I totally fell head over heals for Malaysia, especially Georgetown — as you can see it’s a photographer’s paradise, with its colourful streetart and crumbling colonial facades. Such a vibrant multi-cultural community, and everyone seems to live in peace and acceptance of one another’s faiths: Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Taoists and Buddhists are all represented here. There are so many temples and places of worship; on one street four Chinese temples stand literally within a stone’s throw of each other. You can visit most of them for free. We took a walking tour, but to be honest it’s just as fun to explore by yourself with a map. It was interesting to hear about Georgetown’s history though and our guide, Xavier, took us to the best street food spots. Every street you turn down has something interesting to discover and although it is touristy (particularly popular with backpackers), it still has a very laidback vibe and we didn’t find it too crowded, even in the height of summer. We stayed in a B&B on Love Lane, which is packed full of bars and restaurants and live music at night. Right in the centre of things — a great spot!
We were lucky enough to visit Peru this summer. This woman sat outside our hotel in Cusco every day, all day, and that sad, faraway look in her eyes still haunts me now. She wasn’t begging, exactly; it was almost like she just sat there out of habit. She was resigned, but she was also proud. Whilst others ran after us begging us to take their picture with cute baby limas and kids in papooses, all dressed in their finery, she would sit, and wait. I don’t often take portraits of strangers. I’m far too British and generally worried about embarrassing or inconveniencing people, but I decided to ask her on a whim. She said no at first – I respected that and walked away. She looked so tired and weary of being an object of the intrusive tourist gaze that I felt instantly ashamed, but at that moment my husband was buying a piece of art from a street vendor who worked his patch next to her and he saw and came over, persuading her to agree, so I paid and quickly took my shot, then thanked her. It was a bit of a rushed job: no light meter or tripod and the framing is a little off. I wish I had included her hands. I think there may be some light leakage which explains the weird specks. My rollei is so old and battered now it doesn’t perform at its best and the winding mechanism frequently gets stuck, but I persevere with it. So in the end, I got the shot, I suppose, although, taking this picture of this woman made me sadder than taking any other picture I have ever taken.