Tag Archives: portrait

Children of Laos

Over a series of nights for the past couple of weeks I used video editing as a fun stress relief project. Teaching myself the very basics of cutting a movie, I used some of my amateurish footage from Laos. I shot this for fun handheld, never thinking I would use it but for mere memorabilia. I then thought it might make a good atmosphere for my stills and had great fun cutting this. Shot on Canon 5D Mk II, edited in Adobe Premiere. This is ‘Children of Laos’ from the very eastern part of Laos, hmong villages in the mountains close to the borders of Vietnam. I was fortunate to tag along with a journalist friend of mine on a job. Do watch this in HD and full screen, and if you like, read the story below after watching the movie.

Laos Stories

The temperature hovers around freezing. We are in the town of Nong Hat in the mountains of East Laos. Outside my window a rooster desperately tries to rise the sun at 3am. Some dogs bark and join in. I feel like doing the same as sleep is impossible. I am so cold. We are in a stone guest house with no windows only wooden shutters and it is colder inside than outside. Like the rooster I long for the sun to wake up.

When the sun finally rises we are treated to a beautiful morning. Our hostess at the guest house has the fire going in the kitchen, smoke fills the air and our nostrils. Nescafé gets my heart going again and a brisk walk on the street defrosts my bones. We are ready.

nong hat - blog

A few hours later after driving through the most splendorous mountains we arrive at our first village and school. Now, had we landed in a flying saucer, walked up with green skin, two heads and six arms and said "take us to your leader" I doubt we would have caused more commotion. These are very remote and poor villages, some of the children had never seen white fellas like us before.

I sit on the ground surrounded by children. Completely stunned by our appearance, very raw emotions from fright to thrilled flicker across their beautiful and very curious faces. My camera is the perfect ice breaker as the results shown on the back screen causes huge surprises and ecstatic joy. This repeats itself at every village, every school and I manage to capture some portraits while the children totally capture my heart.

hmong kids - blog

View many more images in my Laos gallery, here: FlemmingBoJensen.com/gallery/laos/

Advertisements

Laos village children portraits

Avid readers of my blog know that my big love is landscapes, the amount of images I post with humans in them can be counted on…one finger I reckon! Some people consider any image without humans boring and the standard “there are no humans” is a too-well known statement. I always say it is merely whatever floats your boat photography wise. Some like macro insects, some like sports, some like portraits, some like landscapes! I have however always liked studying the good travel- and ethno-photographers and Laos gave me an opportunity to practice.

We visited extremely remote hmong hilltribe villages and schools for my friend’s research and here I had the chance to capture some of these gorgeous children. I shot hundreds of shots, mostly because the children were of course very interested (also slightly scared) of the camera and the magic lcd screen showing them an image or video of themselves. The boys were noticeably much more shy and of course being boys, playing it detached and cool, while the girls took to the camera quite fast. I present a couple of images that I shot after the first wauv factor had worn off allowing me to get some portraits where they were unaware of the camera. Meeting the children at the schools were a mindblowing experience. These are kids who live in remote villages, some of them had never seen white people before, they have nothing, they go to school but have no text books, no pencils etc. But they are incredibly strong and gorgeous survivors full of spirit, happiness and life. They have to be strong here to live, to survive. Given the right opportunities these tough strong kids can do absolutely anything as they are used to fighting for survival everyday.

First is this gorgeous girl who absolutely loved the camera. She is not hmong, I forget the name of the tribe. She has an incredible face.

laos village girl - blog

I also attempted to catch the children playing with the amazing mountains of East Laos as backdrops. Some of these villages and schools enjoy views that are out of this world! This is a couple of hmong girls playing.

hmong girls playing - blog

My primary love will always be wide open landscapes but I really enjoyed capturing these images. For this sort of work, the versatile 24-105mm Canon L lens proved very handy. I have much to learn and would like to hear your opinion on this little venture into ethno-photography.