Monday, April 30, 2012

“Football Silverware” Photograph

The Saturday Walking Street area around Wua Lai Road is famous as a silversmithing area in Chiang Mai. There are two temples along the road renowned for their silver reliefs and artwork plus numerous shops selling silver decorations such as these. After almost three years of hearing the constant gentle tap-tapping as they work the metal I noticed for the first time last week that they have started moving with the times and doing more than the usual traditional religious subjects.

I’m slightly disappointed that the “red devil” on the Manchester United FC shield hasn’t been changed to a mythical Thai figure such as the Hongsa in the piece above, although perhaps this would make it look much too close to the Liverpool FC emblem.

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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

“One Hand” Photograph

I love hands and the infinite variety of positions they can get into. As I’ve mentioned before they are a very overlooked aspect of photography and at times they are almost as meaningful and expressive as a person’s face.

The nature of photography means that you can look more closely at a scene or subject than is often possible in real life, particularly busy street life, and therefore details can be noticed. This isn’t, however, always a good thing. I certainly didn’t notice that curly white hair when taking the photo but now every time I look at this picture I want to pick it off her shirt. I was tempted to remove it in Photoshop but decided to leave it there in order to make this point.

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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

“No Flies On Him!” Photograph

What a great tee-shirt! A life-size tokay gecko crawling up it. I want one.

Anyone who has spent much time in this part of the world will recognize this animal and the deep “tookay” sound it makes as it slinks around the walls after dark just under the roof. Once heard, never forgotten.

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

Friday, April 27, 2012

“Just How Lost Is He?” Photograph

Careful observers will notice that this man is really lost as the photograph was taken in Chiang Mai but he is holding a map of Bangkok.

However, even more careful observers will then notice the obvious answer that he’s not quite so lost after all because the side he is looking at is actually a map of Chiang Mai (the backward text “CHIANG M” just shows through on the far left).

He was also sensible enough to tuck his “traveler’s bible” (Lonely Planet guide) under his arm, which was hopefully the Thailand or SE Asia edition.

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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

“iDog” Photograph

That mop of hair on her arm is a dog but I think it is too hot (it was in the high 30’s Celsius at the time) and possibly also too humiliated to be interested in whatever is on its owner’s smartphone.

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

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

“Urban Disease” Photograph

On a hill just outside the town of Bang Saen a troop of macaque monkeys lives by the roadside (and thereby gets into this “street photography” blog). Over the last decade or so they have become an increasingly popular tourist attraction with several vendors earning their living through selling food to tourists to give to the monkeys. Over this period the monkey population has exploded from a couple of hundred to well over a thousand.

When I visited them, it struck me how urbanized the troop seemed to be even in their wooded setting. Compared to a truly wild-living troop they are more sedentary, live in a denser population and have a diet that includes soft drinks and lots of carbohydrates. This old guy is one example of the result.

Photograph taken at Khao Sam Muk, Bang Saen, Chonburi, Thailand

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

“Looking at me” Photograph

I have commented before about how more likely than adults children are to notice there’s a camera pointing at them and that this could be due to my camera being closer to their eye-level, them having better eye-sight or that we really are more observant when young.

Another possibility occurred to me recently when seeing just how many photographs people were taking of a friend’s young child and that child’s obvious pleasure in the process. Perhaps children are more tuned into having their picture taken than I was when young and thereby cameras are prominently featured in their radar.

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

Monday, April 23, 2012

“Ponder” Photograph

This classic pondering pose is ruined by the fact that the woman doesn’t have a goatee beard to stroke.

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

Sunday, April 22, 2012

“Kiddyback” Photograph

At first I didn’t actually notice what this woman had on her back. It just looked like a bag slung over her shoulder. Then the lump wriggled a little and a leg popped out the bottom.

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

Saturday, April 21, 2012

“Waiting” Photograph

Here is an article by Valerie Jardin describing her street photography technique  of taking photos through windows (that’s from the outside looking in). As she explains the reflections, signs and other paraphernalia can produce some interesting results.

The photo above is my favorite example of my own “through the window” pictures (even though the main subject is actually outside, I know).

I also like her comment “I firmly believe that your photography style reflects your personality”. I shoot from the hip, that makes me sneaky.

Photograph taken at Night Bazaar, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Friday, April 20, 2012

“Samlor Riders” Photographs

These samlor (“three wheels”) riders seem to spend most of their time waiting. They do get customers occasionally, particularly the elderly generation, but even with their comparatively cheap prices most people prefer the speed of motorised transport. The typical earnings of a samlor rider must be a poor return for the effort and perhaps the days of it as a viable trade in Chiang Mai are numbered.

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

Thursday, April 19, 2012

“Lonely Brides” Photograph

On a dark, poorly lit road at night this shop selling bridal outfits was the only one that had left its lights on. I have no idea why and only post this photograph of it because it struck me as slightly strange.

Photograph taken in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

“Going Your Own Way” Photograph

Whether it’s a good idea to follow your dreams or not is perhaps dependent on the quality of your dreams.

(Happy Birthday, Paul.)

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

“Having a Break” Photograph

The Chiang Mai “Walking Street Markets” can be tiring, thirsty work with over a kilometer of stalls to look at.

However, instead of sitting on the kerb another option would be to use the chairs behind and get a relaxing massage.

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

Monday, April 16, 2012

“Shadowed in Pink” Photograph

There is so much going on in the Chiang Mai “Walking Street” markets where I often take photographs that it is a real challenge to keep alert for all the possibilities. Generally, I’m on the lookout for faces and active people but whilst doing this I’m sure I miss out on some interesting tee-shirts, for example – I know this happens because I’m sometimes pleasantly surprised by an apt tee-shirt message in a photograph that I didn’t notice at the time.

Shadows are another good example where if I’m not concentrating on them there’s a good chance I’ll miss some interesting pictures. Unless, of course, it’s as blatantly obvious as it was with these shadows on an enormous red umbrella blocking the path.

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

Sunday, April 15, 2012

“Doing the Market Bustle” Photograph

Without the interest of photography I would hate the bustle of the “Walking Street” markets in Chiang Mai which just gets worse and worse through the evening as the crowds build. Being English, getting jostled by people focused on other things just makes me feel the need to say “sorry” for some reason.

However, quite a good game to play at times like these is to try to walk through the crowds without touching anybody – with the dense crowds after dark it’s almost impossible.

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

Saturday, April 14, 2012

“Chinese Dragon Dog” Photograph

Another fashion accessory in the shape of a dog only this one is very reminiscent of one of those Chinese dragon puppets popular around Chinese New Year. It was actually a bit of a shock to turn around and see this staring up at me. It hardly seemed like a real animal anymore than the dragon puppets are.

It must be uncomfortable to have so much hair in a tropical country, particularly hair that needs to be kept out of your eyes and mouth with rubber bands. A haircut might be the kindest thing to do.

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

Friday, April 13, 2012

“Chelsea Fan” Photograph

The English Premier League (EPL) looms large amongst Thai sporting fans. It’s almost certainly the most widely followed sporting competition with the possible exception of Thai boxing. There is a rejuvenated Thai Premier League but it has a very small following in comparison, with the lack of interest mainly being due to the number of unknown foreign players!

Thailand’s streets are full of people in replica shirts from the EPL such as this Chelsea FC one. Although Manchester United and Liverpool are still the most popular clubs to support and Arsenal are quite big, Chelsea’s visit to play in Bangkok last year has boosted their support.

However, just because someone is wearing a football shirt here doesn’t necessarily mean they are a fan of that club. They might have gotten the shirt cheaply, or been given it, or maybe even just like the color.

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

Thursday, April 12, 2012

“Already Relaxed” Photograph

I used to have a pair of long shorts (mediums?) like these and this photo reminds me how awkward I felt having to bend over sideways to get anything out of the low-slung pockets.

Photograph taken at Night Bazaar, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

“Street Fashion” Photograph

It's probably fair to say that I am not a follower of fashion in any sense (at least, not consciously) but I really believe the market trader here could be on to something.

Photograph taken at Night Bazaar, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

“In Close” Photograph

The famous photographer, Robert Capa, once said, “If the shot ain't good enough, you're not close enough."

I’m not trying to claim this is a great photograph but I did get pretty close.

Photograph taken at “Chiang Mai Flora” Festival, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Monday, April 9, 2012

“Monday Morning Dog” Photograph

You know the feeling, and most of us have no choice but to get up and get on. However, this street dog from Bangkok can just role over and go back to sleep for another few hours if it wants. It probably did.

Photograph taken in Rangsit, Bangkok, Thailand

Sunday, April 8, 2012

“Street Photographers” Photograph

Today I quote from Barry Milyovsky on lightstalkers website, which I hope may be of some use to budding street photographers:

“My friend Hernan Zenteno recently brought to my attention that there is no manual for street photography. So, as a public service, after much research I have written one. It is printed in full below and free to all.

1. Get a camera

2. Go outside and take pictures.”

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

Saturday, April 7, 2012

“The Family” Photograph

I like the similarity and contrast between this photograph and the one I posted yesterday. Another close family group staying together in the busy street but this time the youth taking the lead.

I also detect a hint of “mafia” in this one for some reason but hopefully I don’t need to point out that I am not making an accusation against this family when I say that!

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

Friday, April 6, 2012

“Matriarch” Photograph

More typically associated with elephants, no disrespect to these people is meant with this title and as a highly revered animal in Thailand I don’t think any would be taken. The similarities in this photograph with a herd of elephants go no further than the oldest woman leading and the clearly very close family ties (and perhaps the slight independence of the young male).

Incidentally, I also love football (soccer).

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

Thursday, April 5, 2012

“Chair Men” Photograph

I have given this photograph a title that fits three men sitting in chairs and yet the body language suggests there is actually only one Chairman.

At least, that’s how it looks in this particular instant and I have no problem making such character judgements of people in these photographs as long as it is realised that it’s a judgement of the photographically frozen moment not the actual people in real life or even the situation that was photographed. The problems start when people assume photographs represent reality or truth when they are actually often very misleading.

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

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

“Eyebrows” Photograph

My sister once told me that she collects body-parts. I haven’t actually checked in her attic but I’m fairly sure she meant in her memory. Things like somebody with a pair of remarkable ears or perfect feet.

In this spirit I’d just like to say that I love this woman’s calligraphic eyebrows.

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

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

“Eyes” Photograph

I’ll let the eyes speak for themselves with this one.

But I’d just like to add that I love these bamboo cups like the one the woman is holding. One of the nicest ever drinks I had was “bamboo tea” which was just water heated up in the freshly cut stem of a large bamboo shoot propped up in a campfire and then drunk out of a newly made bamboo cup. Beautifully subtle flavor perfect for an evening in the forest (but also good from a street-stall).

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

Monday, April 2, 2012

“Streetview Protest”

This man came up to me and pushed a newspaper in my face, which is unusually demonstrative behavior in Thailand so I took this quick photograph and edged away. Only on getting home and looking at the picture did I notice the “EVIL POLICE” written along the top and then tried to translate the headline. After struggling to think what “sadree daweow” could mean, it suddenly dawned on me.

The headline says, “Streetview Thailand”, which had just launched in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket, (earlier than expected thanks to a special request from the Thai Government keen to show flood-free streets). And this man seems believe it to be a mechanism for the police to spy on us.

I feel sorry that I didn’t take the time to understand his protest when he came up to me as I might have been able to put him at ease or at least shift his anger towards Google. I went back the next day but couldn’t find him.

However, I’m glad I didn’t get his face in the photo or I could be accused of being an evil police spy.

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

Sunday, April 1, 2012

“Three Look Back“ Photograph

“Hey, look over there!”

“April fools.”

This is actually one of my favorite photos of all those I’ve taken on the streets of Thailand. I love the synchronized pattern of all three looking back together plus the fact that you have no idea what they are looking at (and that’s how it’s going to stay).

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