Happy New Year 2011

Wishing you all a new year with peace of mind, full of love, happiness that multiplies, fun around every corner, prosperity through your year, health to you, full of energy to chase your dream, and joy to fill your 2011!!! Cheers***
xoxo Hanh :-)

ps: Honolulu's fireworks. The pictures are from google.

End Of Year Photograph

Photo © Muhammed Muheisen/AP
This is my 2116th post since I started The Travel Photographer blog, and with it I'd like to close 2010 with this lovely photograph by the very talented Muhammed Muheisen.

It appeared on the LENS blog of the New York Times a few days ago, and it shows three young refugee girls; two from Afghanistan and the third from Pakistan, attending a Qur'an class in a mosque in Islamabad. You may want to click on it to enlarge it.

The expression of the cute middle one is just sublime...especially that her cloth prayer book is upside down. Not very attentive are we now? And the "I Love NY" hoodie worn by the third girl kept a smile on my face for a while.

I hope it does the same to my readers.

Till next year!

The 1000th Google Follower

Photo © Haleh Bryan-All Rights Reserved
I was glad to see my Google followers have reached the 1000th mark yesterday, auguring well for The Travel Photographer's blog in 2011.

The 1000th Google Follower is Haleh Bryan who publishes her own blog Haleh Bryan Photography which showcases her talented personal work. Apart from her art photography, she has a gallery of Egypt which the above image is from.

Four Photographers Document Cockfights

Here's a feature which groups individual photo essays of cockfighting by four photographers. I thought of grouping these essays, and also mention my own. Two of the cockfights occur in the Philippines, one in Haiti and the fourth occurs in Bali.

Photo © Julie Batula-All Rights Reserved
The first photo essay is Julie Batula's One Way Out; a photo essay of black & white photographs of cockfighting or sabong as it's called in the Philippines, where it's one of the oldest and most popular sports.

As Julie says: "Roosters continue fighting because they cannot escape, regardless of how exhausted or injured they become. It is a routine where they are forced to fight or die, and where death is the only way out."

Julie Batula is a Manila-based artist and documentary photographer, who is influenced by the works of Sally Mann and Nan Goldin.

Photo © Mitchell Kanashkevich-All Rights Reserved
The second photo essay (it's more of a multi-photo blog post) is by one of my favorite travel photographers: Mitchell Kanashkevich. He tells us he was riding a motorcycle to the city of Dumaguette in the Philippines and came by an area where cockfights were from morning till midnight everyday for a few days.

Mitchell Kanashkevich is a travel/documentary photographer, and is represented by Getty Images. He's been featured on this blog a number of times.

Photo © Swoan Parker-All Rights Reserved
The third photo essay is by Swoan Parker who features a 16 color photographs in a photo essay titled "Place Your Bets" of cockfights in Haiti.

Swoan Parker is a freelance photojournalist based in New York City available for global assignment. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, TIME, and National Geographic Traveler among others.

The final photo essay is mine, and is titled Tajen. It was photographed on the island of Bali last August.

Cafe 1511 at Heeren Street (Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock) of Malacca

Cafe 1511 (N2 11.736 E102 14.784) is located at Hereen Street (Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock) next to the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum in Malacca. It's just a street next to Jonker Street.

The Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum & Cafe 1511

They serve Nyonya Delicacies and Western Food. The Peranakan Decoration is nice and cozy, we felt like walk into a Time Machine...

The front dining area

The second hall after the dining area

The Counter

There was a nice fish pond beside the counter, and the antique bicycles...

The Fish Pond & the Antique Bicycle

Anyway, the cafe also A Museum to us. Full of antiques, and histories...

Mixed with the antique table and today computer...

Malacca was conquered by Portuguese - Afonso de Albuquerque with 1200 men and eighteen ships in the year 1511, maybe this is the reason the owner use 1511 for his cafe! :)

This was a Totally different dining experience for us! Awesome! Having our tea break in the Museum! Great! Even we were quite hungry that time, but we don't wanna filled up our stomach yet...because we planned our dinner at the Portuguese Seafood Village at Portuguese Settlement.

Our purpose here is to taste some of the Nyonya foods here so I ordered a plate of Nyonya Popiah, Pai Tee and the Nyonya Laksa.

Nyonya Popiah

Pai Tee (Top Hats)

Nyonya Laksa

We were very satisfied with all the Excellent foods! I like the Nyonya Popiah very much especially the dark sweet sauce! The Pai Tee were crunchy and tasty, the Nyonya Laksa was flavourful! We enjoyed the foods and the environment Very much! Definitely need a second visit! :)

The Damage : MYR18.50 included a cup of Tea & watermelon juice. It's reasonable price!

Rated : 4.5/5

Highly recommended Cafe, it's worth the visit!
We planned to visit the cafe again  for dinner and also the Museum.

Cafe 1511
52, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock,
75200 Melaka,
Tel : +606-2860150

The location map of Cafe 1511 of Malacca

Katharina Hesse: Human Negotiations (& Interview)

Katharina Hesse is a photographer who currently works in China and Asia, and has been based in Beijing for the past 17 years. She graduated in Chinese and Japanese studies from the Institut National des Langues et Civilizations Orientales (INALCO) in Paris.

She has recently uploaded some of her gripping photographs of Bangkok's sex industry unto a 6 minutes-movie which she titled Human Negotiations (above), and during which she also talks about her project in a Skype-interview with Elisabetta Tripodi, and which appeared on the blog e-photoreview.

Human Negotiations is an experimental two-year collaboration between Katharina and writer Lara Day, using images and text to explore the lives of a community of Bangkok sex workers. I cannot begin to fathom how Katharina managed to gain the trust and confidence of her subjects to such a degree...and she says as such in her interview, and that the most important task in her project was to gain the trust of the sex workers and their clients. All serious photographers agree with her advice, since only full and complete mutual trust gained over months and months can make such intimate projects possible.

Katharina's has an impressive background. Not only is she a self-taught photographer (always a huge plus for me), but she initially worked as an assistant for German TV (ZDF) and then freelanced for Newsweek from 1996 to 2002. In 2003 and 2004 she covered China for Getty’s news service. Her images were featured in numerous publications such as Courrier International, Der Spiegel, D della Repubblica, EYEmazing, Zeit Magazin, Glamour (Germany), IO Donna, Die Zeit, Marie-Claire, Le Monde, Le Monde Diplomatique, Neon, Newsweek, 100Eyes.org , Reporters without borders(yearbook 2010, Germany), Stern, Time Asia, Vanity Fair (Italy/Germany), and Wired (Italy) among others.

Katharina's photographs of Xinjiang, Kashgar and Urumqi are probably the best I've seen of that region....so go to her website after you watch the above movie.

Hallmark Hotel at Malacca (Melaka)

Hallmark Hotel (N2 12.002 E102 14.808) is located along Jalan Portugis of Jalan Kubu main road in Malacca Town. And it's also stone throw away (about 300 meter) to Jonker Street. There are many nice restaurants around the area. This was our first visit to Hallmark Hotel.

Hallmark Hotel, Malacca

I made the reservation before we drove to Malacca. The standard room rates was MYR105.00 for 2 single beds (with 2 breakfast), the twin bed was fully booked that day.

We were quite impressed with the facilities in the room. Beside the necessities, they also provide Free Wifi to the room and A DVD player with the 32" LCD TV. This was the first time I saw a DVD player in the hotel room! But we didn't utilized it and we were not intend to spend the time in the hotel for movie?!

The LCD TV, DVD Player & the Mini Fridge

The room was spacious enough for 2 of us and it was well maintain and Clean! My wife was surprised there was a hair dryer provided in the room too!
Once we check in the hotel, we went for tea break at Cafe 1511 and not really have time to look around the hotel.

The bathroom

The Big shower head

I like the hot shower, the hot water was Very hot once you turn the tap!

The only 2 comments we had :
1)  The loud water sound from upstairs bathroom, it was not well isolated.
2)  Vehicle parking difficulty!

OH NO! We received  a parking ticket (RM30.00) on the next day morning after we check out from the hotel, I asked the guy at the reception counter on that night before I parked, and he said it's ok to park my car beside the lane. Too bad we got the fine ticket! I show to one of the gentlemen at the reception, and he said he will pay the fine for us, still yet to receive any notification from them. (Cross my finger and pray...)

The room rates was reasonable at MYR105.00 per day and we were satisfied with the staffs at the front counter and also the hotel environment. We will visit again the Hotel again in our future visit to Malacca and hope they will have a better parking area for hotel guests in the future. :)

Hotel Hallmark
68, Jalan Portugis of Jalan Kubu,
75200 Melaka,
Tel : +606-2812888  Fax : +606-2813409

Grand Hallmark Hotel (Taman Molek)
32 Jalan Molek 2/2 Taman Molek 81100 Johor Bahru Malaysia
Tel: +607-357-2288
Website: www.grandhotelhallmark.com

Location map of Hallmark Hotel in Malacca

Marji Lang: Gujarat

Photo © Marji Lang-All Rights Reserved
Marji Lang is a French travel and documentary photographer, whose color-full photographs in her India galleries just jump at you.

She's fallen in love with India and has already traveled there four times. Over the past 10 years, Marji traveled in South East Asia, and was influenced by Henri Cartier Bresson and more recently by the work of her compatriot and Indiaphile Claude Renault.

She rarely plans ahead her trips, and just takes it a day at a time. No specific hotel reservations nor fixed itineraries. She prefers making her photographs with a human presence...but is not against making a few that are devoid of people (such as the one above). Marji only uses a 24-70mm lens.

I was interested in her Gujarat gallery as some of her photographs are of Jain female pilgrims (sadhvi) in Palitana, one of our stops during my forthcoming photo expedition In Search of Gujarat's Sufis next month.

Romain Alary: The Street

Photo © Romain Alary-All Rights Reserv
Romain Alary is French photographer-filmographer who traveled extensively, and has recently completed a voyage of many months from Paris to Tokyo. He now lives in France where he's involved in both photography and cinematic projects.

From an entry in his blog, Alain was involved in the movie "Women Are Heroes" by JR whilst parts of it was being filmed in India. The reason I mention this is that he posted a movie clip of Bundi, which is very well made...a time-lapse of the small Rajasthani town, which I initially took to be Pushkar because of its central lake. Most of Bundi's houses/bulidings are painted blue, which gives the movie an interesting look. It's not posted on Vimeo, so you'll have to click on Romain's blog to view it.

NYT's Week In Review Section

The snow storm may have something to do with it, but I read The New York Times' Sunday edition from cover to cover yesterday, and saw its Week In Review section carried the above photograph.

Hurray! I chose this photograph as my favorite in my post on the 55 photographs featured by Reuters on its Best of The Year Photojournalism, and is by Adrees Latif who made it during relief supplies being delivered to flooded villages in the Muzaffargarh district of Punjab in Pakistan.

I described it as "one of these photographs that tells it all...the struggle for survival, the physicality of despair..."

Two questions pop to my mind....Do the photo editors of The New York Times read my blog??? And do I take that as a sign to hang my cameras and become a photo editor?

I think the answer to the first is 'maybe', and the answer to the second is a categorical 'no'.

Neil Wade: Kham & Amdo

Neil Wade is an editorial and corporate photographer based in Taipei, Taiwan. His photography was featured in varied magazines as National Geographic, Forbes, The Financial Times of London and Skateboarder.

Kham is a region currently split between the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Qinghai. The people of Kham are reputed warriors. Many Khampas are members of the Bon religion; an esoteric branch of Tibetan Buddhism, and are considered with suspicion by more mainstream Tibetan sects.

The traditional Tibetan region of Amdo is located on the northeast corner of the Tibetan Plateau. Most of Amdo lies in modern day Qinghai province. It is famous for producing some of Tibet's most famous spiritual leaders.

Eric Kruszewski: Tibet

Eric Kruszewski is a Baltimore-native, who started traveling internationally in 2005. He is drawn to new cultures, faces, practices and daily life. His website features galleries from Tibet, Mongolia, India, Georgia, and closer to home, Alaska and the American West. Spend some time at Eric's Mongolia gallery, which has some nice photographs of the Naadam festival.

The above photograph is of Tibetans prostrating themselves in Lhasa. Prostration is an important expression of Tibetan Buddhism. It's said that Tibetans are expected to prostrate themselves 100,000 times a year. Although they prostrate themselves at temples, some pilgrims cover the entire 33-mile route around Mount Kailas by repeatedly prostrating themselves.

The first time I saw a Buddhist pilgrim prostrating himself in such a way was at the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, about 10 years ago. He wore a full-body leather apron, and wooden "clogs" for his hands, and he circumambulated the stupa for as long as I was there.

O'REILLY'S Irish Tavern & Grill at Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

O'REILLY'S Irish Tavern & Grill (N1 31.779 E103 47.535) (next to RHB Bank) is located at Jalan Molek 2/2, Taman Molek - Johor Bahru which is facing the newly opened Bank Of China (Tmn Molek). I had been attracted by the menu few months ago but finally we had chance to test the western food serve by the restaurant.

O'REILLY'S Irish Tavern & Grill at Taman Molek, Johor Bahru.

This restaurant had a Rich Irish deco and cozy atmosphere. The front and back are drinking area where you can have your draught beer and also the smoking area. They don't allow to smoke in the dining area, that's Great!

The Front area of the restaurant

Once we stepped in the dining area, I like the Excellent Ambience very much! It was not really crowded on the Saturday evening. A 3 pieces Live Band was playing some soft music and suddenly my daughter attracted by their nice voice! :)

The long Bar Counter, one of my favorite!

The dining area and the Live Band.

Nice band accompany you and your meals

I had the O'REILLY'S Ribeye, my wife had a Lamb Chop and my daughter ordered the O'Reilly's Fried Rice plus a Mushroom Soup.

The O'REILLY'S Ribeye

The Ribeye (close up)

The O'REILLY'S Lamb Chop

The Lamb Chop (close up)

The Ribeye and the Lamb Chop were served in the same amount of salads and mash potatoes. I like they separated the sauces from the meat! Perfect!

The Salads and the Baby Tomoto

The O'REILLY'S Fried Rice

The Mushroom Soup

The Flavourful Ribeye & the Lamb Chop were Well marinated and perfectly served with the sauce. The Chef Grilled it just Nice for my medium well Ribeye. But both of them were a bit salty so we had to enjoyed it with the Beer...
We tested the Fried Rice and it was un-expectedly delicious! Surprised! Mushroom soup was rich and tasty! We really enjoyed the Fabulous dinner especially with the Christmas Decoration and the Carols played by the band!

The Damage : MYR120.00 for 2 adults and 1 child included the drinks and taxes. Beside the Western Food, it's also a Nice place to drink with friends!

Rated : 4/5

Well, I think it's worth for the meal and we will be back again! Hopefully next time the Chef will prepare the foods with less salty! Haha!

O'REILLY'S Irish Tavern & Grill
54, Jalan Molek 2/2,
Taman Molek,
81100 Johor Bahru.

The map location of O'REILLY'S Tavern & Grill at Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

POV: Is This The Xmas Spirit?

AP Photo/Hussein Malla/ Courtesy Denver Post PBlog
The human genius in reducing religious and/or social events down to nauseating manifestations of mindless consumerism, bad taste and repulsive glitz is seemingly alive and well in all major cities, minor cities and wherever there's the need for marketing, selling and buying.

However the 2010 award for the most loathsome display of this talent belongs to the Emirates Palace Hotel (Abu Dhabi), whose general manager Hans Olbertz, was quoted as saying the 43-foot (13-meter) fake fir has 131 ornaments that include gold and precious stones including diamonds and sapphires valued at $11,000,000.

Notwithstanding the fellow's subsequent apologies, and his admission that it was "over the top", the tree stands as a symbol of what Christmas (and every other religious observance) should not be.

Merry Xmas & Happy Holidays!

The Travel Photographer's 2010 Favorite Image Makers (Part 2)

Following yesterday's post, here are the second 5 of the 10 travel and/or documentary photographers (listed in no particular order) whose work was posted on this blog, and whose photographs were my favorites during 2010.

As I said, deciding which is a visual favorite amongst the hundreds of photographers I've shown here in this blog is a highly subjective and personal choice...nothing more or less. Every single photographer whose work was featured on my blog is worthy of praise and admiration.

1. Jamie Williams:
Photo © Jamie Williams- All Rights Reserved
This photograph is part of Jamie Williams' Tibet series, and is featured in his gorgeous website. I posted on Jamie Williams here.

2. Kieron Nelson:

Photo © Kieron Nelson-All Rights Reserved
This photograph of a Zhuang fisherman is part of Kieron's Guangxi gallery. I posted on Kieron's Vanishing Cultures photographs here.

3. Andrea Pistolesi:

Photo © Andrea Pistolesi-All Rights Reserved
This photograph of a Cambodian dancer is part of Andrea's gallery of Cambodia. I had featured Andrea's reportage work on the Rohingya refugees here.

4. Diego Verges:

Photo © Diego Verges-All Rights Reserved
This photograph is one of the latest of Diego's projects which are featured on his website. I featured Diego's work in a number of posts...this particular one is here.

5. Jørgen Johanson:

Photo © Jørgen Johanson-All Rights Reserved
Although I posted Jørgen's work on Tibet, I also encourage you to visit the rest of his galleries, including the one of Ethiopia, where I've seen the above photograph.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone!! Enjoy your lovely time with your family and your loved ones. Let your heart dance and cherish the moments!! xoxo Hanh,