Tag Archives: Photography

Throughout Southeast Asia, it’s time for Buddhist New Year–arguably the region’s most important celebration.

902697_10151491715118463_945129724_oCalled “Songkran” here in Thailand, the festivals of neighboring Laos (“Pii Mai”), Myanmar (“Thingyan”), and Cambodia (“Chaul Chnam Thmey”) have their own variations. One aspect is essentially the same, however: A nationwide water fight which lasts for days.

The water offers symbolic cleansing: A washing away of regrets and bad acts and a fresh start for the year ahead. I think it’s a beautiful idea, and I’ll do my best to remember that as I dart furtively between destinations over the next few days, hoping that my electronics aren’t subjected to an early cleansing from my life by some well-meaning merrymaker.

Amidst all the splashing, though, it’s important to remember that Songkran is a spiritual holiday and the local Buddhist temples are at its core. Even in this era of rapid cultural change and urbanization within Southeast Asia, New Year ceremonies at temples still draw the faithful.

These “wats” (as they’re known throughout the region) often feel inseparable from neighborhoods which have grown up around them. They seem woven into the tapestry of daily life, creating a way of being which–without making a fuss about it–effortlessly combines the modern and the ancient. It’s one of my favorite aspects of Southeast Asian culture and, based on what I see on Instagram, a favorite for many travelers as well.

Share Your Photos of Southeast Asian Temples

File Apr 12, 9 44 36 PM
Let’s celebrate the New Year together! Share your own images of Southeast Asian temples and temple life on Instagram with a hashtag of #ShotsOfWats. I’ll repost your best photos all week long.

To see the collection as it grows, visit the “Shots of Wats” website. ((Yes, I made a special website just for all your shots of wats. Why not…))

This article originally appeared at Veritrope.com

An old woman walks 1km to buy pain medicine.

Young Lao Photographers Document Their World With Donated Cameras

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been three months since I visited Luang Prabang, Laos to work alongside the dedicated people who run The Language Project. Fanny Odermatt, a Swiss volunteer at Language Project’s @ My Library center sent me a message yesterday with a brief update on one of their projects: The Young Lao Photographer’s Gallery. If you’re in need of a bit of “virtual traveling” (or if you participated in the Help In Your Own Way Giveaway), I thought this would be a nice middle-of-the-week treat for you! Students use donated cameras to document their daily lives and, in image after image, you can see both the beauty and the challenges of life in the Lao Republic. Soon, you’ll be able to buy these images directly from the website and the proceeds will be shared by the library and the photographers. As part of the run-up to a book project called “Laos Through Our Own Eyes”, the @My Library center has also sponsored a Portrait Contest for its students. There are some really lovely, affecting shots here — especially remarkable given how young these photographers are. While you’re there, be sure to check out the other galleries as well!

This is a link post – You can visit the site mentioned by clicking the main link above (or just click here).