20 Images I love from 2018

As a sort of “Year in Review”, much like the one I make for my commissioned work, I’d like to share twenty images with you today that I have enjoyed making this year. 

Starting from the beginning, I’ll share a few images I made during my last trip to Myanmar. After four visits to Mrauk U, I finally climbed the hill to watch the sunrise before catching my morning bus out of the town. It’s a beautiful sight, for sure, and finds its way in here as a memory of a place I hold dear.

Mrauk U Sunrise

It was from here that I moved into Chin State, Myanmar, in search of several additional tribes for my Tattoos of Asia project. In an around Mindat, smoking of large pipes is commonplace. People spend many hours a day just enjoying their pipes. Although this image is a departure from my usual work as well, it represents to me the conversation I had with this man. He was the only person we met who had married for love, which is an extremely rare practice in this region, especially during his time. 

Chin State Pipe Smoking Man

This next image is from a small countryside village several hours ride from Kanpetlet. This lady is of the Yindu tribe, and this image is also shared because of the story behind it. We had a 20 minute conversation with this lady before she became quite tired, and during that we learned much about her tattoo. However, it was one statement that sticks in my mind from this interview.

“I wish my husband were still alive so he could meet you. He never even got to see a motorbike.”

You can find the full story here

Yindu Chin Tattoo

After a month in Myanmar, it was time to go home. With Korea’s winter still in full swing, I had plenty of time to explore and do my own personal work. My wife and I took a trip down to Tongyeong, a small city on the south coast of Korea and home to a friend, Roy Cruz. We took a little time to explore the city with our brand new X-H1 cameras and get used to the button layout before our busy seasons began. Here are a couple of frames from that walk. I love Tongyeong for it’s older, simpler, friendlier version of Korea.

Tongyeong, South Korea - Street Photography
Tongyeong, South Korea - Street Photography

Once I was back in Seoul, I was on the hunt for interesting street scenes again. Walking and keeping your eyes on the world in front of you yields so many interesting moments in a city as densely populated as Seoul. People go about their business in every available space, including taking a phone call between a curtain and a door. 

Seoul Street Photography

Whenever I have a few moments, I love to explore the streets of Jongno, as well. The area is teeming with characters and is non-stop chaos from a photographic perspective. Finding the moments of calm in it is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Seoul Street Photography

Another of my favourite spaces within the city limits is Doseonsa. This large Buddhist temple is extremely busy on the weekends but during the week, it can be a really lovely place to relax and people watch.

Doseonsa Buddhist Temple

It wasn’t long before the spring pollution set in. On one particular morning, I headed out into PM10 levels of 180+. Despite breathing what seemed like soup for a couple of hours, I managed to capture a few pretty images of the atmosphere.

Seoul Air Pollution

Of course, when you cut out the sky from your images, Seoul doesn’t look that bad, even at this time of year. Life goes on an pockets of interest can still be found. Textures, chaos, and human behaviour are all still vibrant. 

Seoul Street Photography

After a whirlwind set of commissioned jobs, I flew from Busan to Da Nang in order to run a workshop with my good friends at Pics of Asia. We had a great couple of weeks with some amazing participants and excellent photography was made. Here are a couple of my frames from the trip. More of my images from this time can be found in my short essays section.

Barber Shop in Vietnam
Fishing Village in Vietnam

Back in Seoul for a short while, it was time to play with my Laowa 9mm f/2.8 again. I love this lens so much for street work. It allows for a really different way of seeing the world, especially in the tight streets of Seoul. 

Han River Fisherman, Seoul
Street Games - Seoul
Street Food - Seoul

It seemed like I’d just got back to Seoul from Vietnam but, really, it had been a couple of months of non-stop work. Once August rolled around, though, it was too hot and work was done for the season. It was high time we visited Hong Kong. The parts of Hong Kong I enjoyed the most were the individuals doing their own thing in the middle of the density. The three images below represent this well, I feel. If you’d like to see more of the neon and the other parts of Hong Kong, check out my short essays section above.

Pedestrian in Hong Kong
Bicycle rider on road in Hong Kong
A man finds some alone time in Hong Kong

For a final couple of trips for the year, I found myself on Jeju Island and in Tokyo. Jeju is a wonderful place to sit by the ocean and watch the world go by. I really enjoyed making some long exposures over the ocean for a change. I even made a couple of videos about it!

My visit to Tokyo was actually to assist my fellow photography, Andy Faulk, but we found a few moments to work on some street images as well before I flew out. One of the things I love most about Asia is that the ridiculousness of western rules and regulations is all-but ignored most of the time. People will do what needs to be done in order to get the job done. In some small way, this image represents that to me.

A man repaints a building in Tokyo

Thanks for making it this far with me! It’s been a fun year and I’m looking forward to next year!