Portraits of Southeast Asia
These are the people — the culture — the stories of Southeast Asia through my camera’s lens.
Here you’ll find intimate, black and white, portrait-styled photographs of Thai tattoo artists, Malaysian gangsters, Cambodian farmers and Singaporean chefs. It’s a glimpse into people’s lives a world away. People whose lives might be very different from yours. People who might not have a voice. People who might not have dollar to their name, clean water or family.
Forget what you know, or think you know. Dive in. Reflect.
Click on any of the images to scroll through the gallery in full-size. To find out more about any of the subjects, most of them are featured on stories already on this blog.
See a color video montage of the below gallery on my YouTube channel.
Outside some of the temples at Ta Prohm, this little girl sold me two bracelets. She’s maybe four or five.
“Peace.” -Bangkok fortune teller, Thailand
I met this jovial character at a Cambodian wedding in the winding alleys of Phnom Penh.
A woman dressed in traditional Cambodian dance-wear at Angkor Thom in Cambodia.
Dressed in traditional Cambodian dance attire, this girl performs for tourists at a bar in Siem Reap.
Skin deep. Phi Phi has a rich tattoo tourism industry & the artists don’t disappoint. Notice the MS-13 gang signs near his nose.
This is Mr. X. One of the fully inked up tattoo artists of Phi Phi Island in Thailand.
I like your tattoo. Where did you get it? “I did it myself.”
This Buddhist monk in Siem Reap was a young, cheerful guy.
“It was very bad. I had nothing to eat because the Khmer Rouge provide food to me only twice a day but not enough. Only a little bit; some grains or rice. Only two meals per day.” -Chum Mey in Phnom Penh.
Bangkok fortune teller.
A monk prays & lights incense at a Buddhist temple in Siem Reap.
“Wanna see a trick?” -Bartender, Phi Phi Island, Thailand
This rambunctious character was the life of a Thai beach party on Phi Phi Island.
Meet Rodiah Aling. A leader of an impoverished & remote village of northern Malaysia, she has walked the path behind her under the scorching sun for water for as long as she can remember. She’s one of the few women leaders in the region.
Her big day. The bride. She was all smiles.
This rural farmer outside Siem Reap tends to his flock of livestock & later offers up homemade wine, which turned out to be extremely potent.
This is another girl who was obsessed with my camera at the Cambodian wedding I attended.
“AKP 73. This [burn] is a symbol of the brotherhood. I burn [myself] like this because this is a symbol of AKP.” -Adz, in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
“I used to be a playboy.” -Henry Teo, chef & ice sculptor in Singapore
A firing range in Cambodia where you can shoot everything from rocket launchers to machine guns.
Another Phi Phi Island tattoo artist.
This Cambodian farmer takes a break during a muggy spring morning outside Siem Reap.
One of the priests at Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu temple in Singapore’s Little India district.
Many orphan or abandoned boys enter the monastery at a young age. This young man likely falls into that category.
“When I came here in 1986, life was very different. We had to work very hard to get water or electricity. All our lives have been changed by the new water source.” -Jason Bin Aling in Balud Batu, Malaysia.
This man, reportedly named, “Number Two,” is a curator of a military weapons range in Cambodia.
Traditional Cambodian dance.
A priest performs a ceremony in front of the goddess Kali that Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu temple in Singapore is dedicated to.
Fashion assassin. Alley wedding in Phnom Penh.
She begged for me to take her photo during a wedding ceremony in a Phnom Penh.
Until recently, this little girl’s family walked several miles each day to collect often stagnant water from a reservoir. The barrel beside her is of rain water that has fallen off the village leader’s roof and is used for chores around the house.
Connect with Dorian Geiger, editor of Sleepless in Singapore.
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