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Of all the people I’ve photographed over the years I had in mind three or four photos that were particular favourites. This led to the idea to create a post of my ten favourite people photos. After searching through my files I came up with a collection of 45! And still felt I’d eliminated some that should have been included. With the help of various family members I’ve pared it down to 29. Perhaps one day I’ll make a post of all those I eliminated from my original selection. Anyway here are some of my favourite photos of people from around the world.

Taung Tha Man Lake, Myanmar. March 2013. There’s a 200 hundred-year-old bridge spanning the lake from the outskirts of southern Mandalay to Amarapura. As you walk across the bridge you can see on either side the life of the lake – fishing, boating, duck farming, and this man, on an unknown journey.

Aguilas, Spain. December 2011. A chance encounter in a small village street. Clearly smoking indoors was not allowed.

Madaba, Jordan. October 2015. I caught her through the bus window as we drove slowly by.

Istanbul, Turkey. September 2015. From the Galata Tower we ambled along narrow streets downhill to the water and the Galata Bridge. He was sitting quietly by the side of the road with “his” cats. There are thousands of cats in Istanbul and everyone takes care of them.

Wailoaloa Beach, Fiji. December 2014. An evening performance of Polynesian dancing, followed by fire dancing as a spectacular finale. Two of the men are Fijian, the other a visiting New Zealander who was invited to join them. Fire dancing originated in Samoa and then spread to all Polynesian cultures.

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. November 2016. Girls on the beach. Deliberately overexposed. I sat for a long time over several days photographing people as they walked by, experimenting with different exposure settings. It brought some fun new discoveries.

Pushkar, India. November 2012. Thousands of people descend on this holy town every November for the Pushkar Camel Fair and religious festival. I saw him walking slowly down the street towards the sacred lake. In one hand he rang a bell, in the other he held a begging bowl. There was no movement other than his feet and his hand ringing the bell in steady rhythm.

Edfu, Egypt. October 2015. The Horus Temple, the second largest of all of Egypt’s ancient temples. Maybe he is a guard, or maybe a hopeful guide. Apart from him, and our group, the place was empty. How lucky we were to see Egypt without the crowds.

Esna, Egypt. October 2015. Our cruise boat on the Nile came to the lock at Esna and was immediately surrounded by many of these small boats. The men were throwing cloth goods up onto the decks to see if anyone wanted to purchase them. It was mayhem for a while. I got this shot in the aftermath as we were beginning to move through the lock. There would be no more sales for these two that day.

Santa Clara, Guatemala. February 2017. In the crowded noisy colourful market: a quiet moment.

Venice, Italy. October 2011. On a vaporetto on the Grand Canal – the quintessential Venetian couple.

Varanasi, India. December 2012. All life happens on the Ghats of the Holy River Ganga – swimming, bathing, buffalo washing, devotional ritual, sleeping, playing, buying and selling, living. It is a microcosm of both the ordinary and the sacred in Hindu life. Early one morning I caught this lad hauling water oblivious to all around him.

Otavalo, Ecuador. February 2014. Street art of an Otavaleña in traditional headdress, and a local woman who has chosen more contemporary clothing. I think she was quite unaware of the portrait behind her, and was simply waiting for someone.

Inle Lake, Myanmar. March 2013. A truly serendipitous moment. We were staying in a hotel in the lake and I heard drumming. I followed the sound over a series of walkways to the deck of the next building to discover that there was to be a race by the famous leg-rowers of Inle Lake. I caught the winning team as they headed directly towards us.

Istanbul, Turkey. September 2015. Walking across Galata Bridge at sunset. It was impossible to ignore their bright complementary outfits, and their equally bright animated faces.

Canberra, Australia. January 2015. In a busy café surrounded by tables, chairs, coffee cups, people chatting and drinking, there was a small opening through it all to where I could see the man and the sign behind him. It was too good an opportunity to miss.

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. November 2016. I sat on the beach and watched them for a long time. Sisters I presumed. Their mother, I presume, watched them while standing on the beach holding an infant tucked into a colourful serape. The girls screamed and laughed and frolicked in the water, their joy escaping into the ether and filling us all.

Wellington, New Zealand. March 2015. In a crowded and colourful night market he sat oblivious to the posters behind him. I do not know what made him smile, but I’m glad I caught it.

Antigua, Guatemala. February 2017. She was sitting outside a store that sold beautiful Guatemalan fabrics. I imagine she was taking a rest from selling necklaces to tourists. She seems sad, but there’s a light in her eyes as if she misses nothing.

Pushkar, India. November 2012. During the annual Pushkar Camel Fair and religious festival, thousands arrive in the town from all over India to buy and trade livestock and to take part in religious rituals. These three sat together in a rare quiet corner away from the crowds.

Trinidad, Cuba. February 2017. A lot of Trinidad life happens on the broad staircase that leads up to the School of Music. We were at a nearby restaurant and lucky enough to be seated on the balcony. I caught him walking by, one of Cuba’s many musicians.

Buenos Aires, Argentina. October 2013. Porteños, as the people of Buenos Aires are called, have their dinner at about 9 or 10 at night. They have an aperitif around 6 or 7 pm right about the time we were looking for dinner. This café catered to both. He looks as if he’s finished work for the day, and perhaps is waiting for someone.

Luxor, Egypt. October 2015. The market in Luxor is loud, chaotic, and crowded. We picked our way along the narrow alleyways surrounded by hawkers and locals going about their daily lives. She sat in the midst of the market madness selling grains.

Antofagasta, Chile. December 2013. Antofagasta is an isolated coastal town in the far north of the Atacama Desert. I stood and waited for this shot. I knew eventually I’d get the right person in just the right place.

Manono Island, Samoa. December 2014. We took four joyous hours to circumambulate the island, passing by beaches and through jungle and villages. Everywhere the kids were playful and thrilled to be photographed. This girl and a boy were playing together on one of the beaches.

Aswan, Egypt. October 2015. The gardener at the Nubian Museum.

The train graveyard, near Uyuni, Bolivia. December 2013. She was playing on the abandoned rusting trains with her siblings. She was a little shy at first but I had enough Spanish to ask her name and where she was from. It broke the ice and soon I got to see her true colours.

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. November 2016. I was playing with exposure settings. She was posing for another photographer.

Konya, Turkey. September 2015. The sacred ritual, or Mevlevi Sema Ceremony of the Sufi Order of the Whirling Dervishes. It was made clear that this was not a performance for tourists, but rather a genuine sacred ritual that we were privileged to attend. Even simply watching it was a deeply moving experience.

Thank you to all who read and follow the blog. Thank you for your likes and comments, thank you for your support and encouragement. May 2018 be all you could wish for. Happy New Year!

Next post: Havana – street art and a very special restaurant.

All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2017.