Feeling that this important cultural heritage and tradition in Sarawak will be lost very soon, I feel that I must share this image, not for its technical quality but I ask you to observe the content face, the wrinkles of life in the jungle, 5hrs for the young to reach from nearest trade post, and totally cut off from the world. This exists today in Sarawak. And I am proud to have trekked the hours to see this for myself. Not wishing to delay her from trekking hours to her home, I did not take more photos, also partly it would be dark if we did not hurry out of the jungle; another 4hrs to go for us.
I open my Gawai2009 travelogue with this post of my special girl, because she is very rare in our part of world and this festival is unique for Sarawak's dayaks. After 3-4 years of dreaming to come to this place, this Gawai festival, it is fulfilled. 3 of us trekked up from Kampung Bengoh, Sait, Bojong to Kampung Semban at the ridges of mountain range; Hoe, Evelyn [she impressed me to trek as tough and as durable as anyone] and myself. Last year, same 3 of us went to another Bidayuh village at Kampong Sadir for Gawai.
Read my story in the travelogue. After sunrise shooting at 3300ft, around 7am on 2nd day of festival, we were asking and looking for HER at her home but the family told that she had gone out. I thought she went visiting neighbors and chitchat, even that early. So we were disappointed because it was said only 8 or 9 of these girls remain in the village here. It is interesting how the same ornamental decorations could have been worn by people as far as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
So we occupied ourselves with other things in the village, including a 1hr trek to waterfall. By 1pm we had to trek 40minutes back to village and packed our bags. Saying goodbye to our hosts and then off we go down the mountain trails at 3pm. After 1 hr of trekking, it was getting less hot and perhaps rain on the way. We were a bit weary and tired. And what a surprise, the special girl showed up on the trail back to the village, all alone and carrying a backpack of a few kg load. You can see her condition, at her age [you guess how old she is?] and able to walk up the mountain trail, at least 2-3hr on mostly up and up to 3300ft. Perhaps I could be wrong, she might be faster than us. So she was asked to pause for a while, let down her backpack and we have some photography. I wonder why I left all that space on her right, perhaps to show the trail, or was I thinking maybe I could stand in there and took a double portrait with her? I am puzzled. And yes, I know she is a little too near the edge but that would be a patch of black bag and backpack, messy stuff I avoided to include. All this while she was talking in her own Bidayuh language which none of us understood a word. Lovely isnt she?
Currently a reservoir dam is being built and 4 villages here will be submerged in water and therefore resettled/relocated elsewhere. EIA Report, 310 pages pdf takes long time to show
p/s I was shocked. Watch the rings around her waist, tell me what you see. Please tell me.
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Critiques | Translate
dareco (17134) 2009-06-04 8:47
An interesting lady and a nice natural portrait. I would love to know her age :) I like the path and how you have framed your subject. A beautiful lush surrounding. TFS
ahmetgedikli (25593) 2009-06-04 9:51
A superb portrait. The colors, light and sharpness are excellent. I like it.
avene (12675) 2009-06-04 9:51
don't you know that any woman is always 21? :) 25 max, if she wants to act mature :))
your girl is special indeed, I just wish there was a little more light on her face. and I actually like the way you have framed the scene, the lush greenery looks great with the path winding through it.
Bluejeans (64251) 2009-06-04 10:12
Que belo retracto de corpo inteiro desta senhora, rodeada de vegetação , interessante os objectos dourados nas pernas , parabéns!!
Um abraço Gonçalo
cfreire (11741) 2009-06-04 10:39
Very interesting portrait well composed with beautiful colors and contrasts. Well done. Regards, Consuelo
Silvio1953 (133860) 2009-06-04 11:09
Ciao Bill, great portrait of lovely old girl, beautiful expression, splendid light and colors, very well done, ciao Silvio
patdeph (35748) 2009-06-04 11:12
it remains me the story with my baba at Tapovan,at 4400 m of altitude,as me,you thought that you would not meet her,and she arrived when you didn't wait any more for her!Her clothes are very interesting,and also she seems very small!The colours and the light in the grasses are splendid!As you ,I wonder why she is so close of the boarder,but I don't think that it disturbs very much,as we can see the path and the landscape behind her!I like very much!
TopGeo (38216) 2009-06-04 11:28
Very interesting portrait well composed with beautiful colors and contrasts! Picture that gives with big force the style and the expression
luighi (5297) 2009-06-04 11:29
Que gran retrato Bill , fantastica captura vertical con colores y luz inigualables .Me encanta el rostro de la mujer curtido por la dureza de la vida.
bracasha75 (24585) 2009-06-04 11:29
What a beautiful portret of this old lady
Excellent shot of your special girl
Thanks for sharng
saxo042 (37730) 2009-06-04 12:28
This is also a photo that has something extra for the viewer. Very good colours, a fine composition and an unusual motive. Not to forget the good note!
Gerrit (51708) 2009-06-04 12:52
excellent portrait of this woman in her fine clothes with remarkable shoes. Wonderful positioned in a beautiful surrounding.
jmdias (60014) 2009-06-04 16:05
it is a very nice portrait, the girl is nicely put in the sceneray and her pose is nice too. I liked the soft light in her face and the way landscape is put around, mading a nice contrast
phwall (6785) 2009-06-04 17:10
An important photographic record of a rare culture and way of life. This woman does look special indeed, I'll bet she could tell some stories.
Nice framing too, using the pathway as the background works well.
shevchenko (19086) 2009-06-04 20:21
Clear to show her clothes mixed between new and traditional style, nice greenery background, thanks for sharing the detaily diary of journey.
Docarmo (9639) 2009-06-04 20:59
This image causes me a strong impression, but I don't know how to define it. You said you framed the image like that because of something at her left side, but I think it is good because of the path at her right side. You ask if we guess how old she is... if I consider the size of her ears and the hands wrinkles, I would say she is in her eighties or more. But it may be puzzling... in certain circumstances, all of this can be changed by the way of life.
You also ask us to tell you what we see on rings around her waist. I'm not sure, but it seems to have a kind of interaction with her skin there?
I am puzzled too!
danyy (0) 2009-06-04 23:05
sujet 100% TE bien photographié et focus sur le sujet.
Entourée de la fraicheur des teintes de la végétation, la photo est très plaisante et fait honneur à cette vétérante qui a sans doute pas mal de choses à nous apprendre sur son pays.
emka (89461) 2009-06-04 23:14
hi Bill, Strange looking is this your girl. Nice portrait of the old lady. She is so thin, a bit unproportional for our standards. very delicate photo.
bakes888 (18499) 2009-06-05 0:26
Hi Bill. Good to see some of the past is still surviving, but you are right how such things are disappearing, slowly but inexorably. Nice portrait, good handling of light and colours. Well composed and thanks for sharing.
Have a good weekend, Paul.
Nicou (133510) 2009-06-05 1:29
merveilleux portrait de cette vielle dame, au mileu de la végétation, avec l'or au bas des jambes, quelle image, superbe.
Bravo et amitié
skippy007 (12510) 2009-06-05 1:57
Hello Bill, A very beautiful old woman with a face full of character, I would love to be there with you & meet these people, it would be very interesting to hear their stories almost worth thinking about having an interpreter come along. They have lived there for so long that it is a pity to move them even though the relocation process may be smooth. For my sake lets hope they move closer & not further, 5 hours walk, uphill not sure the old body accustomed to sitting down will cope but after seeing this I will start my training immediately. Nice work, beautiful portrait of a very special Lady.
Loved your note,
What is she wearing around her waist???, Her age? must be in her 80s at a guess.
PS, got your name correct this time but not sure about everything else. ;-)).
wolf38 (31284) 2009-06-05 7:50
Hello Bill. A special and not everyday photo. It is impressing in its intensity. The exemplary text is adequate to the picture. My acknowledgment for this achievement. Regards, Wolfgang.
CMJC (4036) 2009-06-05 9:51
Bill, your meeting with this women must have bee a great time for you! her face said us she is happy.
yes the framing and the light are not the best but no mater, that is not the subject...
what is important is her peacefull attitude and that she is looking at your and at ours with something saying "that's me and I have a simple and hard but also plaisant live, I don't want more; living so is my way"
Kielia (24077) 2009-06-05 10:58
a portrait and a note in the best spirit of TE. Thanks for sharing this soul touching document from a world so far away from our ways of life. She is a character, wearing this incredible mix of clothes with a strong attitude. She really radiates dignity! Concerning your question about the rings around her waist I have a vague idea that it has something to do with a bathroom. But I would be grateful if you could clear up this matter for me.
bukitgolfb301 (38528) 2009-06-05 14:30
Hello my dear Bill
Nice documentary shot and inter sting story.
I envy in your country, Malaysia, you could encounter such a unique ethnic people.
Thanks for sharing and best regards,
delpeoples (56054) 2009-06-05 17:40
Hi Bill, thanks for sharing with us this intriguing lady, a part of history which is being eroded away. I think the quality of the photo is good, but the message it sends - a pride in one's culture and history - is what TE is all about. Excellent job, have a good weekend my friend, Lisa.
axiotea (21649) 2009-06-05 19:28
yes, she is very special! especially when considering the traditional people like her(all over the world) are disappearing...
I can not give her an age, maybe she is not so old...I can easily imagine how tough is the life for these people -
I think 'your' special model is just well positioned in this green environment including bamboos which are pleasant to look at!
Have a nice day
mafegan (8624) 2009-06-05 20:25
A photogenic woman with an interesting mixture of clothing and decoration. Well captured. Tfs, Marlene3
everlasting (14734) 2009-06-05 22:56
A daily life composition in the true spirit of TE together with your informative and touching note.
I have no idea what she wears around her waist - I could say a shower slang. But I like the way she looks and poses wearing this incredible mix of clothes and jewels.
ymrk (15047) 2009-06-05 23:34
Very dramatic portrait,bill.I've read for your notes while i've been affected,really.
The paradise underground,only frame,and you've a perfect viewpoint!
Take care of yourself,warm wishes!
Cretense (68695) 2009-06-06 3:07
Excellent portrait job, very interesting picture, straight in the spirit of TE, accompanied by an excellent note! Great framing, simple but effective composition, great light managment! Excellent "documentary" photo! Congratulations!
Atousa (7131) 2009-06-06 8:05
Happy you had success to see her n take the shot of this special lady..I like the choice of vertical framing although I liked it to be a bit wider.. its great that the trail is seen behind her ..very interesting are her ornaments n her dress..thanks for sharing.
Best regards, Atousa
stego (24132) 2009-06-06 8:07
In a way, the way she dresses and her expression has a breath of youth rather than old.
It's a great portrait. I actually like the way you put her in the right, letting the path come from the corner and go inside the image diagonally. Her body inclination helps the compo here. You did a wonderful job with the light, we almost forget she is in the shadow and there is much sun on the BG.
jlbrthnn (76037) 2009-06-07 5:38
I appreciate this beautiful and moving history. This image is a safeguard of a piece of humanity and a nice homage with an ignored old woman, worthy of respect and regard. The portrait is natural and spontaneous. Congratulations.
Have a nice day
Budapestman (82620) 2009-06-07 7:47
You took a splendid portrait with attractive composition. Excellent colours and lights, suggestive work. Tfs! Have a nice Sunday!
paura (47186) 2009-06-07 9:25
Quite interesting photography. Excellent technical setting to show to all us the beautiful portrait. Thanks for sharing.
PixelTerror (0) 2009-06-07 10:28
Despite the technical flaws a very nice memory of this remote encounter and for us even farther away a good LATW value picture
Have a nice day JY
fanni (14381) 2009-06-07 23:19
this is a very curious portrait - and a very well composed shot! Her face looks a bit dark (at least on my monitor) but still I can make out everything... let alone those rings around her waist, which you mentioned specially. I wonder if they can be unfastened or if she's been wearing them since her childhood??
But I'm afraid I can't guess her age, sorry! Appearance often is very deceptive, especially in those areas where life is hard for people.
Warmest wishes from Moscow,
siolaw (38292) 2009-06-07 23:56
The light and weather may not have helped you, but 'your special girl' is worth the picture! Framing is good in her daily natural environment and well off centered.
Greeting from Paris
Waylim (25444) 2009-06-08 18:52
Another very compelling and moving shot, I love your shot of people, because your interest in the cultures, you creat an emotional connection with you model, you're not just snap their photo and run, even when there is not much time. Unfortunately the way of life of many tribe are disappearing, as they too slowly evolve as they have more access to the civilization.
Great daily shot, good details, I love the face that is full of wrinkle and each one has a story behind of happy and sad time. Thanks
pierrefonds (61938) 2009-06-09 4:54
You have captured well the hapiness expression of the wowan. The portrait pointy of view is showing the deatils and colors of her. The durve of the path is an asset to the composition. Even with the back light effet it did not affect to much the colors. Well done, have a nice day.
jusninasirun (17162) 2009-06-12 18:28
This is just amazing. Top class tall frame in so much details. I like the setting around here and how you have managed the light and shadow. Brilliantly executed and TFS. Just curious on how you get them to pose - I am not good at asking :-(
Flavia (10352) 2009-06-15 8:28
Nice portrait. The way yu included the trek path works. She is a beautiful lady full of stories in her face. Her clothes are interesting as it shows the mix of traditional and modern, the way these people are caught in between this two worlds...
marietom (34609) 2009-06-15 12:43
Joli portrait, de cette femme au visage expressif.
erdna (5711) 2009-06-17 20:41
You are doing very good photography and reporting. Youre series on Sarawak is exceptional.
Glint (6171) 2009-08-26 7:46
I have just viewed another Sarawak "girl" uploaded by Swedish member Gert (holmertz), taken in 1976. Like Gert's girl, your girl has an open and honest expression.There is so much of interst here; her dress and adornmen, her relative good health for her age and the jungle backdrop.I enjoyed reading your interstingand informative note.
danos (92654) 2009-12-12 0:30
really a nice reportage portrait of this native old woman from Sarawak county.A great pose and a representative sample of the jungle's people that is a world that is lost. Informative your note as well.
Have a nice weekend,Danos
bayno (18344) 2011-10-19 23:45
Hi Bill, beautiful portrait, the old girl is unique, her clothing is very special, its friendly expression, good framing, excellent sharpness, have a nice day, Valter
- Copyright: Bill Laucp (trekks) (14348)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2009-06-02
- Categories: Daily Life, Festivals
- Camera: Nikon D80, Tamron SP AF 17-50 mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD, 2Gb SD
- Exposure: f/6.3, 1/160 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Travelogue: 2009Gawai trip to Kpg Semban
- Date Submitted: 2009-06-04 8:10
- Favorites: 2 [view]