I do not like to take my camera to the beach the sand frightens me way more than ever getting smashed by an oversize wave. Sand seems to get everywhere and camera equipment is no exception. Well I was emailed a link to some portraits that a photographer Lee Turner from Bali Dream Weddings magazine took on his travels and it inspired me to take take my camera out with me on my bicycle to Kuta Beach yesterday.
Bali is all about Kuta Beach for so many people here. It faces perfectly west and has a sunset of sorts nearly every evening at 6am. It is full of characters from all the corners of the world. So I took my 50mm lens down the beach the first portrait on the way was when I stopped and spoke to the blind beggar who is always sat on the side of the road. He was actually really happy when I asked if I could take his photo and then repositioned himself and sat straight for the shot. Everybody accelerates past him every day, being blind would possibly be the worst thing for me as a photographer. Today stopping for that moment with him realigned my attitudes to what I should be thankful for. Yes sure I gave him some money but wouldn’t you rather give someone back their eyesight. Well I guess that is where we differ from Jesus, who can do that bit.
The other shots are from the people I see daily at the beach, the surf instructors, the woman selling bracelets, the men selling Coca Cola and Bintang beer. The big smiles are from the man selling his paintings on his shoulder. The young girls come down to do promotional work for Sky garden Nightclub. They like to pose with the heads tilted sideways and a fish pout. Standard issue photo pose here amongst young local girls. The couple laughing and smiling are great, this woman has made me food and coffee daily whenever I am in Bali for a few years total now. Her husband has a crooked eyed and he is teaching me to play a local instrument called gamelan, like a bamboo xylophone. In return I am helping him with some physical exercises to get his belly down.
The Woman with the fruit bowl on her head is one of the most beautiful people you could randomly meet on the beach. A collection of hats given to her by travellers on their holidays are her trademark. Her smile radiates a natural beauty and kindness unrivalled by many. Today with my camera she mentioned she often sees the students take a photo jumping and didn’t know how to get one herself. So I said “jump” and she said “how high?” and take a look at that smile! Then not to forget Nyoman with the cigarette he has worked at Mekar Jaya hotel as long as far longer than the 4 year span over which I have stayed there. Then there are the women from Sumatra who work at Smiles Warung Jl Patimura. Kina in the Yellow and her mother and sisters feed me most evenings. So what you see below is what you would see too if you spent a few hours in Kuta. People want you to give them money here but when you pay someone attention what you really end up paying for is a smile… and that is priceless.