Old Dhaka Police

Asia, Bangladesh, street photography

Back in October 2015, on an evening trip to Old Dhaka we were stopped by the police. Since two foreigners had been killed recently we were told we must be escorted everywhere. At first this was a pain having a policeman follow us, but in hindsight it was sensible. The police presence was quite strong that evening as it was a Hindu festival and very busy.

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Back from Bangladesh

Asia, Bangladesh, Documentary, Film, Uncategorized

It’s been a very long time since my last post about the leprosy exhibition, which went very well. In October I went off to Bangladesh, and stayed there for the next 6 months furthering my photographic practice at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, a school for photography that has produced many fine artists over the past two decades. It was an intense time, but a superb opportunity to experiment and improve through critical feedback.

I’m now processing the experience as well as the 30,000+ photos I took there. As I begin to put together a couple of stories I’ll put up a few photos every now and then on here and get back into the habit of regular blogging.

Here are three portraits from Jaflong, a stone-mining town on the northern border with India. Taken on my Rolleiflex with Kodak Tri-X.

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Scans from a damaged Ricoh

Africa, Asia, Film, Travel Photography

For 5 years now I’ve been taking photos from my travels with (mainly) old expired film I’ve acquired, on an old and damaged Ricoh R1 35mm point and shoot film camera. I’ve only recently developed the film, and scanned a few rolls myself (still learning!). Here are some of the results (the orange bands at the side is because the camera lets light in through a crack).

Ricoh004We got stuck for four hours in this mud bath. The driver thought it would be easier than going a different route. Obviously it was an incorrect decision. He got some local guys to dig a lower hole (on the other part of the road) to drain the water to there and then eventually push it out backwards. Kasai-Occidentale, Democratic Republic of Congo 2014

Ricoh013aWhile on the Easter House Party, one of the leaders finds a bath and tries to take it out into the middle of an old moat. Farnham, UK 2013

Ricoh010aMonkeys descending the steps of the Swayambhunath temple. Kathmandu, Nepal 2012

Ricoh014aOne of the temples of Angkor (I can’t for the life of me remember which one). I bought a single roll of Kodak Tri-X specifically for the visit in a very expensive camera shop in Bangkok. Angkor, Cambodia, 2012

Ricoh007aThat guy who does kick ups up a lamp post on Montmartre, overlooking the city. You’ve probably seen him on YouTube. Amazing. He did drop it once though… Paris, France 2013

Ricoh009aI took this out through the window of a bus I was travelling in. Previous to this I had the window open and was photographing out of it with my phone. But then some guy reached in and tried to grab it. So I closed the window. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo 2014

Ricoh011aI think this is the Bagmati river that flows through Kathmandu. Whichever river it is, it’s pretty filthy. Kathmandu, Nepal 2013

So I need to practice my film scanning and patch up my Richoh. Meanwhile, any suggestions on good film scanners to get?

Gallery on the Guardian website

Asia, Leprosy, Nepal

Very pleased that the Guardian published a gallery of my photos on the Global Development section of their website this morning, to mark World Leprosy Day.

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The photos are a series I took while staying in Khokana leprosy colony just outside Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. You can view the gallery here:

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/gallery/2015/jan/25/life-laughter-loss-nepal-leprosy-colony-in-pictures

Feel free to share it on facebook, twitter etc. 🙂

Nepal out of a Car Window

Asia, Nepal, street photography

Sometimes you can spend hours trying to get a particular photograph but are never really satisfied with the result. And then you take a couple of single shots out of the window of the moving car that are far more appealing. Both these were taken while driving through Nepal last year.

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A man washes the dust from his body on the busiest road going out of Kathmandu. Nepal 2013

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Evening sun illuminates grasses in the Terai. Nepal 2013

A Dancing Devil in Nepal

Asia, General comment, Myanmar, Nepal

My first day after landing in Nepal last year was Saturday, a rest day. I was woken up to the sound of drumming and decided to wander down into the valley. In the small village of Tikabhairab I came across two dancing devils, dancing in an energetic and antagonising manner around people until they coughed up some rupees. It was part of some festival, and we encountered a few more over the next week… stopping traffic until drivers gave a small donation. I’ve no idea where the money goes…

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Dancing Devil in the streets of Tikabhairab, Lalitpur Valley. Nepal, 2013

A man-powered Burmese Ferris Wheel

Asia, Burma, General comment, Myanmar, travel

A year ago I visited a night market in the suburbs of Yangon. It was a sprawl of food stalls and fairground games. I was photographing a couple of elderly balloon sellers (leprosy-affected of course), who were standing in the green glare of a rather rickety ferris wheel. It took me a while to notice that the wheel was powered by young men climbing up the wooden beams and using their body weight to pull the it around. Naturally I had to have a ride.

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A Nepalese witch doctor at work

Asia, Documentary, General comment, Nepal, Shaimanism, travel

While I was photographing my leprosy project in rural Nepal last year I came across an intriguing scene just across from my hotel (a tidy £2 per night). A frail old man was laying down coloured powder into patterns outside a two story mud-and-wood house. There was a group of mainly middle-aged men gathered and with help from one of the leprosy field workers I was with found out that the old man, a Jhankri (the Nepalese equivalent of a witch doctor or Shaiman), was about to perform an exorcism on a young child who had been ill.

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I watched as the Jhankri hung up a crab outside the door (covered in red powder, above) and began banging a saucepan covering his head. I watched the ceremony unfurl across two hours, with the patterned powder eventually getting swept away and the crab being trapped under a heated metal dish. Family and neighbours sat around chatting, occasionally observing when the Jhankri did something new.

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My understanding is that going to the Jhankri before trying the clinic is still quite common in many of the more rural areas of Nepal.