I’m trying hard to capture the moment, but then maybe that’s the problem.
It’s different though, Bali. On my last trip – Highway 1 and Big Sur – I just let nature do the talking. Even an average shot and there was something about it to show off – a vast cliff face, a winding road, a hazy sunset.
Here though, in Ubud and its surrounding villages, it’s crazy. Total madness, nearly all the time and to get those amazing shots, you really have to work. You have to walk with the viewfinder held to your eye, waiting for that perfect moment, hoping not to trip. You have to pick out the small, beautiful details in amongst all the muck and make it work for you, manipulating the angle and the sun and the temperamental rain so that you can tell even the smallest part of the story of a gorgeous, overcrowded little island fuelled by tourism and all that it brings.
And despite it all, the hazardous walks, the careful framing, the hurriedly focussed snaps as you realise a moment is about to pass you by, you understand that these photos may not even turn out. Because it’s on film. It’s slow photography. There is no instant gratification or second chance. So you risk it to capture the feeling or the moment or the scene – whatever emotion caught your naked eye – eagerly awaiting the satisfying clunk of the shutter, and then, you put the camera away.
You make sure to absorb it all in real life, in part because the film could be scratched or blank or overexposed or underexposed or totally out of focus, but mostly because in the end, the real life experiences are what it’s all about. The tactile, physical act of being in a place, allowing it to seep into your bones and etch itself into your skin.
Pentax K1000 | Kodak Portra 160 & Kodak Ektar 100
Locations of note:
1. Seniman Coffee, Ubud
2. Ubud Public Market
[Updated 25 July 2017]