The magazine of the photo-essay
June 2018 issue
The Funfair Luang Prabang, Laos
by Gary M Jones
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
A novice monk strolling in Bangkok – the blue-grey patina of his freshly shaved head contrasting with his tangerine robes – makes for a cracking photo opportunity. In relaxed Luang Prabang in northern Laos, however, such postcard-perfect moments barely warrant a second glance. Buddhist monks, after all, are everywhere in Luang Prabang. Monks are as inescapable as sticky rice and frangipani. I was in the ancient city – a Unesco world heritage site – on a week-long documentary photography workshop headed up by veteran Australian shooters Jack Picone and Stephen Dupont (the latter a Life Force contributor; January 2016 issue). Each workshop attendee was required to "produce a documentary photo essay with a striking visual narrative". I tried to achieve that by spending time with a travelling funfair that had pitched its tents on the edge of town. Here are 22 images from a set of 56. Despite some initial growls from the funfair folk at having a 5D shoved in their faces while they were putting everything together, a bribe in the form of three crates of Beer Laos won them around. After that, I was golden. (And once the fair was up and running, I managed to capture a novice monk shooting a gun at the rifle range.)
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