Thelme Dancers
Navam Mawatha, Colombo. Vesak Poya, May 2023.*

• 50mm • f/2.8 • 1/125 • ISO26500 • Canon R6 & RF24-70/2.8L •


Thelme Dancer
Navam Mawatha, Colombo. Vesak Poya, May 2023.

• 50mm • f/2.8 • 1/125 • ISO20000 • Canon R6 & RF24-70/2.8L •

Colombo Night Market
5th Cross Street, Pettah. January 2023.

• 35mm • f/4 • 1/80 • ISO6400 • Canon R6 & RF14-35/4L •

Rush Hour in Pettah
Naattamis move out with their distinctive two-wheeled handcarts heavily laden with produce that has just been unloaded from the lorries on the left. Everything from salted fish, grain, flour, potatoes, and fresh produce is trucked into Colombo each morning from the nearby port, rural rice mills, coastal fishing villages, and farming cooperatives in the Central Highlands. Once they reach the narrow streets of the Pettah, however, they must be unloaded and carried in the carts and on the backs of these naattamis (Sri Lanka’s street version of the dockside stevedore), into the many small stores and wholesalers that pack Colombo’s huge market district. Without the naattami, the markets of Pettah would grind to a standstill. 4th Cross Street, September 2022. 

• 35mm • f/2.8 • 1/640 • ISO200 • Canon R6 & RF 35/1.8 courtesy Canon/Metropolitan

No 13A in Tamil Town
A busy Friday evening in Pettah, Colombo’s main shopping and market district. January 2023. Interestingly, while the city of Colombo is mostly Tamil-speaking (over 60% of the residents are Tamil or Tamil-speaking Moors), the sign in the foreground prohibiting parking is only in Sinhalese (the majority language of Sri Lanka), reflecting decades of Sinhalese-dominated governance that many believe has contributed to ethnic conflict. The controversial 13th Amendment to the Constitution, passed by Parliament in 1987, legislated that, amongst other things, Tamil be elevated to the status of an official language, alongside Sinhalese, and that all official communications be in both languages. However, more than thirty-five years later, many clauses of the amendment remain unenforced, despite Tamil demands for equal treatment.

• 35mm • f/4 • 1/100 • ISO2000 • Canon R6 & RF14-35/4L •

Street Meditative
Wolfendhal Street, Pettah. October 2022.

• 35mm • f/2.8 • 1/160 • ISO125 • R6, with RF35/1.8 courtesy Canon/Metropolitan

Downrocking #3
Breakdancers down on the floor at the IDW Dance Championship in Colombo, Sri Lanka. February 2020.

• 100mm • f/4.5 • 1/160 • ISO8000 • Canon 6DMkII, EF 24-105/4L  & EF 100-400/4.5-5.6L courtesy Canon/Metropolitan.
• 100mm • f/4.5 • 1/160 • ISO8000 •
• 105mm • f/4 • 1/320 • ISO10000 •
• 105mm • f/4 • 1/320 • ISO10000 •

Naattami, Old Moor Street
Pettah, September 2020.

• 35mm • f/6.3 • 1/200 • ISO400 • M6MkII & EF-M 15-45mm/3.5-6.3 courtesy Canon/Metropolitan.

Burning Rage
“Aragalayata jayawewa! Aragalayata jayawewa! Aragalayata jayawewa” Thousands of protestors chant ‘victory to the struggle’ as, behind them, the residence of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is burned to the ground. Colombo, 9th July 2022. A divisive figure in the country’s political arena, Wickremesinghe stepped into the premiership for a controversial fifth term in May this year, his United National Party holding just a single seat in Parliament (his own, and that too not by election, but through the National List), striding into the breach left by his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapakse, who had himself resigned after nationwide protests. Sri Lanka is suffering the worst economic disaster in recorded history, much of it blamed on corruption and ineptitude within the ruling Rajapakse family that had, until recently, held the offices of president, prime minister, and several powerful cabinet ministries within the clan. Wickremesinghe’s lunge into the PM post has been seen as opportunism by many of the protestors, who also see him as a barrier to the vanquishing of the hated Rajapakse family from Sri Lankan politics. Months of protests that began in April have succeeded in forcing the resignations of all but President Gotabhaya Rajapakse, and yesterday’s protests, which saw hundreds of thousands flock to the capital in spite of acute fuel shortages (many having walked from distant towns), were aimed at ousting both Rajapakse and Wickremesinghe. After an exhilarating day in which protestors overran the official residences of President’s House and Temple Trees, in downtown Colombo, in what was seen as a good natured party atmosphere (protestors took a dip in the president’s swimming pool, cooked in his kitchen, and picnicked on the lawn), Gotabhaya Rajapakse indicated that he was willing to step down. But the mood turned ugly at sunset. Wickremesinghe refused to resign, and made a bid for the presidency, a post that has long thwarted him. Outraged crowds besieging the Prime Minister’s private residence on 5th Lane were met with tea gas and water cannons; some were beaten by the police, as were journalists covering the demonstration. As darkness fell, thousands more protestors arrived.
Continue reading “Burning Rage”

Vertical Slums
The crumbling squalor of the Wekanda Housing Scheme, on Stewart Road, Slave Island; a short walk from the luxurious hotels, residencies, and malls of downtown Colombo. January 2022.*

*Shot on a Canon EOS 5DMkIV & EF 24-105/f4L from Canon/Metropolitan.