I’ve been away from home nearly three weeks now and aside from a few days next week, I’ll be gone for another three before I can put my feet up and relax for any significant amount of time. I’ve been haunting about and working in Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. And come May I’ll be in Singapore as well. As always it seems, the blog has taken a bit of a backseat. There’s a lot of stuff in the pipeline and I miss just casually posting here and I’m trying to get back to that, to make it routine again. For now though, I’ll leave you with a few simple photos from the countryside around Ubud, in Bali.
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.
There’s something self-aggrandizing and myth-making about year end lists. They usually mean a lot more to the author or photographer or whoever than to the audience they’re intended for. But so it goes. In the end it’s as much of a review as a showcase. I like looking back over my work, seeing what worked and what didn’t, what can be improved upon, what themes ran through, and what growth. I don’t believe in top tens or bests ofs; I’d much prefer a bludgeoning. So here are some images all taken in 2016. Probably a hundred plus. From distant shores and islands to mountains and temples and cities and everything else in between. Some work and some personal. Some that have made it into my portfolio and others that have fallen onto the cutting room floor. In no particular order. But all here now. So behold. And thank you. I don’t say that enough.
Rehab is murky and sweaty and crowded with strange smelling men and chanting monks and stray dogs and everyone is drinking foul liquid to make themselves vomit at least once a day… Or at least that’s how it is at Tham Krabok temple, a few hours outside of Bangkok, Thailand. Known for a bit of a take-no-prisoners approach to cleaning up, the temple has been brewing up a secret concoction for detoxing via the purifying beauty of, well, throwing your guts up. The patients imbibe the foul, swamp colored liquid and then heave noisily into buckets and drains for the during of their stay. Ideally, they leave Tham Krabok changed in mind and body and free from the bondage of illicit substances. Apparently it works. And work brings freedom. Here are some tearsheets from a story I photographed at the prison. The writer recounts things with much more elegance, so alas. For now, we’ll have to do with a few pretty pictures of grown men puking.
It’s funny, I never really think of myself as a wedding photographer, but over the course of every year I end up shooting a dozen or so around Southeast Asia. Mostly couples coming into Thailand & Vietnam from around the world, getting hitched on the beach or on some epic private villa’s sweeping lawn with the ocean as a backdrop. Could be worse. It’s tough for anyone to be in a bad mood on a tropical beach in the middle of Asia. So to celebrate the end of the year and to kind of recap this strange but wonderful little side business that sprung up out of nowhere a few years back, here are some images from the past 12 months. Give or take. From start to finish. Here’s to all of these amazing couples.