Wednesday, February 29, 2012

“Cliché Couple” Photograph

“How about that one?” he says.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” she replies.

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

“Rebels” Photograph

Perhaps the way people leave their shoes can reveal a little of their character. Here we have mainly tidy, perhaps cautious, people with one or two slightly more carefree individuals, plus one person clearly lacking any sense of responsibility and then the (selfish? mean? possessive?) guy who very carefully put his shoes on top of somebody else’s. Whether this actually says anything about them as individuals or not, the fact that they have all taken off their shoes beside a sign that says, “Don’t take off shoes here” puts them all in a slightly rebellious category.

An alternative explanation would be that they are all victims of alien abduction.

Photograph taken at Wat Doi Suthep (temple), Chiang Mai, Thailand

Monday, February 27, 2012

“Angled Man” Photograph

A slip of the wrist as I turned sideways meant this picture came out at an unusual angle. What I find interesting about it is that I bet most people who looks at the man in this photograph will tilt their head to look at him correctly upright. Facial recognition only seems to work well when things are vertical. If you have never tried, I recommend looking at some photographs of people upside down – you might even have trouble telling if they are male or female.

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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

“Backward Child” Photograph

This young boy is doing a very good job of keeping his flip-flops on whilst walking backwards.

But then again, perhaps it is actually his parents who are going backwards.

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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Back Seat Rider” Photograph

It’s quite simple really. The bicycle was built to carry a passenger and has a padded seat at the back. The street has been turned into a market and is crowded with shoppers so cycling normally is not really an option. Sitting on the main saddle means the legs don’t quite reach the ground. Therefore, sit on the back and “walk” the bike down the road.

On the other hand, I have seen people here actually peddling their bike from this position. I’m not sure why they do it but I really ought to try it out before commenting.

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

Friday, February 24, 2012

“Against the Tide” Photograph

For me this picture says a lot about the human-dog relationship in Thailand. This street dog is obviously very comfortable in a crowd of people most whom it has probably never met before. Similarly, the people are comfortable with an unowned dog in their midst and happily ignore it to focus on the more important task of shopping.

But what I particularly like is the independence suggested by the dog walking in the opposite direction to the majority of people. This is an animal that chooses its own activities and wanders where it wants to wander, finding its own space.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

“Tense” Photograph

This was one of only two photographs salvaged from about seventy taken during a walk around one of Chiang Mai’s street markets. The others were all lost because the previous day I had used the camera on manual focus and forgotten to reset it to autofocus. If I had been looking through the viewfinder I would have noticed but shooting from the hip meant that I just carried on blissfully unaware that almost everything would turn out to be blurred.


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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

“Sleepy Head” Photograph

This is the fifth photograph of somebody taking a nap that I have posted in the last two months. Thai people are quite talented at being relaxed to the extent of sleeping just about anywhere but I feel I should point out that this is an unfair bias that doesn’t quite reflect the true balance of Thai life. It is simply due to the fact that they make such easy subjects to photograph.

No doubt there will be others appearing in this blog later.

Photograph taken in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

“Observant Girl” Photograph

I’m sure it is partly because I take most of these photographs from waist level that young children notice and look at the camera far more than adults do as it’s at their eye level and in this case I was very close to her.

However, I also get the distinct impression that these kids are actually far more observant than grown-ups and are much more likely to realise that I am taking candid photographs even when still several meters away. I don’t know why this is but suspect it means that as adults we have lost something (and not just good eyesight).

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

Monday, February 20, 2012

“The Arms” Photograph

A good piece of advice for photographers in general is to make what you find interesting the main subject of the photograph not just a part of it. This woman’s arms are a good example. I find them fascinating but even this close they almost get lost in the clutter particularly with her distractingly stripey dress and if I had been further away when I took the picture they would hardly warrant a second glance.

I actually find that if I look at these arms long enough they take on a life of their own, becoming detached from her body, and sometimes looking more like the legs of a strange animal. But perhaps that’s just me...

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

Sunday, February 19, 2012

“Gesticulating” Photograph

Since I started taking street photographs I have noticed how unanimated we are most of the time. That’s not a criticism as there’s no reason why we should wave our arms around as we walk down the street. However, expressions and gesticulations make for good photographs and are exactly what I look out for as I wander through the street markets. This guy being a good but uncommon example.

Young children are the obvious exception to the general rule and are always likely to be a bit more lively and hence photogenic. Strangely, after kids, groups of adolescent boys and groups of elderly women seem to be the most animated.

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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

“Pure Heart” Photograph

There is something a little sinister about this photograph with the lurking man and innocent girl but, of course, it is purely a result of photography and nothing to do with the individuals in the picture.

Originally I had tried to take a photograph of the girl but as I didn’t get her centred the autofocus locked onto the man instead. I liked the result and exaggerated the effect a bit by lightening the man compared to the rest of scene whilst also slightly blurring everything except him.

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

Friday, February 17, 2012

“Shoe Glance” Photograph

A casual glance at another woman as she eases her aching foot or maybe scratches an itch. One of those small human moments that I love photographing but are so brief that they usually get missed.

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

“Team Mongrel” Photograph

Three young street dogs all from different litters by the looks of it and not a pedigree in sight. Lovely dogs that actually have a reasonable chance of leading a pretty good life full of other dogs, a wide range of people and all the fascinating smells of a Thai street. And with food literally put on a plate for them by local residents.

On the other hand they would probably also make excellent well-balanced pets if adopted, having had exposure to so much at an early age.

Photograph taken in Rangsit, Bangkok, Thailand

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

“Flower Seller” Photograph

The day after Valentine’s Day must feel a bit of a let down for flower sellers like this woman after the highs of the day before. But then again there are probably a few forgetful guys who have to make amends with an extra large bunch today. And perhaps they could mention this poor woman and the slump in her trade when fumbling around to come up with a believable excuse.

 Photograph taken at Worarot Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

“Valentine’s Day” Photograph

Valentine’s Day - what a lot of rubbish. All those envelopes and wrapping papers and gift boxes and sweet wrappers etc. Not as much as at Christmas perhaps but a significant peak in trash production for sure.
The rubbish in this particular photograph actually has nothing to do with 14th February but to my mind Valentine’s Day is in danger of being associated with “garbage” as much as “love”.

Photograph taken at Wat Laksi (temple), Bangkok, Thailand

Monday, February 13, 2012

“Soup Washer” Photograph

It looks a bit like this woman has her hand in the Tom Yam soup but it’s actually the dishwater, or at least one of the bowls of dishwater with (at least) one more cleaner one for rinsing to go.

Thailand is rightly famous for its great street food but one problem is what to do with all the waste it creates. A lot of it ends up getting tipped down the roadside drains where the solids settle creating a blockage that makes floodwater rise more quickly and stay for longer.

Photograph taken in Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand

Sunday, February 12, 2012

“Dining Table” Photograph

Dining etiquette is different in different parts of the world. Here in Thailand we always take our shoes off before standing on the table to eat.

He is actually just taking a break from setting up his market stall and the food had been handed up to him.

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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

“School Friends Friday” Photograph

This picture was taken on a Friday. I can tell because the schools in Chiang Mai have the attractive policy that their students wear traditional uniforms every Friday with a more modern style for the rest of the week.

I’m not sure whether the children or parents appreciate it but it does add to the city’s charm.

Photograph taken during Chiang Mai Flora Festival, Thailand

Friday, February 10, 2012

“Giants” Photograph

The traditional Thai dress worn by these cute young girls makes them look like little adults which just exacerbates the size difference between them and the two foreign tourists. The low photographic angle also helps.

They certainly were very photogenic and there must have been hundreds of pictures taken of them that day.

Photograph taken during Chiang Mai Flora Festival, Thailand

Thursday, February 9, 2012

“Chicken Boy” Photograph

I’m not sure it’s a good combination to be a martial artist and a chicken. But on the other hand maybe it’s good parenting to keep his options open and let him decide for himself which way to go when he’s old enough.

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

“Red Meat” Photograph

It was very tempting to add a drool of saliva dribbling from the woman’s mouth in this photograph but that would have been a dishonest use of Photoshop.

Even without knowing where this picture was taken, a Chinatown somewhere in the world would be a good guess.

Photograph taken in Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

“Woman and Man” Photograph

I love photographs that could be telling a story but one that is not obvious. It’s more about creating a mood or feeling than illustrating a plot.

In this photograph something is going on but we don’t know what which makes us react more to the expressions and interaction between the two people in order to interpret the scene.

From what I remember when taking the picture, the truth is a little disappointing in this case. The woman was a market stall holder busy arranging her wares and the man had just walked passed but then half-turned around as if changing his mind about where to go. They actually had nothing to do with each other.

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

Monday, February 6, 2012

“Market Bargaining” Photograph

Bargaining is not something I grew up with and I certainly struggle to do effectively. Most sellers seem quite pleased transacting with me.

This young tourist is obviously giving it a good go. Maybe he isn’t subtle in his technique yet but starting young there’s a good chance he’ll become an expert like many of the locals.

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

Sunday, February 5, 2012

“Leg Over” Photograph

This man was a tuk-tuk driver taking a rest in the grounds of a temple.

Public sleeping like this is a common sight in Thailand and I see it as a combination of the refreshingly relaxed, laid-back attitude to living people have here, plus the hot climate that encourages siestas and the fact that a lot of people work long, irregular hours. He could easily have been driving customers around all night then slipped into the relative calm of this temple’s grounds for an hour or two’s nap before rousing himself for another long shift at the handlebars.

Alternatively, of course, he might have slipped into the relative calm of this temple’s grounds following an all-night celebration with friends.

Photograph taken at Wat Chedi Luang (temple), Chiang Mai, Thailand

Saturday, February 4, 2012

“Sourface” Photograph

More sugar quick!

Although possibly a case of brain-freeze, I suspect this man’s drink was just not sweet enough for him, which probably means it would be just right for me. This seems to be a real physiological difference as Thai people (and further afield in east Asia I believe) generally retain a much sweeter-tooth into adulthood than the average person from the west. But sugar is a common ingredient in just about everything from fried noodles to curries and with typically less active lifestyles these days diabetes is becoming more and more of an issue.

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

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Cat Shadow” Photograph

This fairly old photograph was taken several pairs of trainers ago before I even owned a digital camera. It was one where I only had about a second to react from the point at which the cat started to enter the sunlight and I first noticed its emerging shadow on the ground below me. Fortunately, both the camera and I were ready.

Like most cats, these temple cats are usually quite aloof but this one probably came over to me because it knew I was at the temple hoping to take photographs of dogs.

Photograph taken at Wat Laksi (temple), Bangkok, Thailand

Thursday, February 2, 2012

“Prisoner” Photograph

Just a young boy being guided along by female family members but there’s something about the way that both women are grasping him by the wrist not the hand that makes it look like restriction more than guidance.

Break away little boy! Break away!

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

“No Beggars Here” Photograph

Many people from non-Buddhist cultures mistakenly call the alms bowl carried by monks a begging bowl. The monks are not begging, they are providing a service to the community who can earn merit by donating food and paying respects to the “robe” (not the individual monk).

And in a different situation a woman in this position might seem to be begging but here she is simply paying her religious respects, which in this particular case isn’t begging for forgiveness.

Then there are many dogs on the streets of Thailand that live a life of begging but here it was a well-fed pet left to wander around the busy street for a while. The woman was holding a cup of ‘holy’ water and the dog was just being inquisitive at an inappropriate moment.

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