Desert Warrior

Each year in October/November for around a week, the tiny holy village of Pushkar, in Rajasthan, India, is swamped with several hundred thousand visitors. Camel herders, pilgrims, acrobats, touts, nomads, tourists, both Indian and foreign, all flock to Pushkar for the annual Camel Fair. While camel traders haggle on the trading field, children walk makeshift tightropes as their parents play instruments and crowds gather to watch. The whole scene is incredible.

I met this man on the trading field, on one of the first mornings of the fair. I was out there early – around 6am, for sunrise, thinking that I’d get out there before the crowds, and I was partially correct – I beat everyone, except the other photographers! I’ve never seen so many other photographers, many with two or three big cameras and huge lenses hanging around their necks. My 5d2 and 135L looked small in comparison (but it isn’t the size that counts, right???).

This man was just waiting with his camels on the trading field. I believe he, like many of the other traders, is basically a nomad, with no fixed home, although he may have certain villages that he stays at during the year. I was drawn to him because of this incredible facial expression, which didn’t change at all the whole time we interacted. He looked weather-worn, sun-baked, but also proud and strong – like a desert warrior.

Thomas Stewart  |  International Wedding Photographer, Sydney

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Hand of a Peanut Seller

hand of a peanut seller in kathmandu, nepal

Portrait of a Hand

Ok, so this isn’t your normal portrait. But I think this hand has the same lines, character, and stories to tell as the thousands of faces I’ve photographed during my travels around the world.

I was wandering through Kathmandu. the city is truly an amazing place to just wander, and soak up the incredible atmosphere. I’m usually on the lookout for interesting faces to photograph, and there is no shortage of these in Nepal. I distinctly recall on this day that I paused for a moment at an intersection on one of Kathmandu’s tiny streets, looked down, and saw a woman sitting at her stall selling peanuts. She was smoking, watching people pass by, with a distant look in her eyes. She had smoked her cigarette down to a point where I could hardly see it – the only evidence was a small trail of smoke curling out from her fingers.

I managed to snap one quick frame before the Kathmandu footpath traffic surged forward, taking it with me. I often look at this shot and wonder how old this woman was.. what she’s been through in life.. how much money she makes by selling her peanuts on the side of the road? (is this an overly Western question to ask – how much money she makes? Does it even matter, if she has enough to live on?)

Even though this is a portait, I never even saw this woman’s face.

Wedding Photographers WollongongThomas Stewart

Portrait of the Day – Lakeside

man with traditional nepalese hat kneeling at lakeside in pokhara, nepal

Lakeside

A portrait from lakeside in Pokhara, Nepal. This guy was crouched down chatting with another guy at the edge of the main lake in Pokhara. I’ve realised that many of my portraits are from Pokhara. It seems that the place was either full of people who were interesting and willing to be photographed, or that it somehow inspired me to push myself further than normal to shoot more portraits. Not sure which it was but both are good things.

Not much to type tonight – Sunday night and I’m quite tired. More tomorrow 🙂

Wollongong & Bowral Wedding Photographer, Thomas Stewart

Portrait of the Day – Panamanian Rasta

rasta man in panama city, panama

Panamanian Rasta, Mon

I was quite surprised at the number of Rastas in Panama, particularly Panama City. I don’t mean rastas as in just people with dreads, I mean real Rastafarians, who not only sport dreadlocks but also adhere to the religion’s code of ethics and interesting practices. To be honest I can’t remember this guy’s name, but I do recall he was working in a street market in Panama City, selling hand-made bracelets and other things like hats and reggae mix-cds. I bought a little hemp bracelet from him and we had a chat. I wanted to take his photo from the moment I saw him but I could also tell from the start that he was a little cagey and didn’t seem too open to chat with a big strange white guy with a huge camera. After a while he loosened up and let me shoot this one frame of him.

His girlfriend (also Rastafarian) gave me her email address and asked that I email her the photo, which I did. We’re now friends on Facebook too 🙂

I love how being into photography, and wanting to take people’s photos, can be used as an ice-breaker for me to meet people while traveling. Maybe other people find it easy to just start talking to random strangers while traveling; I do find it easy, to an extent. But with the purpose of taking their photo, I find it a little easier to just start a discussion with a random stranger.

Thomas Stewart Photography – Wollongong’s Best Wedding Photographer

Portrait of the Day – Cutest Peruvian girl I saw

young peruvian girl with cute hat

Super cute

I met her in the awesome market in Pisac, in Peru’s sacred valley. Pisac is a town full of ruins and interesting Incan history; indeed the market itself has been running every week for quite some time. You can find the usual things like handicrafts, scarfs, jackets, bracelets, rings, mugs, hammocks, etc. I’d been to quite a few big markets on my trip (including the massive market in Otavalo, Ecuador) but I still enjoyed this market very much.

I didn’t feel like hiking around the town so, as I often do while traveling, I decided to wander the market, and I set myself a target of 10 portraits for the next few hours. I find that setting photographic goals such as this one greatly improve my chances of getting some good shots. Personally I get better shots this way than wandering aimlessly for the day, shooting what I see… this may work for others: to each their own!

This girl was just standing in one of the tiny alleys which make up the market, eating her bread. If you’re wondering – the native Peruvian people (those who are direct descendants of the mighty Incas) actually do dress like this on a day to day basis. This girl isn’t wearing festive or celebratory clothing; this is just how she leaves her house each day. I think this is fantastic. I’ve said in another of my posts that sometimes when I meet people traveling, I can look into their eyes and almost see a glimpse of generations past in their features. Looking at this girl I felt exactly that. Her features weren’t as typically Incan as other people I photographed in Peru, but there was something about her eyes which was quite mesmerising.

She was not camera shy at all and let me shoot 5 or 6 frames, which I then showed her mother who was standing nearby. A wonderful experience for me and one of my fav portraits from the last year or so.

Thomas Stewart, Bowral Wedding Photographer, Wollongong Wedding Photographer

Portrait of the Day – Out for a stroll

man walking in back streets of pokhara, nepal

Our for a Stroll

Another one from Pokhara, Nepal. Met this nice man while walking in the back streets of Pokhara. We shook hands, I took his picture, we shook hands again then parted ways. Not sure if I had had enough coffee yet that morning so we didn’t end up talking too much. But I still remember him! He was a nice guy.

Wedding Photographer in Wollongong, Thomas Stewart