Back to the Market

Practicing Street Photography in a market is good way to get into it, especially if your choice of street photography is candid and geared toward images with lots of “life” in them. I have found that it has its setbacks as well as its advantages, as does everything.

If you are not a regular visitor to the market, you will likely stand out, making it more difficult to take those candid shots, more difficult to remain unobtrusive, and less likely to get those shots that you see; you and your camera will stand out. Its important to remember that, while taking photographs in public is legally permissible, its important to respect others, especially if they look you in the eye and say “don’t take my photo”, simply smile and say “no problem”, a smile will often defuse most situations.

Untitled 22-2129 – Shot with DXO ONE Camera

In the haste to get some shots, I may come away with a less than desirable image, it may be crooked (sometimes fixable by rotating), it may be that feet get chopped off, or it may be a little soft, not quite as sharp as I’d like, but sometimes, the content of the image is enough that some of these are forgivable or that they may even add interest to the image; sometimes, very rarely, a bad image is sometimes just a bad image.

All Walks – 22-2116 – Shot with DXO ONE Camera

On the plus side, most market goers are busy checking the produce and looking at what’s on display, and may not notice that camera in your hands; market vendors, as well as regular patrons may be busily engaged in passing conversation, or discussions on the produce and price, and your camera may pass by unmentioned.

After walking a few times through these busy markets, you will likely get the hang of it, and may even come out with a few images that you’ll like. I sometimes come away with some I love, with more than a few that are acceptable, and lots of ones that never see the light of day.

Prrickly – 22- 2131 – Shot with DXO ONE Camera

Street Photography isn’t the sub-genre for everyone, and even in that sub-genre there are different styles and techniques, approaches and processing methods that help each photographer stand out. Stepping into the streets to take photographs was very daunting to me, but over the years its gotten a tad bit easier. I always thought of myself as more of a seascape, cityscape, landscape type photographer, those scenes tended to be devoid of people; in taking photographs during the Mashramani celebrations over the years steered me to the vibrance and life-filled frames that are possible – and although I prefer black and white street photographs, some scene will lend themselves to colour better.

Keep shooting and sharing folks! Click on the images to see them in the gallery along with other Street Photography Images.


Recently (December 14, 2022), Fidal shared a post on the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group, about a crowd funded Book project by well-known street photographer Nils Jorgensen, and it surprised me to see that the Kickstarted campaign had failed to raise enough pledges to complete the project in the time allotted.

On the page promoting the book, Nothing, Like Something, it has a portion that says:

“Street photography is the purest form of photography, stripped to its barest minimum; you, a camera and what you see.  A mundane scene, an everyday event in an ordinary setting, can be transformed into an image which may be humorous, sad, surreal or simply graphic.”

Nils Jorgensen –

Now, while I don’t personally go for the many images Nils has of just leg portions, his take on street photography is distinct and worth looking at, and sharing. Many of them can individually generate trains of thought that blossom into stories, conjured from a simple single image.

If Nils, with his thousands of social media followers, his skillfully taken photos, his ability to tell a story in monochrome or colour, can fail to garner the funds for a book project, what chances have we?

This brings me to our own local scene, I have often played with the idea, and discarded many a plan simply because I don’t think my work is good enough, and more often than not because of the capital required for such projects, without crowd-funding. Recently I was thrilled to see a book published by local photographer Keno George, as he explained it, it was funded by a grant from the Government of Guyana. The book is a magnificent piece of work that tells the story of the 2018 No Confidence Motion in Guyana’s Parliament. The photography is top notch, as I’ve come to expect from Keno, and the production is definitely above par for local artistes. I’ve always thought of Keno as an exceptional PhotoJouralist, although his work covers more than just that, but his eye for images on the streets or during a tumultuous event is uncanny. I encourage you to check the book out, buy it online or through him directly. One regret for me is the lack of captions (even a reference at the back of the book) to indicate names of people in the photos, for the less politically educated and for historical reference.

I hope to see more photographers dip their toes into the realm of published works, other than the works of Robert J. Fernandes (Bobby), and that of Rex Lucas, there are few is any others that avidly represent our genre adequately. Bobby’s work was instrumental in showing many of us parts of Guyana that we thought we’d never see, and through the eye of a skilled photographer, Rex’s work pull’s at the strings that releases nostalgia among the diaspora more than locals. There are, of course, other books , such as that by world-renowned photographer Pete Oxford, as well as one that I’ve mentioned before by James Broscombe (still a favourite of mine)

As in the years leading up to 2020, we now approach 2023, we are at a crossing, what path we take determines not only our own involvement with the art of photography, but also the impact we can have on the art itself, its local development, and upon other photographers, those already established and known as well as those upcoming and striving to make their own mark.

I’ve always been more known for my landscapes and seascapes, but in the course of my photographic journey, I have developed a love for street photography as well, though my images pale in comparison to other local street photographer, they are no less demonstrative of life in Guyana, I share one with you that I took in 2020, perhaps only days before mask mandates went into effect for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crossing – 20-0666 – © Michael C. Lam – Shot with DXO ONE Camera

To my fellow photographers, visual artists, whatever you wish to refer to yourselves as, keep shooting, keep sharing!

Click on the image above to see it in the Gallery along with other Street photographs. Feel free to comment, every response is a chance for me to learn as well.

Bad Boy

I haven’t been out to the seawalls in a while, I should do something about that!

This one was take a couple years back, came across it this morning going through the catalog for 2020, I processed it and exported, and its only when I started typing this blog post that I realised that its a decent-ish Street Photograph. There are Street ‘togs who would seek to contrive something similar by waiting for the right moment, it just so happens this one was accidental in a way, I actually paid no attention tot he writing on the wall, I was focused on the tyre, the wall and the approaching boy on his bicycle.

Bad Boy – 20-3414
Annandale Seawall, East Coast Demerara

Even after realising the Street Photography nature of the image, I would still keep it in my Seawall Folder 🙂 Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other Seawall Images.

Coastal Sunrise

One of those so-called “Rules” about using your camera correctly is that you should not point your camera directly towards the sun. Other than the obvious effect of probably blinding you, its also to protect your gear, but sometimes, you have to just ignore that. In order to get a decent Sundog photo, you have no choice.

Likewise with Sunrises and even sunsets, sometimes you compose with the sun off-centre, other times you may think the centrally placed sun works better.

A rising sun on a reasonable clear morning can be very bright when seen through the viewfinder of a DSLR 🙂

Rio Sol – 20-7859
An East Coast Sunrise

The tide was out that morning, so I was able to get down to the seashore level.

Most areas where there’s a Koker (Sluice), even at an early morning hour, you’ll find some people at various tasks, whether they be fishermen, devotees come to do a Puja, someone washing articles of clothing, or just folks out to enjoy the sunrise.

Fisherman Sunrise – 20-7852

Of course, there’s always the nutcases like us who were out there to take photographs, sometimes we come away with just good memories, and other times we come away with a few images we’d like to share.

Click on the images to see them in the Gallery along with other images that I dropped into an Album called “Up East”.

The Koker and the Lighthouse

I suppose that the longstanding Lighthouse in Kingston Georgetown can now be considered defunct, or is it? It has stood for almost 200 years (build in 1830 by the British, replacing a previous Dutch wooden structure that was built in 1817), and served its purpose well, right up until the Guyana Marriott Hotel opened its doors in 2015. The Marriott Hotel surpassed the height of the Lighthouse effectively blocking it from view from the Ocean.

At the top of the Marriott there can be seen a glass encased structure, that now serves as he beacon for sea-faring vessels.

The Lighthouse still stands as a landmark and falls under the care of the National Trust of Guyana.

The Koker and the Lighthouse – 20-7311 – Water Street,
Kingston, Georgetown.

The Lighthouse’s iconic vertical red and white stripes makes it an instantly recognisable landmark, I am sure I am not the first to frame it this way, and certainly wont be the last.


Sometimes even images I select in a seemingly random way often tend to have a theme of sorts running through them. I was processing these and uploading, when I noticed a theme of sorts, or maybe I was just stretching it 🙂

I took these in 2020, for us that would have been considered first wave COVID-19 I suppose.

Vendor – 20-0836 – Avenue of the Republic, Georgetown, Guyana.
Shot with DXO ONE
Purple Power Defence – 20-0838, Water Street, Georgetown.
Shot with DXO ONE
Brazo’s – 20-0840 – Water Street, Georgetown
Shot with DXO ONE
Checkout – 20-0832 – Wonderful Shopping Mall, Good Hope, ECD.
Shot with DXO ONE

Time to checkout, click on the images to see them in the Gallery along with other Street Photography

Lamaha Canal Koker

Koker at Lamaha Canal – 20-7271

Maybe because of the narrowness of Water street at this point, or for some other reason, this Koker stands out, alone across the canal, I’ve known it for most of my life, passed it many times, even photographed it from a distance a few times (from High Street), it was only when I was actually walking here (its a lonely area, so its not something I’ve done before) that I walked past it and noticed that to the south of it there’s actually a smaller Koker alongside a pump station.

Koker and Pump – 20-7287 – at Water Street, Lamaha Canal section

According to the koker / pump attendant, there are actually multiple waterways, not just the large Canal we usually see, and the kokers were used together to control the flow. This older one does not operate anymore, its been broken and not repaired. The pump was in working condition, the attendant was happy to talk to us and explain things.

Attendant – 20-7289

The jobs the koker / pump attendants do are quite important to a city like Georgetown, which lies about 6 feet below sea-level, often we see flooding and blame them (the attendants), but its not always just their fault (sometimes it is), our city’s drains are usually clogged with trash from our very own citizens, or overgrown with weeds, and I’ve recently seen the works by our very own government who filled in a large drainage canal (which had gotten quite clogged over the years) to make walkways, or more like a promenade.

Our drainage system was developed way back in colonial times under the Dutch and British, and the capacity was calculated to accommodate certain types of rainfalls, today we have a lot more rain, and it seems a lot less drainage, but sometimes, aesthetics are more important to those in power than the practicalities of daily life. (just my opinion)

Down the Aisle

I recently picked up my DXO One to start back some street photography, a genre I like but can never quite get right, and I do like the Black and White feel to many of the images I do take while trying out this particular genre.

Before, during and after the holidays, we made a few visits to various supermarkets, although many of the Chinese-owned supermarkets tend to be smaller than the larger chain ones, I’ve found that depending on when we go, its not too crowded, and during these Covid times, I feel more comfortable with less crowds, it does limit the variety of people I may get into the frame, but it also helps to simplify the frame a bit.

As with any of these things there are Pros and Cons 🙂 As I hadn’t used the DXO One in a while, my comfort with the field of view was not quite there and I got many many spoilt shots, but a few did work quite well for me.

Top Shelf – 21-1837 – Shot with DXO ONE
22-1880 – Shot with DXO ONE
Browse – 22-1881 – Shot with DXO ONE
In Colour – 22-1910 – Shot with DXO ONE

I don’t often leave Street photos in colour, but every so often I find it works well with the composition. Click on the images to see them in the Gallery with other images “In the Streets”

Footprints and the Flag

I typed the Title line at the top of this post and could not help thinking about the Insurrection in America almost a year ago. I was looking at the photo I am sharing and saw the footprints in the sand/mud that led away from the boat in the distance and headed towards shore using the Jhandi flag as a point of reference and a mark to aim for and pass, without disturbing it, and I think of some of the scenes I saw on television of that insurrection, of the trampling of people, ideals, decency and the flag. I didn’t intend to mention anything that political, but it came to mind, so I put it into words.

This scene is from an area on the East Coast of Demerara, past the large Koker at Hope, its referred to as Hope Lowlands, in the early morning the sandflies and mosquitoes eat you alive (or at least the morning we had visited, later in the morning its better, at least it was this time that I took this photo, I was out there with Fidal from 55 Photography, always good to have a photo-buddy, and the diversity in images from other folks on a walk are always great to see.

Hope Lowlands, East Coast Demerara, Guyana, South America

Hoping I get out more this year to get some photos in, my finger has been itching 😉 Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with others from my Black and White album

Rainy Market Day

A couple weekends back, I ventured out of my vehicle to try and get a few shots on the outskirts of Mon Repos market, by the time I arrived at the road junction it had begun raining, not knowing the weather resistance of the DXO, I didn’t linger too long, but I did manage to snap a few shots, and one stood out for me.

Hope you like it.

Rainy Day at Mon Repos Market – 20-1051 | DXO One Camera

By the time I arrived back at the vehicle I was almost soaked through, I don’t think the camera would have survived much longer in that weather, luckily I managed to protect it for much of the way back to the car.  🙂

Click on the image to see it in the gallery.