Photography: the world and a backpack (IV)


PEOPLE AND THEIR LIVES

In the fourth instalment of this photo series, I am sharing with you a few pictures that portray human activity and traditions in some of the countries I visited during my trip. There are a few wonderful photos I wish I could have shared, but I decided not to post images of people who could be clearly identified, unless they were taken during a public display. This ruled out quite a few favourites, but it seemed more ethical to preserve people's private lives. Still, I am happy with the collection I ended up with, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed reliving these moments that I now share with you.

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REMEMBERING THE FUTURE

In China, the pre-wedding photo industry is booming. Here, in the Xicheng district in Beijing, the bride and groom to be have dressed up for the occasion and are being coached by the photographer, creating the first few memories of their future life together.

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CHINESE CALLIGRAPHY

We may be living in the age of personal computers and smartphones, but in China calligraphy is still very much an art form of the present and a cherished tourist attraction as well.

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A MOMENT OF WORK IN A MAGICAL PLACE

It is hard to put the village of Baisha, in Southwest China, into words. Or pictures, for that matter. Situated at the foot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, a few kilometres to the north of the much more crowded and touristic town of Lijiang, it is a place seemingly suspended in time and existing in a world of its own. On the day of my visit, the silence was barely interrupted, safe for the strong wind that had picked up. In this picture, a woman is engaged in work, sifting through some kind of cereal the traditional way. I find it an accurate representation of the heart and soul of this special place.

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TEMPLE MAINTENANCE

While in Bangkok, Thailand, I visited three beautiful temples called Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew, and Wat Pho. This is one of the pictures I took during those days: a man hard at work restoring the outer wall of a temple. I loved the fact that I could only see the lower half of his body and was left to imagine much of what went on behind the protective curtain.

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A MYSTERIOUS OCCUPATION AT SUNSET

I could never figure out what the shadowy silhouette was up to during this gorgeous sunset in Cambodia. Squinting against the golden light, I could see he was holding a long stick in his hands, with which kept hitting the water at regular intervals. Perhaps he was engaged in some kind of training, or maybe this was a display of a traditional fishing technique. Whatever the truth behind this photo, it is one of my favourites.

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LIFE IN THE RICE FIELDS

Much like in other Asian countries, in Vietnam rice is a staple food, as well as an important crop and source of income for families. When I spotted this man manually harvesting the fields, I knew I had to register the moment, because despite its simplicity (or perhaps precisely because of it) it portrayed an integral part of life in this wonderful country.

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A MOMENT OF WORSHIP

Prior to visiting Vietnam, I had never heard of Cao Dai, a unique religion established in 1926, in the city of Tay Ninh, that has grown to be the third largest in the country. It is a syncretic religion, i.e. it combines beliefs of various other religions, which is reflected not only in many aspects of its faith but also in the singular design of its main place of worship. The photo above was taken during a religious ceremony. Visitors and photos are allowed during these events, which is why I felt comfortable taking this picture and now share it with you.

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AWE-INSPIRING STREET ART

A street artist in Sydney, Australia, sits on the ground producing a massive and truly impressive work. I stood watching for quite a bit before taking the picture, allowing myself to be transported back to an earlier time of travelling artists and artist workshops creating art of monumental proportions.

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MEETING THE MĀORI

The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand and to this day they are still an integral part of Kiwi life. According to an official census, in 2018 they accounted for 16.5% of the country's population, which made them the second largest ethnic group. Visiting the Tamaki Māori Village was an extremely fun way of learning more about the Māori history, life, and culture and, of course, of witnessing that incredible experience that is the Haka dance.
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A RUGBY MATCH IN THE SUN

While out on a walk, I stumbled upon a group of schoolboys playing rugby in a public park in Auckland, New Zealand.


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