if you haven’t met me, you should probably know. I have a serious case of wanderlust. It is often how I find my creative drive. It has taken me to some very interesting places, and placed me in the middle of some unpredictable and sort of unbelievable circumstances.
When I was in Thailand, it brought me a story that has been met with the most skepticism. My friend got bit by a monkey.
Look closely… See that second monkey…
Yeah, right in the arm. Most people scoff at my story until I show them this photo.
This is the reason my mom calls me before every trip to make sure I have a box of Band-Aids.
Being a fashion photographer this photo has given me a true appreciation for timing.
As the brilliant French master photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, so eloquently described “Il n’y a rien dans ce monde qui n’ait un moment decisif” (“There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment”).
There was certainly a decisive moment here… Also when this photo broke the language barrier at a Thai hospital as a doctor inhaled deeply, unsuccessfully suppressed a loud laugh and snort and uttered the only word we understood “rabies”.
I have been told at least a dozen times that this is my best timed non-fashion photo, it was naturally occurring and sort of came by as a fluke. In my every day as a fashion photographer I must work with a team to create the setting, whilst I find that exact moment it time. That decisive moment where everything is perfect, where everything looks natural, intriguing, and tells a story. Don’t get me wrong I love it, but sometimes nothing can compare to being immersed in the story, and living it, having those moments come to you without having to think, you just react. It is almost like an exercise for my timing that I bring home with me.
This photo (above) is one of my favorite non-fashion shots that I like to share. The man in the photo is one of my best friends, and don’t worry folks he has lived to tell the tale, and we have gone on many more adventures since, albeit mostly monkey free, with a little less interaction with the native fern and fauna.
This little adventure took place circa 2009, together we decided that Thailand was next on the bucket list as neither of us or our other friends had been. All of the photos we saw were pretty spectacular and the photographer side of me was itching to try my hand at a few spectacular shots.
So slowly filling in the blanks, the processes between getting to Thailand, my friend getting bit by a monkey, and the almost concerning amusement of a Thai doctor, is one that was pretty straight forward.
Once we had landed, we all met up in Phuket. After a few days one of the items on our to do list was a boat tour through several smaller islands, Ko Phi Phi Don island was one of the stops. During our stop, my friend was quite fascinated by the wildlife, so he asked for a quick photo. He slowly made his way to the rock, quietly and carefully, like several other tourists before him. He leaned back and smiled, as my finger pressed down on the shutter I heard a rustle, not thinking of it the monkey appeared in my viewfinder and it seemed like a cool shot. As quickly as he appeared the monkey leapt towards my friend, who immediately lurched forward. My friend was a bit shocked and was left with a few good scratches. So, that was also the moment we learned these guys were fairly territorial and the males can be aggressive.
This little event resulted in a quick change in plans, we decided it might be a good idea to get his arm checked out, which led us to a local hospitals walk in clinic. Where we met the very expressive doctor mentioned earlier.
My friend received a rabies shot, a booklet with a schedule for the following shots, and as quickly as everything had happened we were on our way again. This was just one small snippet of the month we spent there but I have to say it was pretty memorable.
There are so many reasons why Thailand is an amazing place to visit, from the landscape, the people, and the cuisines. There are at least a million and one websites that can tell you about the best way to experience the beauty of Thailand. Instead of turning this into a tutorial on how to experience it, here are some more shots from our trip:
So a few take away points, finding that decisive moment can be just a reaction. It can either be a focus waiting for the right moment, or it can fall into your lap. A picture can be worth a thousand words, particularly in a hospital (I guess this is why GoPro cameras have become so popular in extreme sports). Some things can bridge all language barriers, like shock, laughter and rabies, and last but not least, living in the moment and immersing yourself in a story or adventure can give you some spectacular results.