I recently spent a week in Bali on a family holiday and made sure I found the time to explore the streets with my Yashica 35. I imagined that the narrow streets, crowded with people and life would provide unlimited opportunities for photography, however I quickly realised that I was getting nowhere with my shots. Even though I was shooting film and could not be sure what the images would be like I instinctively knew that they were going to be disappointing. As the week went by I continued shooting at every opportunity as we travelled around to new places but continued to feel like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I think photography provides a great excuse to wander the streets and soak in the atmosphere, which at least I was enjoying.
After a few days, I started to notice details about the streets around our villa, places that I walked past everyday that started to interest me. There was a local fresh produce market next door and at the right time in the morning the light was vibrant and matched by the activity of locals streaming in and out on their motor scooters. I started going there first thing to take some photos and felt that finally I was enjoying taking some shots and could see compositions that I wanted to capture on film. Finally I was getting somewhere. And in the afternoon, around dusk, I found an unassuming street corner, about 50 meters from our villa where the light caught the faces of locals as they passed by on their motor scooters that I found captivating – I shot 3 films in that one place over a couple of days, and enjoyed every shot.
Most of my photography at home follows familiar patterns and places, places that I know intimately, how the light falls, perspectives that work well and compositions that always interest me. Although travelling to new places is exciting, I guess that at least for me, a certain familiarity is required, perhaps a certain respect for a place before I feel comfortable with the camera.
So here are a selection of shots, all taken in the last couple of days of our trip, of some familiar places discovered in Bali.
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Bali in b&w
Bali in Colour