youthfulness. The filth, the fun, the fleeting remembrance of recent history. Absolutely mind-bogglingly delicious food. Everything and more really. So it’s always exciting to have an assignment in one of the nation’s major cities. To traipse around with a camera in my hand and a loose agenda and nothing but crowded roads and plates piled high before me. So for now, here are some images taken on assignment with Singapore Airlines, for their inflight magazine. You can see the published story here as well: Ho Chi Minh City’s Hot Neighbourhoods.
Last week I had a chance to visit a clothing factory on the outskirts of Saigon for a story on ongoing trade talks between the EU and Vietnam, centering around rules of origin for apparel companies. Basically, trying to change when clothing can say “Made in Vietnam” and when it can’t. Currently, most clothing worn in the western world is made/assembled in Vietnam, but when some fabrics are purchased outside of the country, the rules of origin can get a bit hazy. Like if a fabric is purchased in China but assembled in Vietnam, it can’t always say “Made in Vietnam”. Is at least my understanding of it. Which is admittedly vague at best. For a better summing up, it’s probably best to read the article, HERE. These photographs are excerpts from my time at the clothing factory in Saigon.