Monday, December 26, 2011

Starting the New Year

I have felt like this on New Year’s Day a few times and it never feels like a good way to start the year, although it does at least ensure that things will get better.

I have no idea if there was really something wrong with her or if she was just wrapped up in her own thoughts whilst waiting for someone perhaps, but a woman nearby smiled reassuringly at me when I took the photo so I left her teetering on the curb. I hope she didn’t jump.

Photograph taken at the “Sunday Walking Street”, Chiang Mai, Thailand.


Climb on board, a new year is about to begin.

Photograph taken at Chiang Mai Gate, Chiang Mai, Thailand.


Carrying toy dogs around like in this photograph has suddenly become very fashionable here in Chiang Mai. During an hour’s walk around one of the street markets I am guaranteed to see ten or so. I am sure they are loved and looked after but I do wonder whether they wouldn’t much prefer to have the chance to sniff the world at ground level on their own legs. Perhaps this wouldn’t be a good idea in a crowded market but these dogs seem to get carried absolutely everywhere.

The face and position of this particular dog really does make me think back to the classic movie scene where the alien bursts out of a man’s abdomen. This is the (slightly) less scary version.

Photograph taken at the “Saturday Walking Street”, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The Beauty of Digital Photography

This photograph makes me think back to the days of film when the gap between taking a picture and actually seeing the result was usually a few weeks. And now a whole generation has grown up enjoying the immediate gratification of instant results, photographically speaking.

This is, of course, a great feature of digital photography but there are still people around using rollfilm cameras and I hope they never totally fade away for they offer something different in both process and quality that the digital world lacks.

Photograph taken at the “Saturday Walking Street”, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Faceless Faces

Sometimes you make your own luck.

I was trying to take a photograph of the group of girls huddled over looking at some goods. There were other people moving around between us and I wasn’t quite as close to them as I wanted to be. The chances were that the picture would not work, perhaps being blurred or blocked or just fail as a composition but I took it anyway and love the result of people in a crowded situation all turned away from each other with visible but incomplete faces.

It would have been so easy not to have bothered pressing the shutter-release.

Photograph taken at the “Sunday Walking Street”, Chiang Mai, Thailand.


The angle of this photograph was just right to see the disembodied hands on this man’s shoulders but nothing else of the child hanging onto his back. Other than those hands there doesn’t seem to be anything else about him to even suggest that he is actually carrying a passenger.

Or perhaps they are just an unusual pair of decorative shoulder pads?

Photograph taken at the “Saturday Walking Street”, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monkeying Around Photo

Okay, I know it’s an ape not a monkey, and also not a street photo although that is where this animal may have spent part of its life.

This gibbon may look like many people feel on Boxing Day but I suspect that it was rescued from an entertainment establishment where it had been taught to act-up like this. Always cute, gibbons are also cuddly when young but turn more belligerent as they reach adulthood and have a strong grasp and powerful teeth which often leads to problems and mistreatment. This in turn means there is a constant market for young ones which are often illegally taken from the wild.

Rather than support their use in tourist places I suggest people support those groups working on the animals’ behalf.

Photographically, I used a bit of cloning in Photoshop to make her less obviously female!

Photograph taken at Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Chonburi, Thailand

Photo of a Thai Santa?

Try not to over-eat this Christmas.

Photograph taken at “Sunday Walking Street” market, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Photo of a Talented Sleeper

Too many late nights during this party season? Or perhaps more likely too many late nights playing computer games. I think this young Thai guy really was asleep as he didn’t move for ages. It was quite impressive how he managed to remain in exactly the same position without his head slumping over or his elbow slipping off his knee. Maybe we all have this talent in our youth.  

I was half-expecting him to suddenly wake up and find the tablecloth stuck to his forehead but he never did and for all I know he is still there fast asleep.

Taken at “Sunday Walking Street” market, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Small Seat Photo

This seat ain’t big enough for the two of us!

Thai people in general have a wonderful ability to get down low that many of the rest of us lose somewhere in our school years. All the way up to old age they can comfortably sit cross-legged on the floor, squat for a chat in the street or perch with ease on the tiniest of chairs. Just looking at this photograph makes my knees ache.

Taken at “Sunday Walking Street” market, Chiang Mai, Thailand

'No Left Foot' Photo

The strange thing about this photograph is the way the woman’s loose trousers combined with her walk has made it look like she doesn’t have a left foot. 

She does have one.

Photograph taken in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Old Water Storage Jars Photo

I found this group of large water storage jars tucked away in the corner of a Bangkok temple. Still commonly used for their original purpose they are also often found as decorative house or garden ornaments, although the ones in this photograph appeared neglected and a little forlorn, as if waiting with open mouths for something to store.

Always a pleasing shape, to my eyes the older they get the more photogenic they become with weathering and staining adding new layers of pattern and texture.

Photograph taken at Laksi Temple, Bangkok, Thailand

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thai Transporter Photo

For many in Thailand a motorcycle is the only form of private motor transport they can afford however much they have to carry. These waste recyclers are clearly well-practised in the art of loading their bike’s sidecar and hopefully also used to riding it without being able to see anything to the left.

Notice how the lady in this photograph is only wearing flimsy flipflops but casually resting her foot on the exhaust pipe which happens to be a very common source of burns in Thailand. I have no idea what proportion of the population bares scars on their legs from motorbike exhaust pipe burns but it must be high. Not having been brought up with motorbikes, many tourists taking a motorcycle taxi or renting a bike of their own seem particularly vulnerable as they don’t realise that their bare skin is very close to extremely hot metal until it’s too late.

Photograph taken in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Monday, December 19, 2011

Blind Busker Band Photo

This group of blind musicians are permanent fixtures at the Chiang Mai “Walking Street” markets and they are often good enough to get people dancing in the street with their Thai folk and pop renditions.

Photograph taken on Wua Lai Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Child's View of a Busy Thai Street

This wasn’t what I had in mind when I took the photograph as the blurred man in the shirt just rocked backwards at the wrong moment but I love the accidental result. To me it looks like a child’s view peeking out from amongst the adults. It could have been taken anywhere but was actually photographed in Chiang Mai's busy night bazaar.

Shooting from the hip results in many photographs that I delete straight away but also some unintended compositions like this one that work well.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thai Street Massage Photo

Similar to yesterday, here is another streetside service offered in Chiang Mai and just about anywhere else in Thailand popular with foreign tourists. For anyone who can afford the flight ticket to Thailand the cost of buying a hour’s pampering is almost laughably insignificant and it’s a novel distraction on route between bars for some.

A less public experience can be had in the many massage parlours around the city ranging from traditional massage schools to expensive spa’s. There are so many, in fact, that most seem to hardly get enough business to survive.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Friday, December 16, 2011

Streetside Jeweller in Chiang Mai

In this case it is a jeweller sitting working in his mobile shop on wheels in Chiang Mai but it could just as easily be one of many other types of tradespeople. Thai streets are full of them and in the major population centers it’s usually easy to find the right person for any particular job that needs doing. Unfortunately for many this means a continual struggle as what work there is gets spread too thinly amongst the competition.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Typical Thai Drinking Corner Photo

A night photograph of a street bar in Chiang Mai. Technically and visually not a great picture with no clear focal point and perhaps no clear point at all. However, for me it is evocative of the night life in many places in Thailand: dark little corners, partially hidden, a little secretive and poorly maintained but also providing a comfortable, cheap drinking hole with almost certainly some good fun and also a very good chance of some attractive company.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Photograph of Thai Brotherhoodie

Photographing from the hip as I do makes precise composition impossible particularly when very close to the subject. I got a bit lucky here in that just enough of their faces are showing to make it a good photograph.

What drew me to photograph these particular young men was the hand on the shoulder. A small detail which gives them such a strong connection.

A great photographic tip I once read was that hands are an overlooked but very important part of portraiture.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Powernap Photo

Even Superman needs to nap occasionally.

Photographed in the back of a ‘songthaew’ - the ubiquitous two-bench pick-up trucks used as public transport around Chiang Mai and other parts of Thailand.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thai Street Vendor Bending Photo

This was photographed as people were preparing for one of the popular weekly street markets in Chiang Mai. The old Thai lady wearing a traditional ‘pasin’ wrap-around skirt is, I think, marking the ground where a market stall will be.

If I stare at this picture long enough, she starts to topple forwards.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thai Statue Disapproving of Trash Photo

This is one of the many very charactful statues from Wat Pho (temple) in Bangkok. The unfortunate (fortunate for the photographer) juxtaposition between him and the trash bin was accidental and apparently unnoticed by anybody else. I almost wasn’t tall enough to get both him and the rubbish in the frame.

I have titled the picture “Disapproving” as this seems the most respectful way of interpreting his expression considering it is an historically important religious site but part of me does also wonder if he’s about to pick out the choicest morsels.

Pho Temple, Bangkok, Thailand

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thai Man on a Mission Photo

Carrying 24 bottles of whiskey on your shoulders must be a heavy burden and he was certainly taking it very seriously. He strode passed me at quite a pace before I noticed him amongst the crowds and I struggled to get ahead of him for a photograph.  On his way to a party perhaps, his “whiskey blinkers” make him look very purposeful and I imagine he arrived with a pretty good thirst.

Unless, of course, he’s just carrying two empty boxes…

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Friday, December 9, 2011

'It's Time' Thai Street Photo

Is that a hint of reluctance on the boy’s face? Getting dragged into the adult world of time-keeping, I’m sure he’s bright enough to tell the time but perhaps can’t quite see the point yet.

I don’t know the truth of what was happening between this man and boy in this frozen moment from their day and it could be something completely different. However, that’s why I love this type of photography. This is a real moment in these peoples’ lives but the interpretation of it is ours.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Model Shoot Photo on Thai Street

The Chiang Mai “walking street” markets seem to be as much a place for photography as commerce especially in the main tourist season (Dec-Feb) and I am as big a culprit as anybody!

Whenever I look at this picture I wonder if the two young women in the photo have noticed me taking their picture in the background of their own photograph, and if so, what’s their reaction? My guess is that they wouldn’t notice as I shot-from-the-hip and the camera never left my side but I still worry that I might be perceived as doing something sneaky to the extent of creepy. I was, after all, taking a low angle shot of a woman in a short skirt but hopefully you agree there’s nothing distasteful about the result.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

A Very Minor Mystery in Chiang Mai

I don’t know who this woman is but I see her several times a week, particularly around the local street market and she is clearly an ‘old-face’ around our area in Chiang Mai. This photogenic old face of hers has the soft, approachable quality that is so typical of elderly Thai ladies and you just know she’s always ready with one of those Thai smiles that help to make the country so livable.

When I see her she is often carrying a tray of noodle condiments (vinegar, sugar, fish sauce and ground chili) or drinks as in this photograph. It would be very easy to find out why she wanders around like this but I think I prefer to leave her with her little mystery.

Chiang Mai, Thailand