Evil Eye

Sri Lanka’s Lotus Tower is probably the most easily noticeable symbol of the government corruption and ineptitude that brought on the worst economic catastrophe in the island nation’s history. Ordered by former President Mahinda Rajapakse in 2012, the tower, the tallest in South Asia, and visible from practically every part of the capital, Colombo, is viewed by many as a vanity project, costing as much as $104 million to build, but with little use beyond glorifying the leadership of the former president and his party (the Sri Lanka Podujana Pakshaya’s symbol is a lotus). This photograph was taken from 5th Cross Street, in the city’s market district of Pettah, in January 2023.

• 35mm • f/4 • 1/100 • ISO6400 • R6 & RF14-35/4L •


Karawala Karayo

Dry fish merchants, surrounded by their pungent stock. Keyzer Street, Pettah. January 2023.

• 14mm • f/4 • 1/125 • ISO2500 • R6 & RF14-35/4L •

A Spot of Light Shopping in Pettah

Sri Lankans shop for rechargeable light bulbs as the country continues to face widespread power cuts for the second year running. The worst economic catastrophe in Sri Lankan history arriving amidst an already rising energy crisis has left the population struggling to run both businesses and homes. Prince Street, Colombo. January 2023.

• 35mm • f/4 • 1/80 • ISO400 • R6 & RF14-35/4L •

Evening in Pettah

Prince and 2nd Cross streets, Pettah. January 2023. If there ever had been a Tintin in Ceylon, this would be the place in one of those large illustrations a la The Calculus Affair or Tintin in Tibet.

• 14mm • f/4 • 1/100 • ISO1250 • R6 & RF14-35/4L •

Prayer Time in Pettah

Muslim men remove their footwear and enter the Memon Hanafi Mosque on 3rd Cross Street, for Friday evening prayers. Colombo, January 2023.

• 35mm • f/4 • 1/10 • ISO400 • R6 & RF14-35/4L •

Vada Time of the Day

A food cart on the corner of Prince and 2nd Cross streets sells deep fried snacks of isso vada (a sort of mini pizza topped with prawns), ulundu vada (a black gram bagel), and rotti, to the evening crush in the Colombo market district of Pettah. January 2023.

• 35mm • f/4 • 1/125 • ISO1250 • R6 & RF14-35/4L •

A Soupçon of Refreshment

Glasses of hot soup are served up from a cart on 3rd Cross Street, for labourers, vendors, and evening shoppers in Pettah. January 2023.

• 35mm • f/4 • 1/125 • ISO4000 • R6 & RF14-35/4L •

Evening Tea in Pettah

A kiosk on the corner of Keyzer and 3rd Cross streets provides sustenance to shoppers and departing city workers alike. Colombo, January 2023.

• 26mm • f/4 • 1/125 • ISO4000 • R6 & RF14-35/4L •

How to Win a Booker: Step One

Get yourself a cool place to write. Shehan Karunatilaka, winner of the Booker Prize 2022, back at his desk in Colombo, Sri Lanka, exactly a month after grabbing one of the world’s most prestigious awards in writing.

• 14mm • f/4 • 1/40 • ISO1600 • R6 & RF14-35/4L •


• 50mm • f/2 • 1/50 • ISO500 • R6 & EF50/1.8 •