Jul 12, 2008

Craig Schuler's Photos


Self Portrait by Craig Schuler at the Chinese border Phongsali Province Laos. Abandoned Casino in background

Craig studied Thai language formally, and then taught himself Lao language. He gets on well with people and that's obvious from his photographs. People enjoy having him take their picture.

Craig's latest series called sitting on top of a million elephants is kind of a play on words. Laos is called the land of a million elephants and the province where Craig took his most recent series of pictures is the northernmost province in Laos extending by itself way up into the space between Vietnam and China. Not only are the photos from this northernmost province, they are also from the most northern district within that province. Truly Sitting On Top Of A Million Elephants

The name of the district is Nyat Ou, and the Province is Phongsali. I visited that district briefly while in Phongsali at Craig's recommendation. It was everything he had described and more. Ou Tai was remote and seemingly influenced very little yet by the rest of the world.

I'm not sure how many photos are in this set. Many more than any I've ever seen before from Craig. Usually he's very stingy with the photos. Perhaps he had many more "keepers" with this batch.If the links don't show about 100 or more black and whites of rural Laos, email Craig and demand he make the images permanently available for view.

Since I originaly posted this, things have changed. There now seem to be 12 photos all looking kind of like old colour prints, I think this is, as as called on his link to as "treated colour". Interesting to see them first as black and white, and now as faded colours. Some of the images I remember from a year ago as having vibrant but natural seeming colours. I'll have to watch and see what's next.

Update on the update. It seems as if Craig didn't get much response on the original series of black and whites, so he opted for the fall back photos. Craig promises to make the black and whites available again soon. Send an email to Craig by clicking here and going to the portion of his web site that says "contact" tell him to bring back the black and whites

He has had two other sets of color photos on the same web site. I liked both of the other sets, they were tremendous in their own right, but these photos seem to build on his earlier work and go beyond them. The black and white adds to the feeling of timelessness. If you didn't know already when they were taken you might think they are from ten, twenty, fifty or more years ago.

1 comment:

Craig said...

This collection of photos has so far created less interest than my previous collections on Laos. I am unsure as to the reason for this, maybe the content is not the 'Laos' that people envisage or hope to see when visiting the country.

Phongsali province is one of my favourite places in Laos and a microcosm of what the country represents or at least did to me. It's remote and hard to travel in, influenced by larger and more powerful foreign powers and contains a beautiful landscape and population that seem detached from the rest of the world.

Hopefully this collection of photos will eventually gain appreciation as well as widen peoples perspective on Laos...

Craig Schuler