Landscapes dominate my photography but I get opportunities from time to time to capture portraits — not studio images but character sketches and stories told from facial expressions — of interesting people I encountered in various places. They can be relaxed, sad, happy, stoic but its always the tale behind those emotions that fascinate me. Here are some of them. (Please click an image to get a better view of the photos and their captions.)
“Barista”, Banda Aceh, Indonesia 2006: A hotel barista demonstrates how the popular Aceh Coffee is elaborately prepared. On the streets of Banda Aceh however, the not-so-secret “delicious coffee” has a good portion of cannabis in it and delivers a slightly different punch.
Girl with a Heavy Load, Western Province, PNG 2012: She carried this tree bark on her back and was oblivious to the commotion caused by our presence. She walked past us with determination strongly reflected in her eyes until she disappeared among the houses in the village.
Nauruan Girls, Nauru, Central Pacific 2008: I joined them on a fun walk halfway around the country and they gave me this charming portrait.
“Young Survivors”, Aceh, Indonesia 2006: These group of boys were among the survivors of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Hints of the traumatic experience can be traced in their faces.
Diplomat, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 2009: A retired diplomat, he was excited to find a foreigner in an almost empty restaurant. In between gulps of beer he engaged me in a small talk in broken Spanish.
“Hope”, Aceh, Indonesia 2006: A lonesome boy patiently waits for his parents to come home in tsunami-ravaged Aceh.
Becka’s Boy, Mtskheta, Georgia 2011: I had to get out of the car into the rain to take photos of a nearby monastery. I didn’t realize he was watching my every move until I was about to return to the car.
“Father and Son”, Moain Village, Western Province, PNG 2012: They came to the village meeting together and I immediately worked to capture their portrait. I tried to make the boy smile but he maintained this sad stare.
Expressions, Western Province, PNG 2012: They followed me around after I showed them their photos in my camera. They stayed alert for my lens but showed varied expressions for this shot.
“Nomad”, Central Aimag, Mongolia 2009: A Mongolian woman prepares the oven inside her ger (mobile home). The oven also serves as the heating system for the ger’s inhabitants, an important protection against the often inclement Mongolian weather.
“Doctor-Herder”, Central Aimag, Mongolia 2009: When I met him in 2005, he looked at the sky, declared that my presence brought luck to his household and offered me his best colt of the season. Now I try to look for him in the vast steppes every time I’m in the country to seek his advice on anything that worries me.
“Sunshine Boy”, Papua New Guinea, 2012: He was milling with the crowd inside a shop in Kiunga, PNG when I asked him for a photo. He was initially shy but he struck this sunny pose anyway.
“The Wall”, Central Aimag, Mongolia 2009: There was a commotion in the household as the family busied themselves preparing lunch for us but she just stoically sat in one corner as if absorbed in her own world. The impression she gave me was that of a live ornament on the wall.
“Tired”, Kadayawan Festival, Davao City, Philippines 2011: They’ve been dancing on the streets and she was showing exhaustion but she tried her best to look good for the camera.
Street Dancer, Davao City, Philippines 2011: I was having a field day photographing kids and adults alike dancing in the streets in celebration of Davao City’s Kadayawan Festival. Her charming photo became one of my favorites from the event.
“Bored”, Kadayawan Festival, Davao City, Philippines 2011: They were waiting for their turn to dance on the streets when I asked them to make facial expressions for the camera. This was the first expression they gave me.
“Guitar Boy”, Western Province, PNG 2012: While the rest of the boys carried balls and other toys, he carried his colorful guitar around in a small village seldom reached by modern music.
“Hungry by my Balcony”, Nauru, Central Pacific 2008: I was having breakfast on my hotel balcony when he suddenly appeared behind the balusters asking for food. Though startled, I shared with him my sandwich and juice.
“The Long Wait”, Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul 2010: Finding no vacant seat inside the airport terminal, his group decided to occupy the center of the main hall as they waited for their flight.
Nomadic Herder, Mongolia 2009: After demonstrating how he tends his herd of hundreds of goats and sheep grazing in the Mongolian steppe; he briefly paused for this photo.
“Remembering Christmases Past”, Davao City, Philippines 2011: An old lady tells me her memories of past Christmases as she sat by a display of colorful Christmas lanterns
Author’s Note: This post completes the month-long series of photo galleries in celebration of A Traveller’s Tales First Anniversary at WordPress. It’s been a fun-filled month-long journey. Thanks for being part of it. Fresh photos and tales will soon follow. Cheers!