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Photo critique Here is where you can display your images and seek the comment, advice and, maybe, constructive critique of your work. Only post your images here if you are happy for frank feedback. If in doubt, use the beginners board instead. Only post your comments here if you feel you can make a constructive and polite contribution in response to what is, for some, a leap of faith in exposing their work to your critical comment.

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  #1  
Old 10-07-07
Kees5 Kees5 is offline
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Ethnic Diversity in NW Laos

Hi,

iam am a new member to this site, dutch born New Zealander, now living in Laos since 2004.
i have spent the past five years documenting enthic diversity and lifestyles in Luang Namtha province in NorthWest Laos.
working here makes it sometimes difficult to get feedback, i cannot go to my local 'photoclub', so I am asking peopel here for feedback on what i have put online so far. i will post some of my pictures on this board, and also invite members to visit my site:
http://kees.zenfolio.com

I look forward to reading more about the photographers represented here.

Kees
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DSC00320p.JPG   DSC05767s.jpg   IMG_7855.JPG   DSC09790.JPG   _MG_0840.JPG  

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Old 10-07-07
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Re: Ethnic Diversity in NW Laos

Hi Kees5,
Impressive set of pictures including those on your site. Amazing that you took over 80K shots in 4 years! I myself do not take people's pictures very often now but once did so intentionally while I lived in a neighboring country of Laos for a few years, as I realized the facial expressions were so nice and vivid - especially children. Elderly people were also nice. Your pictures reminds me of a minority people called iirc Mon (?) there.

It's always a good idea to deliver a hard copy to those models whenever possible, as you pointed out in your site. If possible, hopefully, you take pictures of some of those people periodically and repeatedly - say annually or 3-5 year interval or a decade later, a few decades later. It looks to me another way of keeping the records of changes - not only changes in the society as a whole but also changes in same people (not only apperearance changes but in various meanings) - It would be more than keeping records. Those sets of pictures will surely tell some stories by themselves many years later. For this particular purpose, it might be a bit better to show more background in some photos IMHO. Thanks for sharing inspiring photos. I believe you've got a job highly worth challenging!
yoshi
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Old 10-07-07
Kees5 Kees5 is offline
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Re: Ethnic Diversity in NW Laos

Quote:
Originally Posted by yoshi View Post
Hi Kees5,
For this particular purpose, it might be a bit better to show more background in some photos IMHO. Thanks for sharing inspiring photos. I believe you've got a job highly worth challenging!
yoshi
thank you Yoshi,

Many pix have more background, many have interiors with no people in it, outside shots with no people. for website display, I choose people shots, attracting more attention.

Thank you for your feedback. It is a challenging job! But I love it.

Kees

http://kees.zenfolio.com/
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Old 10-07-07
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Re: Ethnic Diversity in NW Laos

A fascinating gallery giving an excellent insight of the way the villagers live.
The brief, but detailed, notes accompanying each shot are well written.

I cofess I haven't viewed the entire gallery but was very impressed with what I did see.
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Old 10-07-07
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Re: Ethnic Diversity in NW Laos

I like all these shots but the exposure on the 3rd one (living quarters) make it a sure winner for me.
The portraits on your site are beautiful.
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Old 10-07-07
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Re: Ethnic Diversity in NW Laos

Wonderful photographs Kees5.

I had a look at your website and started to read about your project, but like Pops have not got the time atm to view everything.

We went to Thailand and called in Laos. I still go back to my pictures of that holiday. We also went to Sri Lanka and the photos I took there are also amongst my favourites.

Here is one from Laos.
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Old 11-07-07
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Re: Ethnic Diversity in NW Laos

Got to agree with Tom re the 3rd photograph.
I can't get over those fires...a wooden floor and all that inflammable window material makes it risky to say the least.
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Old 11-07-07
Kees5 Kees5 is offline
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Re: Ethnic Diversity in NW Laos

Thank you, I am very pleased to hear that, because it is one of my favourites. It was shot during a Tao ceremony, to initiate some young men as priests. These ceremonies can take three days, and are accompanied by lots of food. A few pigs are slaughtered, huge amonts of rice cooked. I was lucky finding a moment with no one in the picture, because most of that day, it was pretty crowded inside.
The exposure is a credit to the 5D. I underexposed the shot by one stop, to avoid blowing out the highlights, then tweaked it in Raw. sometimes it is just a matter of being in the right time right place, and noticing.
It is however very hard to print right. I don't have my own printer here (Dye inkjets don't like the dust/heat/humidity and die, pigment printers either aren't available like other places, or if they are, very expensive and no guarantee of service. So i have to take my stuff to be printed in Bangkok, and have great trouble getting it done the way i want.

I am also very pleased with your comments on portraits. It is the least visited folder on my site, and yet I probably shoot more portraits there then anything else, people want them, and I cannot resist the dark eyes, and the openess.
I feel privileged having these opportunities.
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Old 11-07-07
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Re: Ethnic Diversity in NW Laos

The hearth is built into the floor, and usually made of clay. In all fairness, they have been living like this for centuries, and probably have there system under control. Having said that, most villages have their rice stored in separate store-houses, away from the main house, sometimes even away from the village. If your house does burn down, you can build another, if your rice gets burned, you die of starvation.
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Old 13-07-07
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Re: Ethnic Diversity in NW Laos

Hi Kees - welcome to DPNow! I wasn't so far away from Laos a few months ago when I visited north eastern Thailand , including the border with Cambodia on the Mekong river, but it's relatively westernised there. Your pictures show a much less western-affected culture. I think we need to document these cultures through photography and other means because they are under increasing threat from all sorts of new influences.

Ian
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Old 15-07-07
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Re: Ethnic Diversity in NW Laos

Thanks, Ian.
I initially hesitated about putting these pictures on the net, for two reasons:
1. Issues of informed consent about permission to publish their portrait where millions can see them.
2. Issues of if publishing them where many can see them increases tourism flow to that place, will it increase 'westernisation and diluting of culture/

I have no definite answers, except that most villages I have been to are desparately poor, have conferred with the Unesco sponsored Lao ecotourism project, and have willingly accepted an ecotourism strategy to help them get out of poverty, e.g. responsible well managed tourism can give them an opportunity to increase there wellbeing, the health standard of theri peopel and children, nutrition, education etc.

i still worry about dilution of culture, but who am I to refuse people the right to improve their living standards just because i might prefer them to continue living in a 'authentic condition', for me as affluent western vistitor to come and observe?

Hard questions.

Comments welcome. Any reference to other relevant discusson media also relevant ( e.g. is tere any specific board, maybe not photography, which is more appropriate to discuss this question/

Cheers,

Kees

http://kees.zenfolio.com
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Old 15-07-07
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Re: Ethnic Diversity in NW Laos

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kees5 View Post
Thanks, Ian.
I initially hesitated about putting these pictures on the net, for two reasons:
1. Issues of informed consent about permission to publish their portrait where millions can see them.
2. Issues of if publishing them where many can see them increases tourism flow to that place, will it increase 'westernisation and diluting of culture/

I have no definite answers, except that most villages I have been to are desparately poor, have conferred with the Unesco sponsored Lao ecotourism project, and have willingly accepted an ecotourism strategy to help them get out of poverty, e.g. responsible well managed tourism can give them an opportunity to increase there wellbeing, the health standard of theri peopel and children, nutrition, education etc.

i still worry about dilution of culture, but who am I to refuse people the right to improve their living standards just because i might prefer them to continue living in a 'authentic condition', for me as affluent western vistitor to come and observe?

Hard questions.

Comments welcome. Any reference to other relevant discusson media also relevant ( e.g. is tere any specific board, maybe not photography, which is more appropriate to discuss this question/

Cheers,

Kees

http://kees.zenfolio.com
You highlight a very difficult issue. Happiness and contentment is relative. For all our relative riches, are we as happy and content with our lives as many tribal peoples from under-developed countries? Naturally, health and comfort are basic issues which we all strive to guarantee and I can't believe anyone would wish to prevent such basic rights to be barred from people like these.

I remember going on holiday to The Gambia in West Africa in 1987 and at the small airport in the capital, Banjul, locals were being earning £1 coins for acting as porters between the airport exit and buses to the hotels. This was something like what the rest of the population was earning in a week or a month, but for the airport opportunists, they were earning 5-10 times that a day, though still a pittance by our standards. Imaging the distortion to the local economy? This experience has bothered my throughout the last 20 years.

Ian
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