Saturday, 22 December 2012

The Travel Photographer's Own Favorites of 2012

With some difficulty, I've chosen five of my own favorite images made during 2012 to showcase here on my blog.

Since I've just been smitten by Hipstamatic's newly announced Tintype SnapPak filters and its accompanying Tinto 1884 camera, I pimped these images using Alienskin Exposure software to resemble that look as best as I knew how...just to indulge this passing whimsy. The purists won't like it...but it's fun.

1. The Kathakali Performer:

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
This image was made just before one of the most intense Kathakali performances I have ever witnessed during my The Oracles of Kerala Photo Expedition/Workshop™. The performance and the earlier 3 hours make-up session took place at the Kalatharangini Kathakali School, near Thrissur.

Kathakali is one of the oldest theatre forms in the world, and originated in Kerala. Kathakali is a group production, in which actors-dancers take various roles in performances based on themes from Hindu mythology, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

I asked some of the performers to pose adopting their signature gestures, and this performer was singularly adept at humoring the camera lenses.

2. The LGBT Pride March:

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
The month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots in NYC, which occurred at the end of June 1969.  The Dance on the Pier is one the main events ending the LGBT Pride March on June 24, 2012. 

I walked around the Hudson River Piers during that afternoon, and saw these two young women hugging; for a moment, totally oblivious of their surroundings. It's one of many in a gallery I titled LGBT Hip Hop.

3. Muay Thai Pugilists:

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
During The Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Chiang Mai, I initiated a couple of photo projects in the area known as Loi Kroh Road. 

The area is known for its bars and a rundown gym with a decrepit ring. One got to the boxing ring by walking through a gauntlet of girlie and ladyboy bars. Badly patched up with duct tape and tarted up with adverts for Jack Daniels Whisky, the ring was the scene for play-acting fights, and reeked of sweat and the ambience of the sex for hire, ...and of course, shady nak muay, as the sport's pugilists are known. The Art of 8 Limbs is a photo gallery of these fighters.

4. The Bac Ha Soup-Eater:

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy- All Rights Reserved
This is one is probably my most favored amongst these favorites. I think it screams Viet Nam.

Whilst in Bac Ha during my Vietnam: North of the 16th Parallel Photo-Expedition/Workshop, I chanced upon this man enjoying his midday meal (perhaps a soup with meat and/or mushrooms in it), and chose to photograph the scene by standing directly behind him, and doing so as silently as possible. I used my M9 to snap a few frames of him, before he realized that I was on top of him. When he did, he looked up at me, smiled...and resumed his meal.

Every Sunday, Bac Ha has the biggest fair near the Chinese border. It is the largest and most colourful market in the area and attracts throngs of villagers from the surrounding hill tribes. The cups you see in the upper right corner of the photograph had local moonshine in them. 

5. The March Jacobs Doll:

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy- All Rights Reserved
This photograph of a young Asian woman was made near 32nd Street (NYC's Koreatown) on November 1, 2012.  This was 3 days following Hurricane Sandy causing lower Manhattan to be without electrical power. Many of the area's residents 'fled' to mid town hotels or other accommodations. 

I found it somewhat incongruous this beautiful woman was so oblivious that only a few streets south of where she and I stood, lower Manhattan was eerily quiet and almost deserted. Seemingly disconnected from this misfortune, she's connected to her iPhone, carrying a Marc Jacobs shopping bag and sucking on candy. It also signalled to me that New York City carried on...no matter what.