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 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.

A Gaunt Chitwan Elephant

Asia, General comment, Nepal, travel

I had the briefest of visits to Chitwan National park in Nepal last year – I was photographing my leprosy project in the town of Chitwan and the two social workers I was with wondered if I’d like to do an elephant back ride. We went along to the entrance where they do them from.

I must say, this is quite a sensationalist image – the elephant looks particularly gaunt. Having said that, many of the elephants did look gaunt, and many of them were carrying 6 or 7 people. I hadn’t read much before about how cruel it is for elephants and what weight limits are ok for them, but as a result of what I saw, I didn’t feel compelled to ride on one and ultimately opted out.

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Having said that, I’m well aware of the importance tourism has on maintaining National parks like Chitwan and the general economy of very poor countries like Nepal.

A Nepalese Market

Nepal, street photography, travel

Occasionally the light is so beautiful it dictates what you photograph. When I arrived at this market several miles outside of Janakpur in Nepal, I was photographing a woman for American Leprosy Missions. As I was finishing off the shoot I realised that the light coming through the tree at the other side of the market was beckoning…

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“It’s most important… to see that those in Khokana can enjoy life too.”

Asia, Documentary, Leprosy

“It’s most important… people need to see that those in Khokana can enjoy life too.”

I am told this by a woman in her late 50s called Laxmi. She is one of the chiefs in Khokana leprosy colony, a state-run (of sorts) collection of houses and rooms just outside Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

I’ve been editing A LOT of photographs to do with my leprosy project recently. As well as staring at a computer screen all day, some of the images can get to you. Among my recent edits have been personal photos I took from a stay at Khokana leprosy colony. I have plenty of stories to tell from this place, but the words of Laxmi (at the top) rung with me recently, so for today’s post I thought I’d dig out a couple of the more joyous moments I experienced.

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An elderly, disabled resident of the colony who can’t walk is carried by his brother and Bikash (whose parents are both affected by leprosy and who was my translator and a good friend) in a tarpaulin out onto the grass where he sits quite happily for much of the day. Khokana, Nepal 2013

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Hari Maya, 73 almost wets herself laughing at how she’s dressed up a neighbours daughter in a bonnet and glasses. Khokana, Nepal 2013