He weaved his way through the narrow lanes of the Tarad Rot Fai Night Market, swimming against a stream of a thousand, chest high, faces, smiling up at him. Each one making him feeling welcome, although he was 6,000 miles from home.
Intermingled with the, attractive, wide cheek bones of the native Thais were the modest colours of the hijabs adorned by the Muslim women, who had chosen to make Bangkok’s Prawet district their adopted home.
His senses overpowered by the ever changing kaleidoscope of warm aromas emulating from the endless rows of tiny open aired kitchen stalls. Each one offering freshly cooked delicacies, mostly of an Asian origin but some from Africa too. Brightly coloured fragrant spices from both continents combining to produce a splendid rhapsody that rang out loudly in the darkness of the night.
The assignment was somehow to capture the essence of this magical nocturnal bazaar. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the atmosphere, but most of all the people. For this was a place where Bhudists and Muslims harmoniously coexisted, in stark contrast to the south of Thailand where conflict between the two religions had led to over 6,000 deaths and countless wounded, in the last twelve years alone.
His weapon of choice was a Canon 7d DSLR camera, with a 70-200mm zoom lens attached. He usually shot in ‘manual’ mode but, in the evening darkness, he had switched to ‘aperture priority’ and cranked the lens to its maximum setting of F2.8. With the image stabiliser set to on, he could afford to let light in for up to 1/60th of a second, without the need for a tripod. Sure, he had to increase the ISO to 2000, which would introduce some ‘noise’ to the photographs, but he could live with that if he managed to create the images he sought.