Welcome to the Weekend – Phuket

Snazzy eh? ^^ ūüėČ

I figured it was probably time to learn how to put images in words in Photoshop… voila! Google to the rescue.I spent the past three days in Phuket with the executive management team of Buffalo Tours – the same travel company that previously brought me to Om Goi and Cambodia. Their annual general meeting was hosted at Cape Panwa Resort, a beautiful hotel on the South Eastern tip of Phuket where we stayed for three nights.

I, was obviously not there for the meetings, but rather,¬†to shoot interviews and footage for their internal Responsible Travel Tourism video that’ll be shown to update all employees on the coming environmental and social¬†changes within the company. What’s unique about Buffalo Tours is that their employees REALLY DO care about making a difference. They’re all passionate individuals who enjoy what they do, love where they are and simply wish for others to enjoy South East Asia. (I promise that they didn’t tell me to say this). So, if you’re not from the area and are looking for a tour within Asia, look no further.

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Half the time I was sitting in on meetings/filming

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How the other 1/2 of my time was spent (no complaints here)

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I somehow managed to accidentally delete 3/4 of all the photos I took during our cruise… so here are the ones that survived + screenshots from videos. woops!

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Our mini Loy Kratong celebration

old town phuket

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gahhhh such a sucker for houses like these

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Scavenger hunt (which we won, hurrah!)

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The wonderful executive head team

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The team in Phuket

A big thank you (once again) to Buffalo Tours for taking amazing care of me on not one but three occasions. The video will be out soon and I can’t wait to work with all of you again in the near future! ūüôā

– JM
Last week in CM before back to BKK – T – 20 days till Europe!

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Had my fair share of seafood in the South

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BURMESE FOOD

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Recently discovered a Chicken Biryani food stall kajhfahsf ‚̧

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It’s been smoggy in Chiang Mai. Just a bit. To the point where if I go on a morning bike ride, my eyes start to burn from the pollution. Lovely.
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Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival

Hello all!
I’m currently sitting in the Bangkok Airways lounge, watching the rain drip down the glass walls of the Suvarnabhumi airport as¬†Roo Panes¬†croons¬†through my headphones. After having just polished off half of the free food in this wonderful lounge, I’ll now attempt to blog about the past three weeks rather than continue to absentmindedly¬†stare¬†at the rain outside. (Yes, indie music always has that effect and yes, I’ll also explain why I’m in Bangkok and not in Chiang Mai.)

(PSA to all Documentary Arts Asia interns: February is coming to an end so we can all take a giant sigh of relief.)

At Documentary Arts Asia, we put on two separate, yet intertwined photo documentary festivals in February.

Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival¬†–¬†only the first week of Feb., many events in the space of a week, movie screenings every night, more ‘intense’ festival for photographers/artists, distinguished guests, etc.

F/28 Month of Photography¬†–¬†The whole month of Feb.,¬†events are more (physically and time wise) more spread out in Chiang Mai, try to engage wider CM community rather than only prof. photogs., (ex: Instagram photo of the day challenge)

Might I also add that DAA completely relies on volunteer/intern support… meaning that we¬†managed to put on a pretty stellar festival without any funding! And while there were definitely moments of frustration, it was still impressive that we pulled off a legit festival without any $$ large backing $$.

As all the interns have different roles and responsibilities, my ‘official title’ for the festival was¬†‘Media Coordinator’¬†– which basically describes the person who captures photo/video content from all events, manages and uploads this material, promotes it to no end on different social media platforms and also runs different social media accounts (insta., fb). Luckily in my position, I was able to use my creativity to find various ways to promote the festival and engage the general public. One of the ways I did so was by creating a summary video for every single day of CDAF (one week). This forced me to take decent footage everyday as well as organise and use it that¬†VERY DAY.¬†By challenging myself, I not only engaged and promoted the festival, but also improved my own time management and ability to work under pressure (videos down below) (Y)

If you take a look at the photos below, you’ll have a glimpse of everything that happened in a month.. which was quite a lot.¬†There were amazing opportunities to¬†learn and see incredible work as well as¬†meet a range of¬†world renowned and aspiring¬†photographers, so thank you to everyone who participated!

Chiang Mai Documentary arts festival
(Feb 1-7)

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Setting up different exhibits at 3 Kings Monument
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Daily movie screening at DAA’s new center that’s under current construction
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Photojourn exhibit opening with Q&A session with photographers

F/28
(month of feb.)

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Annual International Photo Awards Auction with Hossein Farmani, founder of IPA and Lucie Awards
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Q&A session with Philip Blenkinsop
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Annual auction
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‘A Street Odyssey’ by Philip Blenkinsop
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‘Mountain Schools’
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‘My Asian Heart’ movie screening
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Video Drones workshop
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IPA Awards
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Skype Q&A session with photographer Noriko Hayashi
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Skype Q&A session with’ Hounds of Hope’ photographer Julie McGuire
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Print exchange
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Opening party at Alliance Francaise – Paris Photo Prize & visual installation
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Portfolio reviews by Ryan Libre
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Portfolio Reviews by Korean Director Month of Documentary Photography
So why am I in Bangkok? (transiting in the airport?)

Well, turns out that the educational travel tour company that I traveled to Om Goi for really liked the work I produced, so they asked me to travel with them again but this time to Cambodia ūüôā I’ll be in Siem Reap and the surrounding countryside for a week, stopping in BKK for 2 days and then back to Chiang Mai. Very very thankful and happy to be able to travel, photograph and create new adventures without breaking the bank :3

Alright, probably shouldn’t miss this flight. Thanks for reading!
– JM

Welcome to the Weekend – Chang Waeng

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After seeing numerous Instagrams of people candidly posing against a pink, violet and rose colored hillside, I couldn’t help but make last weekend’s¬†plans based around seeing the Cherry Blossoms. There are multiple places one can go to¬†find these mystical colorful flowers (that only bloom for 2-3 months) but I decided that the best bet for my mom and I would be¬†Chang Waeng

Seeing as Chang Waeng is only a hour’s drive from Chiang Mai,¬†the plan was to¬†jump on a song taew early in the morn to pass the first wave of tourists. Great plan! Unfortunately, a 100 other Thai tourists conceived the exact same brilliant idea.

Getting there was A-okay, no problem. Unless of course, you’re terrified of speed driving up steep hill faces and in that case just skip the whole trip. Luckily, I had to acclimate to steep speed driving during my¬†family’s perilous drive to Sikkim, India, where we endured two 6 hour drives (within 48 hours) on a incredibly¬†rocky, cliff dangling, one lane road… yup, still figuring out how we survived that one.

The trees were in full bloom and the¬†landscape was undoubtedly beautiful, but what ruined it for me was us – the people. And¬†by people, I mean the masses of (I hate to generalize, but it’s true) selfie-stick wielding tourists attempting to take new FB profile pics. Half the time, everyone was on their phones, uploading photos or texting, and not actually paying attention to the natural beauty that immediately surrounded them. This might just be me… but why would you spend the energy and money to travel somewhere wonderful if you just end up on your phone the whole time?

Lesson learned – if you’re looking to photograph a place, especially landscape photography, put extra time into going somewhere more secluded….¬†or just be really really really patient.

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What beautiful landscape with no one there to spoil it
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I think I photobombed at least 20 photos #sorrynotsorry
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Guy on the right exhausted from #overselfiesyndrome
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The only way to keep me sane

doi Pui hill tribe village

Mom and I also quickly stopped at the commercialized hill tribe village of Doi Pui village to grab lunch. We found that they had opium, hill tribe rental garb, and ridiculous photo opps for everyone to enjoy.
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gosh so close
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Mom intrigued by le opium
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2 hours later and you get a really unamused daughter
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Pit stop at doi suthep on the way back

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So far this weekend, everyone at Documentary Arts Asia has been PACKED prepping for Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival and F/28 Month of Photography! Without a doubt, I’ll be too busy here in Chiang Mai to take off for a day in the countryside, however I don’t mind as I’m incredibly excited for our festivals –> check them out here –>
cdaf.asia
f-28.org

Happy Saturday!
-JM

Welcome to the Weekend – Doi Suthep

Om Goi

Our arrival in Om Goi wasn’t announced by a road sign or a catchy touristy poster but rather by the sound of hushed giggles in nearby bushes. ¬†Emerging from the undergrowth, multiple pair of eyes peeked out from the undergrowth to reveal a whole jumble of kids hidden within. Evidently eager about our visit, many of the local kids had gathered all along the road to¬†greet us into their homes.
Welcome to Om Goi I suppose?
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Last week, I traveled as the ‘photographer intern’ for Educational Travel Asia to a remote Karen hill tribe village in Northern Thailand. Coincidently enough, all of the students and teachers going were from NIST, an international school in Bangkok that had been my high school’s friendly rivals. So over the course of four days, I hitched along with the other 22 students, 3 teachers and 4 local guides to document our time spent in Om Goi.

I will admit that before the trip, I was anxious at the thought of jumping into an unknown group of students and having to constantly take their photos. Personally, I just feel more comfortable photographing strangers on the street over a handful of high school seniors. Noting this, I figured that if worse comes to worse and I found it impossible to connect with anyone, I’d still try to get the best shots by sticking to myself and completely delving into my photography. Trying to get the best shots was why I was there right? On one hand, yes, but luckily for me, I didn’t have to stick by plan B.
Simply put, I struck gold with the company on the trip. From the students and teachers, to the local ETA leaders and Om Goi villagers, everyone made me feel right at home even though on paper, I was literally just another body/liability/mouth-to-feed/free-spot-on-the-bus. Despite the genuinely shared concern over the sanity of my upbringing at ISB, I was blown away by how welcoming everyone was!
On a side note, this trip also reconfirmed how creating new relationships and gaining the trust of others will completely kick the door open for photo opportunities (Y)
So overall, 10/10 for company and photo opps.

3 hour ride from the¬†Northern city of Chiang Mai to the small village of Om Goi¬†–> 3 hour hike to the¬†local Karen hill tribe village of Om Goi
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End of the hike/arrival in the Karen hill tribe village of Om Goi
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Different return route on the last day – scenic rice terraces and semi dense woods
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¬†As we were the 4th NIST student group to visit, there was already a strong relationship built between the villagers and NIST community. In fact, a few of the students have been on all 4 trips and even planned to return for future ones! Previous¬†need & analysis projects had already been implemented¬†to improve the villagers’ quality of life in a sustainable and manageable manner with past projects including the¬†construction/completion of¬†toilets, water filter, etc.
This time,¬†we built the foundation of a communal water storage tank that’ll be useful in the coming dry months.
Lastly, a big hurrah¬†to those in the NIST community who’ve put time into the Om Goi projects. Even from an outsider’s perspective, it’s¬†seemingly evident¬†that the changes made have positively impacted the community.
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Final thanks to the Educational Tours Asia staff for allowing me to help out as well as the NIST group for making it such a memorable time. I only wish we could have had more time!
– JM

Road Trip – Cannon Beach

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CANNON BEACH
I am back in Bangkok and reunited with my dog, friends and family, and cheap, delicious Thai food.

To say that I’m ecstatic to be home would be an understatement – but I will also inevitably miss Portland and the Pacific North West.
Deviating from my original plans, I’ve actually decided to spend next semester (or the first three months) in Chiang Mai, the largest city in Northern Thailand instead of Portland. I’ll explain why I made this decision in a later¬†blog post, but just know that I’m PSYCHED¬†to live in Chiang Mai!

The photos here are from a quick trip out to Cannon Beach with Kat and Dad when the weather wasn’t as optimal as we had hoped. Nevertheless, it still made for a good trip and some misty, eerie photos ūüôā

– JM

p.s. PDX magazine just released the article that I, as their intern, wrote for them! T’was my last assignment for them and is also my first published piece of writing ūüôā
http://pdxmag.com/archives/3727

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Woops sorry Kat! It’s hard selfie-ing with a 35 mm lens…
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^^infamous haystack formation ^^

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sporting my new $3 soviet communist hat
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“The Wanderlusting Alpaca”
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Alpaca Fun Fact: Alpacas and llamas can cross-breed and create an offspring called the huarizo, which are valued for their longer fleece.