Every year, during my photography tours in Asia, I will ask at some point to all participants to create a little story. I give everyone a few hours to walk through a certain village, town, area, and find a story to document. This is a great exercise and I often find that people make some of their best photos during that time. For the first time they are not doing travel photography, but need to get into their subject’s lives and intimacy, even though there is the language barrier.
Also people usually enjoy them very much as these are the only photos they are allowed to “retouch” before showing them 😉
Last November in Laos, I was really blown away by Eduardo’s story. His photos are very powerful and I love the details in them. So I asked him if I could share it on the blog, and here it is.
“We got an assignment from Etienne as part of the course. It was almost like the “final test”. We had to document, with up to 5 photos, a story from Don Daeng island. That was his only instruction. Below is my story, a brief report that summarizes my observations. I really enjoyed the assignment a lot, and the whole photo tour & workshop. It was a life-time experience.
After having spend the day with the family, the Pyang-Thao’s had accepted me notoriously well. I stayed one night at their home and had dinner and breakfast with them. In general, the population in Don Daeng island is a very welcoming and open one but I was especially well received by the family. It was a great honor for me. We instantly made a great connection. I guess that is why they felt comfortable with me wandering around with my camera and never felt intimidated by my lens.
This picture shows Mrs. Pyang-Thao inspecting the rice and separating the good one from the chaff. This is a very time consuming task that requires a well trained eye and a lot of patience.
Shuang Kao, the eldest son, takes care of the animals in their small farm. With great devotion he cleans the rooster and gets him ready for mating hens.
After a couple of unexpected wet days they had to stop the work at the local carpentry until the rain would cease. Today the sun is shinning; they left the wood strips laying one against the other expecting for the sun to dry them.
The tractor had to be set aside as the rice was not ready to be harvested. They put their hats and tools down for a while.
Mr. Kao, Shuang’s grandfather, had unfortunately fallen very ill. There was little hope that he would recover from this one. He had been struggling with several aches and the family was preparing for the worst. In warm days like this one, they would place a thin mattress at the porch and would let him lay there for hours. He loved to see the clouds moving in the sky creating figures that would help him think of stories and keep his mind busy. The look in his eyes was calm but very powerful, as if he wanted to tell me something.”