Portraits: Faces of people in places
The Faces of People in Places
Welcome to a new photography series on the Faces of People I have had the privilege of meeting along the ‘road’. Travel is not all about visiting grand structures, seeing enormous landscapes or witnessing that magnificent sunset with a wine in hand. Travel is also about the people that cross your path.
Take the time to stop and talk with people along the way. You will be surprised by what you learn and will pick up fascinating tips on local treasures to discover while ‘in town’.
For part of the year this little boy and his family live under a tarp next to what is called the Rubbish Dump Village on the outskirts of Siem Reap. He was very excited about the goggles he found in the rubbish that day. This is a very poor existence for these families who sift through the trucks of rubbish for food and anything else they can find.
When I went to this village in northern Thailand situated on a razorback mountain, I stayed with a multi-generational family all living under one roof and in two rooms. Shrouded in fog, as my friend and I walked down the street when we first arrived, the children peered you from behind their mothers’ skirts at these strange white people. Soon though we were exchanging games and songs. This proud Akha woman sat by our bed all night watching television with nothing but a snow storm on the screen and a muffled echoed voice. The next morning, we left exchanging big hugs as her silver baubles jangled.
This image was taken in a temple in a village along the Tonle Sap, the largest lake in Asia in Cambodia. I had been to the temple before and after making my offering, I sat alongside a wall with my camera at my side. Monks took time from mediation and looked at me and nodded their approval at my recognition and understanding of their reflective place and religion. I asked this monk (in signs as my Khmer is not that good) if I could take his photo and he nodded in agreement.
Geisha, Japanese women who entertain through performing the ancient traditions of art, dance and singing, are distinctively characterised by their wearing of traditional female dress and makeup. It has become a modern-day tourist attraction for locals to play Geisha for the day. One day though, I was standing in a doorway in a lonely alley in the backstreets of the city of Kyoto, and this real Geisha walked past me.
When you see yourself for the first time: this is not the first time I have had this incredible experience. I am still awestruck by the number of people that have never seen themselves in a mirror or on the back of the camera. Words cannot explain the humble respect I have when this occurs.
Walking along the streets of the ancient city of Pingyao in China, I saw this labourer through a tiny sliver in a doorway. We connected immediately. One of my leading pieces of advice is always give back: take the time to show the person the image you have taken.
Danielle Lancaster is a Walkley Award-winning photographer.
If you like this one, you might like some of her other pieces, including this piece on South Dakota