( Above - A precariously perched feline defies gravity much as a jetlagged human somehow remains upright).
Istanbul, the perfect city to transit through. I arrived mid-morning after a 10hr flight from Malaysia preceded by a 3 day shoot in Thailand that had me arriving in Penang and leaving the same day.
After a jetlag sleep of the dead I headed out with my camera to catch what was left of the evening (I forgot how early the sun sets this time of year - 4:30pm! - hey Turkey how about some daylight savings time). I'll be in Turkey 3+ weeks this time. More sleep and more to come.
I had the great privilege to collaborate with chef and restaurateur Roberto Santibanez and writer J.J.Goode as we ate our way across Mexico City for the New York Times. Roberto brings so much depth and knowledge that I almost forgot to take photos. All I can say is that he is just an incredible guy. I can't wait to eat at both Fonda restaurants next time I'm back in the States. This is the second time I've worked with JJ (we collaborated on this piece for the NYT's) and as before, a real joy. A big thanks for making my first trip to Ciudad de Mexico an incredible experience.
A few out takes from my shoot and some found audio courtesy of a street musician in the idyllic neighborhood of Coyoacan. Enjoy!
Technorati Tags: Cayaocan, food, J.J. Goode, market, Merced Market, Mexico, Mexico City, New York Times, photography, Roberto Santibanez, street food, street musicians, tacos, tamales. mexican food, tortas, tortillas, travel
I've had a long fascination with Chow Kit and (as many of you know) markets in general so this assignment was a real treat. But Chow Kit is special. To me it represents the promise of a multi-cultural Malaysia where Malay, Chinese and Indians come together with food being the element that binds. It's also a look into Malaysia's possible future where traditions - like a producer of tofu working in his family's 30 year old shop or a seller of kampung lemons (who now sells as much online as in his Chow kit shop) that work side by side with new immigrants from Africa and Indonesia. I'm not saying it is one big happy family but it is an interesting barometer for where the country could be going. This is one place I've got bookmarked for future visits.
In early 2010 I made a trip to Sichuan province and took a quick side trip to Chong Qing. The trip was really more to explore Chong Qing's food scene; it was after photographing a noodle dish that I stumbled into the riverside neighbohood of Yu Zhong.
Red banners strung across lanes and across shopfronts and homes and the Chinese character for "demolish" painted on buildings -- sights I became familiar with as a resident of Shanghai during the late nineties, an intense period of reconstruction there -- announced that the neighborhood was slated for demolition. Wandering its alleys I found buildings dating back to the late Qing dynasty -- the port of Chongqing's first post office, for instance -- and incredibly, amidst the destruction that had already begun, signs of life.
I spent the next day and half photographing Yu Zhong -- its historic buildings and its remaining residents. The neighborhood was rundown and, no doubt, many Yu Zhong dwellers welcomed their impending relocation to new high-rise apartments on the outskirts of the city.
Yet others expressed doubts and fears. Many, with only days remaining until their relocation, still had no idea where they would be sent. Some were angry that the compensation they would receive from the Chongqing government was inadequate to move both themselves, their families, and their household goods to their new homes. Others were unhappy about the hour and a half, or two-hour commute that would be required for them to get back into the city to jobs near where they'd lived. One elderly woman, a doctor of herbal medicine who'd been treating patients from her Yu Zhong shop for more than several decades, expressed quiet resignation. She wouldn't reopen her business from her new home (yet undetermined), she said. "I'm too old to start over."
During my last afternoon in the neighborhood I met two Chongqing university students wandering around taking photographs. Taking pictures of old buildings, especially in a neighborhood as rundown as Yu Zhong, is not something you see a lot of young people in China doing. Why were they there, I asked. "We don't know it now, but I think in twenty or fifty years we feel regret for this," one told me.
Yu Zhong's redevelopment was just one part of ex-Chongqing chief Bo Xilai's grand makeover of the city. When I took these photographs no one could have predicted the events that have since unfolded there. But all of the residents of Yu Zhong knew they were nothing more than bit players in their city's, and China's, massive redevelopment.
I view this collection of photos as Part One of a complicated story. I have wanted to make a trip back to Chongqing to track down a few of the residents I met in Yu Zhong. Unfortunately, to date neither the timing (nor the funding) has not worked out.
Please click on "captions" for detailed explanations of the photographs.
I'm editing a series of assignments from a recent trip to Siem Reap. As is always the case, some pics just don't fit in the final sort. Here are a few from the photo grab bag.
We took a 3.5 hour detour from a series of assignments in Siem Reap, Cambodia to check out the temple of Preah Vihear. The Dângrêk Mountains , where the temple is located is often shrouded in fog. Our early morning visit was no exception and seemed to act as a kind of repellant for tourists. By mid-morning as the fog burned off a flock of tourists arrived. I can't really say I minded the fog or having the place almost entirely to ourselves.
Recently back from a week-long assignment in Mexico City.
I arrived (less my luggage, which didn't make the flight with me) in Mexico City at 1am, exhausted after a 30-hour trip from Bangkok, where I had to spend the night after flying out of Penang. I filled out the lost luggage report and found a taxi outside the by-now deserted airport, wondering if in the morning someone would be filling out a "lost" report on me. But the drive to the hotel was uneventful -- though I couldn't help but notice the flashing police lights all over the city. (I later learned that in Mexico City the police park their cars and leave their lights on, broadcasting their location as both a deterrent to crime and an aid to anyone who might need their assistance.)
Out on the streets the next morning I found a different reality - that Mexico City is a truly beautiful city. Bonus: its residents are some of the friendliest folks I've ever met.
I met J and his puppy Lil' Scooby on a minibus. He got on after I did, and when a seat near him opened up I moved over and asked if I could take their photo. He spoke some English, a really personable young guy. Lil' Scooby's a pit bull, and I was a little concerned that he might be a future fight dog; I know that, as with cocks, if you want to fight a dog you need to handle it alot while it's young. When I emailed the photos to J I expressed the hope that he'd take good care of his puppy. He responded right away, assuring me that he would.
Oh yeah -- I ate pretty well that week too.
Quesadilla with fresh squash blossoms and habanero salsa at Mercado Merced.
I just loved this city and it's people, and I can't wait to go back. I need to hold back most of the photos I made that week till after article I shot is published -- but I hope these images give you an idea why.
It nice to open the morning email and find an assignment waiting. It's even nicer when said assignment is on Bali.The fruits of my labor from this trip. can be found here.
The good news for those of you looking to find a Christmas or birthday gift for that special someone (or hell, ME): it's for sale!
Unfortunately it was a quick trip (1.5 days shooting with flights on both ends) but I did manage to peel away on the final morning for a brief look around. I mean come on - it's Bali and I was 15 minutes from the beach!