This was a competition winner for me back in 2008. Make of it what you will.
.. not sure what I’m not supposed to be doing here.
I took these pictures of Quan Yin in two different temples in Thailand last year, before I discovered who she was. Also in the pictures are the Yoni and Lingam, relating to Shiva’s duality. More on that here
Then discovered this about her on wikipedia and rewrote it for my other blog;
Quan Yin is the goddess of loving compassion. She hears the cries of all beings in the world and comes to their aid. She eliminates suffering and creates peace and harmony, which in turn, leads her devotees to becoming more compassionate and loving themselves. A deep sense of service to all fellow beings naturally follows the devotion to this Goddess.
A bodhisattva who is both ‘god’ and ‘goddess’ is not uncommon in Buddhist doctrine.
The scriptures explain that a bodhisattva can embody in either male or female form, depending on who they are seeking to save.
Quan Yin originated in India as a male god named Avolo Kitesvara but over time became known as a goddess in China. Literary evidence from the fifth century points to a sexual transformation of Quan Yin. 500 years later her statues had become increasingly feminine, and by the Ming Dynasty, her transformation was complete.
Quan Yin is most often depicted as female nowadays, although some people believe that she is androgynous or even without gender. According to the Mahayana sutras, it is irrelevant though because ultimately, reality is emptiness.
The title says it all, doesn’t it? This is one of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had. I was wandering around a temple in Thailand and noticed all these mannequins in a shed, holding microphones and surrounded by speakers. So obviously I felt compelled to take a closer look. Once inside, I could see that their skin was flaking off, their hair was made of straw and most of the male figures were wearing skirts. While taking all this in, I took a few pictures, then suddenly realised there were coffins in there too. Didn’t hang around for long after that.
An unexpected oasis of calm after the stress of being on the road in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. I found this little place, hidden away at the back of a temple in Battambang, almost lost to the jungle it seemed. Someone (or many someones) clearly left all these thought provoking images and slogans for me to find, somewhere down the line.
And what a road… Rice terraces, mountain folk, the hill in Baguio, spectacular views or spending hours above the clouds on the highest road in the Philippines, trying to grab a bite to eat, take a pee and smoke a couple of cigarettes during the 15 minute stops on the bus or the six hour wedgies on the way back down ..it’s all good
(All these shots were taken from the window of a very bouncy bus)
More from the archives. I spotted Myleene Klass filming something or other in London in 2009 and fired off a few shots.
She wasn’t very happy about it. Gave me a right filthy look in fact.
It made me realise just how much the world had changed though. I get the feeling, if you saw the same scene today there’d be about 50 people standing around her, staring into their smartphones, instead of actually experiencing the event first hand. Anyway, whatever….
All these pictures were taken in and around Angkor Watt and Angkor Thom recently. I didn’t take the tours, didn’t pay a guide to be blabbing in my ear all day and didn’t get up at 4am to take the same picture, recommended by all the travel books, which hundreds of thousands of people must have taken already (seriously, why bother?). I just rented a bicycle for 2 dollars and cycled around in the jungle for 5 hours. It was a fantastic morning.
All shots were taken on a ‘piece of shit,’ Nikon Coolpix.
….on visiting the great pyramids of Giza.
Well, we got hounded and hassled and threatened by the people working there and all I really wanted to do was just spend a few hours experiencing the energy of the pyramids for myself. Apparently relaxing in sacred spaces is not as easy as it would seem.
We shot these at Kayt’s house in 2007, when neither of us really knew what we were doing.
I gave up shooting models soon after this, in spite of receiving praise and encouragement from Corrine Day, who launched Kate Moss’ career. I realised that my shoots with models were mostly just a therapeutic exercise for myself.
Anyhow, Kayt did well for herself. https://www.kaytwebsterbrown.com/
A brief audience with Peter Perrett.
One of my favourite musicians ever, probably best known for writing and singing
Another girl, another planet with The Only Ones.
I’ve been a fan of their music for over 30 years so I was very happy when Peter
kindly invited me into his home to take some informal portraits.
I’ve got to say, it was an honour and a pleasure to meet Peter and chat with him.
He even played me a few of his, as yet unreleased tracks. Sounding as good as ever.
It’s just a shame that I was in such a rush and had to leave so soon.
These guys were amazing. I spent all day with them and have rarely
encountered such generosity in my life.
They have no right to be on their land but they’ve been there 25 years anyway
I wish them all the best and hope they get to stay there for many years to come,
although I’m sure their living conditions could improve if they felt more secure.
I’ve been scanning and editing old pictures again.
Here’s a few from my first trip to Thailand, starting with some destroyed
Buddhas in the ancient capital, Ayutthaya.
Somewhere between Thong Sala and Haad Rin in Koh Phangan.
A brief visit to the hill tribes in the north
Taken from sunset beach on Koh Phangan
And a little more strangeness in Ayutthaya
I just started messing around with this programme yesterday.
I don’t really know how it works yet but I did a few pictures I like.
It’s a fascinating story how this group came together, during years of war and struggle in the desert.
Nowadays, they say they fight for peace with their guitars.
My good friend Andree died this year, aged 104. She not only survived two concentration camps but came out of that experience with a sense of humour and a positivity that you rarely find in anyone. She spent her whole life selflessly helping others. She was 101 when we did these two impromptu photo shoots and she really enjoyed posing for the camera. She told me that the picture, top left one was the best photo anyone had ever taken of her. The rest were from the second shoot we did together. After a while she started looking around for props. First she picked up a book, then she grabbed the photo of her late husband John but as she started thinking about him, she started to cry. I just put the camera away.
Rewriting this in 2019, I still miss Andree. She made me laugh so much. She even flirted with me at times. And her stories were fascinating. She was a huge inspiration to me. Bless you Andree.
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