Contemplation, Buddha Statue, Thailand

A detailed view of a contemplative study of the Buddha's face in this statue in rural Thailand.

I've long had a fascination with statues and statues of the Buddha are no exception. So far my favourite Buddha statues are from Thailand. They seem to represent the notion of contemplation and Buddhist philosophy in the most graceful manner.

I particularly like statues that explore narrative (e.g., relationships) and the notion of the human condition which has underpinned much of my own work over the years.

How I Photographed The Thai Buddha Statue

I photographed the above statue, carved from wood, up close. I wanted to draw attention to its cracked surface and the contemplative expression of the Buddha.

I made the photo with my then Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105 mm lens at 55 mm.

I’m practiced at low light photography so I was able to produce a sharp image, without a tripod, at 1/13 second at an aperture of f/7.1 with my camera set to a rather moderate sensitivity of ISO 400.

To further enhance the emotive qualities of the image I employed Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop to increase local contrast and to add subtle color hues.

These adjustments allowed the statues face to stand out against the background.

Wooden Buddha Detail, Thailand

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Art and Life

I feel that photography, as art, has the power to bring statues and other inanimate bodies to life.

In the process these objects become subjects and allow us to better understand, or at least prompt us to question, our own existence.

I believe that questions are at the very heart of a creative existence.

It’s by constantly questioning what, how and why it is we do what we do that determines how we live our lives.

A flower at dusk in Lumphini Park in the centre of Bangkok, Thailand.

Creative folk are all about continuous improvement, in their own lives and in the way in which they interact with others.

From my point of view life is supposed to be lived. Not from the sidelines, but through engagement with the people, events and places in which we find ourselves.

We all need our space and the opportunity to embrace silence should not be understated.

But I do enjoy a busy life and I love interacting with people and learning from them, whenever I can.

A portrait of a young boy at a cultural show, under low lighting conditions, in rural Thailand.

Thailand The Land Of Smiles

Have you been to Thailand? Known as the Land Of Smiles Thailand could be considered as a country of contradiction.

Thai food is spectacular, albeit a little hot for my liking. I always find myself asking for less chili when I’m in Thailand.

The beauty of the landscape and the serene way in which many Thai’s go about their daily lives is contrasted with the heavily polluted and chaotic capital, Bangkok.

And then there’s the aggressive nature of the country’s sex industry. I look forward to a time when Thailand will have moved beyond that particular tragedy.

A typical street scene in Bangkok with a food vendor set up on a pedestrian sidewalk. Street food is usually very taste, inexpensive and safe in Bangkok.

Of course you can choose which side of Thailand you want to enjoy through your choice of hotel, the tours you undertake and the establishments you frequent.

While you can’t always control the kind of attractions that pass you by you can at least determine how you’ll spend your holiday.

Some possible examples would include the following:

  • Museums and art galleries

  • Trekking through hill tribe regions

  • Lazing on a beach or spending time with local folk in a homestay

An elderly female food vendor selling produce from her long-tail boat at the popular Damnoen Saduak Floating Market near Bangkok, Thailand.

Why Do You Travel?

I travel to make photos. But at the heart of those photos is my own personal quest to better understand our world and my place within it.

However, even when faced with unpleasant situations, I’m only interested in making life affirming images.

That’s because, at the end of the day, I choose hope over the alternative and I do what I can to live a positive life.

It’s then a natural consequence that my interactions with other people will lead to a positive outcome.

My advice is to take the time to undertake a reasonable amount of research before you travel. That should ensure, as much as possible, that your holiday will be safe and include the type of sights and interactions you’re most hoping to experience.

Personally I don’t find walking along crowded footpaths looking for $2 tea-shirts to be a particularly fulfilling cultural experience.

Sure I’ve done it, but even in my backpacker days I was interested in a much deeper emersion in the countries I visited.

That involved understanding some of the history, current geo-political situation and something of the dominant religion in that country.

This knowledge teaches me respect, which I believe is manifest in the way I interact with local folk.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru