The Backside of Vesak
Slave Island, May 2023.

• 70mm • f/2.8 • 1/125 • ISO8000 • Canon R6 & RF24-70/2.8L •


Vesak in the Sky with Lanterns

‘Going to see Vesak,’ on Navam Mawatha, Colombo. May 2023.

• 24mm • f/2.8 • 1/250 • ISO4000 • Canon R6 & RF24-70/2.8L •

Dragon Light
An intricately designed Vesak lantern by the roadside in Colombo. Most Vesak lanterns are simple 12-panelled bamboo and paper constructions made at home, but not so these huge two-storey electrically powered rotating contraptions that compete with each other for the crowds (and often for a cash prize). In the past, many of these were commissioned by trade unions, craft cooperatives, and other social clubs, but today, they’re most likely built by the military, under orders to make this Buddhist celebration a success. Sri Lanka, May 2023.

• 48mm • f/2.8 • 1/125 • ISO2000 • Canon R6 & RF24-70/2.8L •

Contortions Pay Off
Dinath Senila of St Benedict’s (above) sends Wesley batsman Sanithu Amarasinghe (below) back to the pavilion, caught behind.

• 800mm • f/11 • 1/1250 • ISO1600 • Canon R6, with an RF800/11 courtesy Canon/Metropolitan

• 800mm • f/11 • 1/1250 • ISO1250 •
The Bens celebrate the dismissal on their way to beating Wesley College by 19 runs in the Luke Shield one-day encounter at the Sinhalese Sports Club. Colombo, 25th March 2023.

• 800mm • f/11 • 1/1250 • ISO1250 •

Vesak Night Out
A family takes a break from touring the Vesak sights along Navam Mawatha, in Slave Island. May 2023.

• 35mm • f/2.8 • 1/125 • ISO8000 • Canon R6 & RF24-70/2.8L •

Colombo Celebrates Vesak
City skyline over the Beira Lake. May 2023.

• 24mm • f/2.8 • 1/125 • ISO1000 • Canon R6 & RF24-70/2.8L •

Open to the Public
Protestors stroll freely in and out of the once heavily barricaded rear gate of Temple Trees, the official residence of the prime minister of Sri Lanka, unhindered by the police. On 9th July 2022, protestors stormed several government buildings in Colombo, including President’s House and the Presidential Secretariat, in spite of initial resistance by the authorities, who used water cannon, tear gas, and even live ammunition on the advancing crowd, holding them off until President Gotabaya Rajapakse had made his escape. In contrast, the president’s brother, Mahinda Rajapakse, who had been forced to resign as PM in May, under the weight of public demand, abandoned Temple Trees well in advance of the protestors. The president himself would announce his resignation later that afternoon, and flee the country four days later, leaving the country in the hands of a caretaker president, Ranil Wickremesinghe who, in late July and August, would oversee the arrest and detention of many protestors, charging them with petty violations, such as trespassing, vandalism, and disturbance of the peace.

• 18mm • f/3.5 • 1/200 • ISO1600 •

Forbidden Ground

Special Task Force policemen look on as protestors stroll unrestricted through the grounds of Temple Trees, the official residence of the prime minister of Sri Lanka, once one of the most heavily guarded and fortified spots in Colombo. 9th July 2022. Forced, by the weight of public protest, to resign in May, Mahinda Rajapakase had fled earlier that day.

• 18mm • f/3.5 • 1/100 • ISO800 •

Court of the People
Young protestors celebrate as news arrives on social media that Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapakse has agreed to step down. Galle Face Court, Colombo. 9th July 2022. Months of public protest culminated in violent clashes between demonstrators and the authorities, and the storming of the presidential palace and several government offices. Rajapakse would flee to the Maldives four days later, accused of corruption and ineptness, and causing the biggest economic disaster in the country’s recorded history.

• 18mm • f/3.5 • 1/2500 • ISO400 •

Under the Temple Trees
Young protestors occupy the grounds of Temple Trees, the official Colpetty residence of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. 9th July 2022. The day began with violent clashes between the frontline of the protest and the authorities, who used tear gas, batons, and even live ammunition to hold off protestors from President’s House, in the Colombo Fort, until its reviled resident, Gotabaya Rajapakse, could escape to safety. In contrast, Temple Trees was captured with little violence, in the late afternoon; Mahinda Rajapakse, the president’s brother, having been forced out of office in May, had left before the residence was overrun. Gotabaya Rajapakse himself would flee the country four days later.

• 18mm • f/3.5 • 1/200 • ISO400 •