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


Rush, Rush, Rush
Daylight begins to fade on Prince Street, in Colombo’s Pettah area. January 2023.

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

Pettah Hard Man
A naattami, the ubiquitous stevedore of the Pettah, swears fluently but good-humouredly while waiting for me to take his picture. Manning Market, Colombo. April 2018.

Stay Home, They Say #2

Naattami, Keyzer Street, Pettah by Son of the Morning Light on
naattami pushes his empty cart down a crowded Keyzer Street, a week and a half before Sri Lanka declared its first coronavirus case on January 27th. 
Continue reading “Stay Home, They Say #2”

Walk of the Naattami

Walk of the Naattami by Son of the Morning Light on
naattami, Sri Lanka’s urban stevedore, makes his heavily laden way down Keyzer Street, in the Pettah area of Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. January 2020.
Continue reading “Walk of the Naattami”

Portrait of a Naattami

Portrait of a Naattami, Pettah, Sri Lanka by Son of the Morning Light on
naattami takes a break from unloading a lorry to pose for my camera. Keyzer Street, January 2020
Continue reading “Portrait of a Naattami”


The Superman of Keyzer Street by Son of the Morning Light on
naattami unloads onions from a lorry on Keyzer Street. Colombo, Sri Lanka. January 2020.
Continue reading “Superman”

“Side! Side! Side!”

"Side! Side! Side!" by Son of the Morning Light on
naattami (Sri Lanka’s urban stevedore) shouts his way through the bustle of Keyzer Street, in the Pettah area of Colombo, demanding his right of way. Sri Lanka, January 2020.
Continue reading ““Side! Side! Side!””


Dialogin' #2 by Son of the Morning Light on
naattami, a stevedore-like labourer at the Manning Market, in Pettah, wears a tshirt advertising an internet service provider. In spite of the fact that mobile phone-based internet access in Sri Lanka has far outpaced desktop and laptop access, and made internet usage widespread, many of the country’s poorer classes have no entry to the web, and little interest in it. Colombo, April 2018.