The Streetlife Of South East Asia

The world changes, evolves faster than we thought. If you look at Bali now, and twenty years ago, you would say it is two differents places. I have always been drawn to Asia, intrigued by this other way of life and culture, an impression of down to earth wisdom.

And I knew that South-East Asia was once the Eldorado of backpackers: these days, it is mostly a great destination for holidays and party.

After living in Paris for four straight years, I needed a changeup, something to challenge myself; a depaysement as the french say. I was leaving with a list, of things to do, to see and to capture on film. I wanted to come back with a drive for my future goals.

Early September 2016, I take to the plane from Charles de Gaulle, for a three month road trip split between Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. I had no return flight. Of course, I had attempted to educate myself about where I was about to set foot; I had seen images, documentaries, read books — hearsay that those who leave don’t wish to return.

All these stories, all this preparation wasn’t enough, it is another world, a culture worlds apart from the West. The colors are stronger, the smells more enticing, the heat heavy and humid. Smiles flash left and right, hands are shook.

Time seems to freeze and people simply live out their lives without the drama we’re accustomed to. I was an outsider willing to understand. Asia’s past as former colony-states is giving way to globalization at a frenzied pace.

I was fascinated by their work ethic. They work to live and on their own terms, markets aren’t as sanitized and regulated, but they are something different. Fish and seafood and other amphibians, squirming and flailing to show they’re fresh.

Meat sizzles under the sun and the whiffs from the numerous street cooks are ubiquitous. As I watched them work from five in the morning to seven at night, I decided to immortalize it: The work places, that become living places.

I was still in the first days of my trip when I took this driver on his tuktuk. It hadn’t moved all day, waiting for customers who just didn’t seem to come. In a sheen of light he whistled merrily, with no impatience. He was the start of this visual documentary.

I photographed their interior moments, their pauses; when no one was to be peddled to. Lost in thought or on their their phone, they didn’t pay attention to me, I was just another tourist.
These are countries where selling your wares, yourself — correctly, is crucial.

These frenzied hagglers at rest, are the captures I sought. Yet the anthill still buzzes around them.

For those who have travelled to Laos, the ancient royal city of Luang Prabang, way up north, is a place to rest your weary soul. Nestled in the foothills of the larger karstic spires, borded by the Mekong and the Nam Kang, Luang Prabang dazzles by night as the market settles in the main street. It is in this small city that I stumbled upon those siblings, studying under the family stand.

Maybe they too want to travel someday…..

Article from Carole Durosoy

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