Guyana, as well as the wider Caribbean, has long had problems with pirated or bootlegged music, software, and movies; I know its a worldwide problem, but I can only speak to a localized perspective.

I like to think that its lessened in recent years, with the advent of streaming and subscription services, etc., although I suspect I’m wrong. Dave Martins, leader of the famed Tradewinds band, wrote a song called Copycats, and although it dealt more with the West Indian habit of adopting foreign habits, accents and mannerisms, it nevertheless pointed out our habit of copying. Dave himself is very disillusioned since copies of Tradewinds music can be found all over, and this, of course, means little income to him in terms of sales and royalties.

In Guyana, the idea of robust Intellectual Property (IP) legislation has been floated, toyed with, promised, and neglected by several administrations, and this not only lends to the piracy but somewhat emboldens it. Without IP legislation it is extremely difficult to enforce copyright, and the government knows this, and the artists feel it, every day.

Despite a good and productive music sector, a dynamic visual arts sector, and a growing performance arts sector, IP Legislation seems but a spectre on the horizon, as seen at midnight, in a mist shrouded rainforest. As photographers we see a regular “appropriation” of our images in the local media, some photographers are lucky enough to get back from those agencies who did so, but others do not. I’ve been asked many times, and have often allowed the use of an image for no monetary recompense, but with attribution, I’ve sometimes gotten a small fee, its that kind of world.

As time has gone by, many agencies seek out the photographers, and ask permission, and offer to license the image, a positive sign in a dismal marketplace. One instance that still rankles with me is when one of my images was used for a local publication, and when the publisher was approached, I was told that it was not my image, and that I had nothing to get; I was eventually urged by a lawyer to not pursue it, as it was unlikely to net me anything in the long run.

The Bootleg Scene – 23-0001 | Shot with DXO ONE Camera

In the meantime, we can still stop and get the newest or oldest, favourite songs and movies from an assortment of vendors; and in my favour, this particular one made for a decent street photo.

Keep Shooting folks! Click the image to see it in the Gallery along with other Street Photography Images.

After one time, is another!

After one time, is another! I grew up hearing this phrase, usually from my mother or grand-mother. I figure it must be a Guyanese saying, I can’t seem to find it online in any other writings. I think the basic meaning is “What applied yesterday may not apply today (or tomorrow)”

I had taken this photo in May 2020, which was a relatively short time after the COVID-19 Pandemic had struck in Guyana, the mask mandate was in force but many were still skeptical about the whole thing, in the countryside you could find many who didn’t believe it existed.

In terms of Street photography, it takes me several decision making moments to actually take photos like this, up close, and with very identifiable people (um, relatively speaking), once decided its a no-brainer, most times the shot is worth it. Afterwards, in processing, that decision still weighs heavily on me, I am never very confident in sharing many street photos, there’s something vulnerable about them that causes the hesitancy. Many a time, I’d look at the image and decide not to share, then after revisiting some time later (often years later), decide to go ahead; I figure there’s a right time for some things, and now feels right to share this one.

Half Chicken Chow-Mein! 20-0682 | Shot with DXO ONE Camera

If he had shown up at the restaurant looking like this only a few months back, the reaction of the owners/staff as well as patrons would have been quite different, but this was now the new normal. A tied handkerchief or bandana instead of the then-costly recommended N95 masks, and top it off with sunshades and a cap, in 2019 that would have screamed “Bandit”, in 2020, just someone trying to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines and get served his order of a half-chicken chow-mein.

After one time, is another!

Keep shooting, and click on the image to see it in the gallery with other Street photos.

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.


Supermarkets are usually very busy places, especially during the hours I can shop in them.  During this time when people are trying to practice social distancing, its probably not surprising that I can actually get shots that are not too “busy” 🙂

Wet Floor – 20-0812

Cleaning (and hopefully sanitizing) the shopping environment.

Chill – 20-0810

What caught my attention here was the slight distortion that the cold frosted door caused to the image of the man there as opposed to the clarity of the man beyond the door.

Packing – 20-0822

Tilted images are not my thing, but sometimes they are necessary and sometimes they work.


Some people can’t leave their children at home, so it becomes necessary to take them into potentially dangerous areas.  Who would have thought that we would ever describe a supermarket as a potentially dangerous area…

Inside supermarkets are not easy to shoot, at least not for me, the lighting is not optimal, being relatively low light, especially in narrow aisles, the diversity of images may not be as ideal as out on the streets, and the space tends to be cramped, luckily, these allowed for some space due to a sparsity of people. 🙂

As you might notice, there is no prevalence of masks, not because Guyanese are conscious of the actual dangers of that, or the possible benefits, but because its not part of our preventative measure, just like staying at home isn’t….

The WHO recently reiterated its position on who should wear masks and when, as always, its about educating ourselves on these things.

Click on the images to see them in the Gallery along with other photographs “In the Streets”.

Around the Block

Yesterday I decided to literally take a walk around the block, just to see how the COVID-19 and its repercussions might be affecting the neighbourhood (my work neighbourhood, that is).   So as not to waste the opportunity, I walked with my DXO camera as well.

As street photography goes, nothing great, but a few decent ones 🙂


You probably can’t see it, but in that vendor’s section is some Nenwah Husk, used my many a Guyanese as a body scrub.


Being the lone Chinese walking around I kinda attract unnecessary attention, this lady kept a close eye as I walked by; good thing I didn’t sneeze or cough.

Ras – 20-0785

This rastafarian on crutches carefully made his way along the pavement, but was very observant of all the stalls he passed, might have been looking for Nenwa. 🙂

Mango – 20-0786

In her hand is a bag of sliced green Mango, I can only assume that maybe it also had “loud pepper and salt”

Gyaff – 20-0787

Almost as if COVID-19 were not on our shores, these gentlemen were busy “gyaffing” and the topic as I passed was all politics, aka GECOM-20

Less people than normal during midday, but still enough, and as you can see, not much social distancing occurring.

Click on the images to see them in the Gallery along with other images “In the Streets”

Five for the weekend

The powers that be decided to declare Elections Day in Guyana a national holiday, so we have a long weekend.

I decided to share five photos from my last month’s walking about, whether you see anything in them that appeals, or shows diversity, I can say that these show people, the quintessential “man in the street”, or if we’re going to be politically correct, “person in the street”, the people who will be affected by the outcome of Monday’s vote, and any events that may occur because of the elections, the parties and the electorate’s response.   These are the people for whom “life goes on”, regardless of what happens.

Babies Day Out - 20-0528
Babies Day Out – 20-0528

20-0539 | Church St, Georgetown, Guyana

20-0551 | Coconut Vendor on Main Street, Georgetown, Guyana

20-0557 | Robb Street, Georgetown, Guyana

20-0558 | Robb Street and Avenue of the Republic, Georgetown, Guyana

Hope you like one or two of those.  Click on them to see them in the Collection along with many more images  from my album “In The Streets”

Back in the Streets

I’ve been out of circulation for a while, many things have happened and life has moved on.  I’m trying to get back to some sort of “normal”, and one way was to start back my midday walking, so I went out for a short walk (much shorter than usual) to dip my toes in the water 🙂

Over the years, I’ve gotten used to walking with come device to capture images while I walk, whether its a full DSLR camera, a mobile phone or the DXO One that I have for such walks.  There are times I walk and never take a photo, and there are times that I take many but never use any, then there are the other times that I take some and get a few keepers.

Chicos y bolsos – 20-0489

The thing about Street Photography, and something many still don’t understand, is that its not about photographs in the streets, its about people.  It’s about people and the environment, whether they are identifiable or not is unimportant, its their way of dress, or their way of walking, their antics or the way they “pose” as in lean on a post or sit on a chair, its about their behaviour in a crowd, or among others, or by themselves – its about life, the life that they show, the life that is implied, the life that we see as a photographer,and the life that you see as a viewer.

Partaking of the Harvest – 20-0492

For my part in taking street photography, I try to be outside of the events, not interacting with the subjects,but inevitably there will be some interaction, being of mixed ancestry with an outwardly predominant asian visage, I tend to get noticed on the streets 🙂  Using a discrete device to capture images does help minimise the likelihood of the subjects being aware that they are being photographed, and thereby preserving the scene.  There are many times when I’ve watched Nikhil interact with people, then take their photos, and the results are usually quite amazing, but that’s just not me, so what works for him and others, don’t work for me, and vice versa.

Charlie Brown makes me laugh – 20-0501

I don’t consider myself a good street photographer, I do have an understanding of the genre, but I definitely place my images way below those of many other local “street togs”, but sometimes I have a few that I think are worth sharing  🙂

Hope you like them, click on them to see them in the Gallery along with other images “In the Streets”.