Posts Tagged ‘thailand’

#MoTorCyCle MaDneSS (05)

February 3rd, 2017

Me and my camera taking pictures of truckloads of motorbikes in SE Asia

To see the full gallery MoTorCyCleMaDneSS please click here

I got slightly obsessed with the motorcycle culture in SE Asia and it really became the focal point of my photography over there…

In Bangkok, as I mentioned before, motorbikes are really the only solution to get around the diabolical traffic. The main reason it has got so bad is the population has prospered creating much more car ownership which has glutted up the roads. It might be more pleasant to drive around in air conditioned SUVS but they have almost brought the city to a standstill. Although there are still tons of motorbikes everywhere and when they all line up at the traffic lights they look like giant motorcycle gangs are going to take over the city.

In Hanoi in Vietnam, where I took a lot of the photographs in this gallery, motorbikes & scooters are still very much the dominant form of transport and every street is chockablock with them. What is mind blowing to witness is that nobody pays any attention to anything. They do not stop at red lights, they do not stop if pedestrians are walking across, they do not stick to any particular side of the road and incredibly no-one crashes into one another. There is also not a single instance of road rage. Angry London drivers please take note…

Despite the seeming carnage, everyone moves in vague unison at roughly the same speed and just weave around each other & miraculously it works. It was seriously scary crossing the road but our friend Nat who had been there before advised us that the way to do it is just to keep walking at a steady pace and not to hesitate even when motorbikes are swishing past you left, right and centre. They will work around you he said, and they did. It was crazy.

I was also drawn to photograph this 2 wheeled frenzy because it felt like some sort of impending future reality. There will come a time in the not too distant when cars just won’t be practical anymore. Gridlock is becoming a regular occurrance in most cities around the world and it feels like it we are fast approaching the end of the road (bad pun for a bad situation)

As is so often the case with the modern world, progress is not always progress and 4 wheels are now the problem and two wheels might just be the solution. Cities like Bangkok & Ho Chi Min City perfectly demonstrate the overwhelming and unsustainable increase in the populations of the major cities around the world. The problem is  there are just too many of us and the slender motorbike & its ability to slip through the gaps in the gridlock shows just how we trapped we have become by relentless growth.

Add in the damaging, catastrophic impact of unrestrained use of fossil fuels and we might find the car becomes an impossible form of transport. Even if everyone went electric, over-population will eventually render cars unworkable  in the mega cities of the planet. So could motorbikes and their eco friendly versions the bicycle & the electric bike be the way of the future?

To end on a slightly more frivolous,less doom & gloom end of the world we’re all going to die observation is that everyone looks cooler on motorbikes than they would on any other form of transport. Doesn’t matter if you are old, young, hip or not, you will definitely look better. In Hanoi especially, everyone was kind of dressed like 60s French Mods so they all looked super fucking cool bombing around although capturing their finesse is a little bit tricky as they are mostly in motion.

The downside, as I discovered, to taking pictures of things on the move is that most of the time they are moving faster than my camera could focus which is fine as you long as you are willing to embrace the blur. For me this is never a problem. I like fuzzy. Fuzzy seems more like reality to me than pinpoint sharp high def but that is possibly just my eternal state of mind or maybe my failing eyesight. Proabably both.

Hope you enjoyed the last few weeks chronicling of  SE Asia, next week, I will be back on the streets of London..tally ho!

#MoTorCyCle MaDneSS (02)

January 31st, 2017

Me and my camera taking pictures of truckloads of motorbikes in SE Asia

#MoTorCyCle MaDneSS (01)

January 30th, 2017

Me and my camera taking pictures of truckloads of motorbikes in SE Asia

#MYBKKNites (02)

January 24th, 2017

Me and my camera in someone else’s home town, my SE Asia trip, my Bangkok nites.

MYBKKnites 02

Found a portal into another dimension down a backstreet in Bangkok which surprisingly wasn’t in any of the guides. I can’t really say too much about it or where it was as I  don’t want it to be overrun with tourists.


January 20th, 2017

Me and my camera in someone else’s home town, my SE Asia trip, my Bangkok


Bangkok is kinda insane. A giant sprawling relentless metropolis chock full of buildings, people and vehicles. It reminded me more of fictitious futuristic cities like Mega City 1 where Judge Dredd lives or an Asian Gotham.  It makes London seem quiet and tame by comparison which is nuts in itself. Although the population seems more concentrated than London, it feels like it runs smoother, more in unison, more like a functional ant colony. There seems to be a more collective understanding with everyone moves at same pace in steady flows rather than here where everyone marches around at their own pace, darting about, pushing people out of the way as they fight for space. For example, despite a chronic traffic problem, there is almost zero road rage.

It is very hot and very busy and I found it slightly overwhelming when I first arrived. I was actually photographically paralysed for the first few days I was there and barely took my camera out as everywhere I looked there was something that I felt I should be documenting but somehow couldn’t. There was just too much to focus on and I didn’t know where to start. So I just tried to soak it all in and get a handle on the place.

I also felt that a lot of what I wanted to capture had already been covered by other photographers who’s feed I had seen on Instagram. I  follow a lot of street photographers from all over the world and felt, in some ways, I had already seen a lot of what I was looking at. So I felt I really wanted to hold back, not just to snap away at every turn but to think about this new alien culture I was in and to try and get an understanding of what I was surrounded by before attempting to document it.

What does strike you immediately is how friendly and warm and smiley the Thai people are. Mostly. Obviously. But they are genuinely fucking lovely. Here’s a question for you…if you make a negative generalisation about people it is considered racist but what if you make a positive generalisation about a country’s population? Is that ok? Is that reverse racism? Is there a word for that? Positivism? Proracist? (answers on a postcard)

e.g.: “I love the blah blah people” “Oh my god,  you’re such a positivist! Its 2017, you can’t say things like that anymore. Its respectful!”

Anyway, food for thought. Actually I should mention that the food is also spectacular. Everything we ate was delicious and every dish was like a little taste sensation firework display went off in your mouth.

What also I worked out about Bangkok it that it is a city that visually comes alive at night. It is also manageably easier to get around as it is essentially too hot with too poor air quality to walk around in the daytime. This is also slightly true of the nighttime but comparatively better. Next week’s photos will cover this nocturnal side so stay tuned for MYBKKnites..coming up!