Working on compiling a complete city guide meant getting to see Sydney through a whole new set of eyes.
I got to photograph Cockatoo Island early one morning and loved being able to wander the grounds alone, soaking up the pre dawn stillness and quiet. Oh, and I got some pretty rad shots as well.
Sometimes it’s easier to ignore something all together. Because you know once you look, it’s hard to look away…
This picture was taken in Sydney, Australia. I love how the light is illuminating the man and his dog whilst in the shadows people walk by with their eyes averted. It’s as if the heavens are begging for someone to give this poor soul some sort of recognition, yet the city tunnel-vision mentality sadly prevails.
Palenque is a lost world. Captivating for even the most well-trodden travellers.
Great tangled balls of green yarn tumble from the Tumbalá mountains surrounding the archaic city, smothering its lost remnants in a cloak of leaves and dirt. Buried pockets of antiquity lay hidden in the jungle, past cascading waterfalls and loomed over by towering cedars and mahoganies.
Underground houses are squatted in by bats and beasties of all shapes and sizes and beckon the daring to explore their dark halls. The ruins of Palenque date back to 226 BC and the 2.5 square kilometres of uncovered structures are estimated to be only around 10% of the total city, leaving thousands of these hidden haunts scattered throughout the surrounding jungle.
The uncovered ruins sit on a manicured platform watched over by the Temple of the Cross, stoic and proud. In the main plaza sits the Temple of Inscriptions, the tomb of Palenque’s once great ruler Pakal and his once grand Palace, now worn and crumbling, slowly losing its battle to the decay of time. Across the plaza sits an unnamed structure adorned with an eerie bas-relief carving of the god of death (which oddly resembles Hollywood’s ‘Predator’).
Shaded by the looming canopies and with the tranquil Usumacinta trickling through the foliage there’s so much to do and see at Palenque you can easily spend several hours getting lost in this ancient world.
Cities fascinate me, always have. The idea of being so alone and shrouded in anonymity yet completely surrounded by churning seas of people, loomed over by steel and glass giants, is somehow so alluring.
Such a sucker for a paradox…
All pictures are copyright Khan Porter.
The photographs below have been edited to highlight the drama of the Guatemalan Central Highlands. A region with a history as rich and diverse as its vistas, torn by civil unrest and healed by the helping high hands of hippie-centric tourism. Lake Atitlan really needs little introduction, as it’s images speak for themselves…
The following piece of writing has been syndicated from an incredible writer and an even more amazing father – mine. His seemless inter-weaving of poetry and prose is captivating, evocative and is where I one day hope to be myself as a wordsmith. Find more of his musings at his blog – The Arthritic Surfer.
I notice his hands or more specifically his fists. They are large, bruised and one or two of the knuckles are swollen. He has caught my eyes as he has headed towards our line of obedient commuters waiting for the the cash teller machine.
His eyes quickly shift away and he moves towards the bloke behind me. This bloke is a workman dressed in green and orange, tall with large boots.
Mate could you spare a dollar for a feed please?
Beany-ed, light brown jumper under a tartan patterned bomber jacket, grey office trousers, black shined shoes and backpacked. Folded neatly in his ratty Billabong backpack is a pink blanket resembling a larger version of a child’s grubby cuddle blanket. It peers like a kind soft toy.
He has tight, brown blonde hair covering his ears and collar. And eyes that have no colour. That is, eyes that change according to the light. Like one of my sons. Now they are light green. Later I notice they appear early evening sea grey.
The bloke in orange with big boots shakes his head without words.
I’ll buy you a meal I say. If you wait while I get some money. Perhaps this is risky behaviour but it’s broad day light-he seems relaxed and just hungry.
Would you like a bacon and egg roll? Sounds good. This cafe over here, it’s cheaper, he suggests. We make our way across to the familiar tables and chairs.
At first glance, from a distance, he would maybe resemble an interstate train traveler. But as we traverse the concrete to the cafe there are hints of despondency slowly falling towards despair. A whiff of body odour, grooved lines of concentrated effort around his mouth and across his brow, the bruised fists, a crease of shadow beneath his eyes. Although his body is slim and he seems young, maybe 27 or 28, it also appears as if it is slowly un-threading, separating at the seams. The look of a humbled but not yet defeated boxer.
He walks with a slight bow legged roll as if he has spent time on a horse chasing down cattle and tackling opposing forwards on a rugby league field. He is calm as if walking to meet a mate at the pub.
Could I have a coffee as well please? Sure.
Where you from I ask?
Parkes I know it well. Used to go there for work regularly.
Flat white please he asks the young woman behind the steel and glass counter. And a bacon and egg roll with onions and tomato sauce please.
Sugar she asks? She seems nervous her eyes shifting from him to me.
Yeah six please.
Six he nods.
Mate you’ll rot your teeth I say stupidly.
Too late he says smiling showing gums and black holes.
So how come you left Parkes? He looks down and then away from me.
Long story. Do you know where there might be a cheap hostel for me to stay?
Nah mate sorry I don’t.
I pay for his breakfast. I glance at him in his mismatched clothes to lifestyle- the shiny black shoes, the grey trousers, his worn blanket- and his tired country friendliness.
Thank you sir he says… looking at me with my son’s eyes. I push a ten dollar note to him. He’s surprised and I leave quickly, head down holding back tears
Sydney iPhoneography: A black and white love affair with this beautiful city.
Images from top to bottom:
Grey skies over the water in Leichardt
Botany Bay – where the city meets the sea
Ravaged bin in a CBD alley
Solar anomaly from Maroubra Beach
I captured and edited this image with my iPhone and, as artistically indulgent as it may sound, I’ve titled it ‘Self Portrait’.
It’s my hand for one, but also, the slight curving of the fingers and the upturned palm gestures reaching, longing and anticipation, reflective of my long (and somewhat ongoing) search for creative identity.
Froth (Verb): To show extreme displays of enthusiasm and genuine excitement.
Frother (Noun): 1) A person prone to extreme displays of enthusiasm and genuine excitement. Often with little to no regard for others deeming the subject of said enthusiasm as mundane.
2) Someone who froths