My Family in the Blue Mountains

So, as you know I’ve been travelling through SE Asia for two months and I’ve met some amazing people and taken some wonderful portraits. Since wi-fi is very patchy I have a bit of backfilling to do on my blog e.g. the rest of my Laos images, Vietnam, Cambodia and Bali! But it will force me to be very selective which has to be a good thing for all! I am often so busy meeting people and taking photos that I find it hard to blog. I’m currently staying with kiwi cousins in Sydney and between “Bali Belly” and a nasty head cold, I’ve been forced to slow down a bit.

I arrived in Australia from Bali last week on the 28th of December and I felt a mixture of nervousness and excitement. Although I’d visited families in SE Asia and taken portraits of many people, I knew my real challenge was to actually find a host in Australia as per my original concept which is detailed in the About section of this blog.

I made sure to arrive in Bali Denpasar airport in plenty of time to make sure I didn’t miss my plane (that’s a story for another blog post!). Whilst I wandered around the shops comparing prices of various items just for the matter of interest, I struck up conversation with a young Balinese guy called Ogix. After telling him about my project he was keen to share photos of his family and wedding, which I thoroughly enjoyed. We also discussed some of the spiritual practices of his people, which I am fascinated by. As I was about to leave for my plane, a guy walked up to make a purchase from Ogix and spoke Balinese. I was impressed and told him so. He seemed like an interesting chap. A number of hours afterwards as I disembarked the plane this chap passed by with his family and as I could see they were a pretty cool family I asked them where I should head out of Sydney to somewhere a little more spiritual and relaxed. They suggested Katoomba in the Blue Mountains and I gave them my blog address to check out.

I stayed in the Flying Fox backpackers in Katoomba for two nights which was really lovely and had a great group of people. They were actually full but as I was pretty sick with a stomach bug from Bali, Ross, the owner kindly took me in. On the second day I received an email from Ayla, the daughter of the family I met on the plane, inviting me to stay with them on the outskirts of Katoomba and so I left the Flying Fox and stayed with what became my family in the Blue Mountains for five days and nights. From left to right above – Julie, Jarrah, Ayla and Nikhil. Enjoying life the Australian way eating dinner we made together on the decking with the sun setting across the wide open valley!

Advertisements

Derek & Annie from Antwerp

I was in the middle of my first solo fashion shoot at Angkor Wot with a very talented now friend Rany Som, Jewellery Designer from Siam Reap, when Derek above and his lovely lady Annie stopped to observe, and take a few cheeky snaps over my shoulder. Our conversation was short but sweet. I got to practice my French once more and they very kindly invited me to Antwerp, which is a city I’ve been wanting to go to for ages. Unfortunately when I tried to email them a copy of their photos it bounced back, so Derek and Annie, if you are reading this please email me at gavin@freebornphotography.co.uk so we can meet once more and have a longer more relaxing conversation next time!

Battered Chicken Anyone??

So, picture this…you’re on a local bus (a rickety off-white 16 seater circa 1983) from Pakse to the Four Thousand Islands for three hours in the searing heat, and the next thing the bus comes to a sudden halt on it’s dusty bumpy highway! What I imagine are daughter, mother and granddaughter, in that order, clamber on to the bus and proffer their barbecued offerings of chicken on a stick! Now we ate some of this in the street market in Luang Prabang and like the fish you saw in a recent post it was fresh and delicious. Sadly this chicken on a stick was a different story. It looked more like a means of self defence that a foodstuff as they climbed over passengers manically rubbing the chicken inadvertently on people’s hair, seats and clothes. It was rather surreal and although we are all for supporting the local retailers, we had to resist their goods on this occasion…I just love the look on the grandmother’s face in the bottom right corner of the picture.

 

 

Jeremy Croce AKA Frenchie

"Awe hawh awe hawh awe hawh awe hawh!!!"

I’ve encountered a fair few French folk in my time and I have to say, my favourite so far is Jeremy Croce. Not only is Jeremy an absolute hoot to hang out with but he possesses the best French laugh I have ever heard! I’ve got a recording that I made of a group of young Laos boys who I brought together as an impromptu choir all imitating the “Awe hawh awe hawh awe hawh awe hawh!!!” on Phu Si mountain, which Jeremy had a right laugh at! See you in France one day Jeremy as I simply must hear that laugh again! In the photo above, I simply love the way he is literally hanging out of the tuk tuk with a fag hanging out of his mouth in true French style!

Young Monk on Phu Si mountain

As we sauntered down Phu Si mountain after sunset we passed a young buddhist monk and I greeted him and asked to make his portrait. He gracefully and tranquilly obliged. The more I look at this image, the more I like it. The look of serenity in his eyes, the calm poise of his lips and body and the sweeping colourful bright orange robe that adorns him…