To live is to express, and to express you have to create.
Creation is never merely repetition.
To live is to express oneself freely in creation.– Bruce Lee
When I first hit Bangla Road (Soi Bangla) in Patong it was a bit disorientating.
I’d had a few cocktails beforehand to help me slip into the party spirit. The 400 metre road was closed off to vehicle traffic. Bangla was a party zone, with neon signs and lights flashing, and loud thumping music from the competing line-up of street bars stimulating my senses. It was jam-packed with people, and it seemed like everyone was out for a night of excess.
The atmosphere was festive; with touts selling everything from tickets to ‘ping-pong shows’ to the latest plastic whizzy thing that may entertain children for a few hours before boredom sets in or the toy breaks.
Scantily clothed girls wriggle their wares in the hope of enticing our group to enter their establishment. With flamboyant Ladyboy dancers at Soi Vegas sexily posing for photographs. I looked up to the second stories of bars and saw girls gyrating on poles, girls in glass surrounds giving the come-hither stare.
In 2008 I covered the WOMAD World of Music, Art and Dance Festival for the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust in New Plymouth. New Zealand.
WOMAD an internationally established festival, brings together artists from all over the globe. The central aim of the festival is to celebrate the world’s many forms of music, arts and dance.
In 2008 over 300 performers from 14 countries performed at the ‘open air’ stages at the picturesque TSB Bowl Of Brooklands.
This is a sample of the artists I enjoyed:
Cara Dillion (Ireland)
The Monks from Tasha Lhunpo Monastery (Tibet/India)
Dengue Fever (USA/Cambodia)
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba (Mali)
Kora (New Zealand)
I’d noticed a regular gathering of skaterboarders at the Ampang Park LRT Station Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia and often had my arms filled and no camera.
This evening I made a special trip with my camera in the hope that the skateboarders would be out and about. I chose the 24-70mm lens for speed and flexibility, and decided to use only the available natural light. As luck would have it, three skateboarders rolled out from the LRT Station, and the late afternoon light was nice and bright.
I introduced myself to the skaterboarders and asked if I could hangout and take photos of them. They agreed, these are the photos I took of the ‘Ampang Park Street Gang – APSG’.
I decided to visit the Kuala Lumpur City Park (KLCC) late afternoon to take some portraits.
The park was crowded which was a lovely surprise, usually I visit early morning when it is more quiet, and today it was almost shoulder to shoulder in some parts, the children’s play areas in particular.
People were attempting selfies with the Petronas Towers as a backdrop and some looking like pretzels in their attempt to capture the twins in their photograph.
Tourists thumbing through guide books, families having their evening meal together, and couples sitting and enjoying each other’s company.
Children laughing, birds chirping, construction building sounds filtering through as background noise — the hammering, pounding and drilling seems never to rest in this city. Adding to the cacophony, security staff blowing their whistles at adults trying to sneak in a swing or two at the playground.
My first Muay Thai event at the Bangla Boxing Stadium in Patong, Phuket – Thailand was an experience. Attending martial art events is not something I’d normally do but after hearing all day long from a van decorated as a boxing rink driving around the streets of Phuket and announcing from a megaphone “Tonight – Tonight – Big fight, BIG FIGHT” I thought I’d go and see a match.
Muay Thai is the national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand and I had high expectations. The stadium was filled with cigarette smoke and Sarama the traditional music of Muay Thai playing through the sound system adding to the atmosphere in the stadium. Small groups of gamblers scattered throughout the stadium betting on each fight added to the tension of the evening.
I enjoyed watching the wai kru ram muay – the pre-fight ritual dance being performed to pay respect to the fighters, trainers and coaches.
It was fascinating to see ringside spectators facial expressions circulating through a range of emotions as the fights intensified.
Beside us a bench of tourists getting into the spirit of the event and chanting ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi Oi Oi.’
Please see a collection of photographs taken of the ‘nak muay’ and ‘nak muay – farang’ fighters at the Muay Thai event in November 2010.
This morning was beautiful, and I headed out at 8:30 am to the nearby Kuala Lumpur City Park (KLCC), armed with my camera and 85mm lens to take some portraits.
My aim was ten portraits, and to photograph people using natural light only. My desire was to approach strangers and ask for their portrait, and then ask them for a few minutes to ask a couple of questions.
In reality ten portraits was too ambitious. I was at the park for ninety minutes and spent time with people enjoying conversations, listening to their stories and sharing some details from my own story. Having this exchange is far better, and more interesting than speed shooting and collecting random portraits of strangers.
The questions I posed were influenced by a recent ‘Chase Jarvis 30 Days of Genius’ interview I watched with Michael Meade – storyteller and author of The Genius Myth.
What makes you happy?
What is your gift to the world?
Everyone I approached was open to having their portrait taken and answering my questions.
On Saturday I visited the White Box gallery in Publika Solaris Dutamas – Kuala Lumpur to view the finalist portraits exhibited by the Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards.
The exhibition is well worth a visit and runs through to the 17th August 2016.
I was heading toward Fahrenheit 600 for a shot of fine coffee and delicious cake, and was stopped in my tracks.
I’m a regular visitor to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) Park, a beautiful tropical landscape with indigenous trees and palms. Pigeons, Zebra Doves and Crows mingle amongst the joggers running the track, tai chi and qi gong masters going through their practice, walkers (some busy hustling on their mobiles), workers using the park as a shortcut to the office, and parents pushing their toddlers in prams.
I use this early morning routine to inspire my creativity and connect with nature. The patterns in nature, the bird noise, colours, and other wanderers. An artist named William (Will) frequents the park with a sketch pad and colored pens in hand. He draws the landscapes around him in wonderful detail and I enjoy his accompanying narratives.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
– John Muir – naturalist, writer and advocate of the U.S forest conservation –