A medical doctor by profession, Pakistani photographer Maryam Arif’s belief-systems are as intrinsic to her photographic projects as her approach to medicine.
A self-described ‘thinker’, the Lahore-based photographer describes her approach to photography as ‘observational and non-intrusive’.
Self-taught, Arif originally took photos solely for her personal viewing pleasure. It wasn’t until while studying endocrinology that her passion drove her to make the tough decision to put medicine aside and pursue photography professionally.
Arif believes her black & white photography has definitely given her the opportunity to put forth her beliefs and ideas in an abstract form. The inspiration for her work is ‘light’ – the way it can change the feel and perspective of something simple and mundane into something extraordinary and magical.
Purposely taking an abstract or conceptual style approach to photography, Arif’s goal is to allow her images to be open to interpretation and to lead the viewer by subtle clues into the mind behind the photo.
Looking for an unusual festival to photograph? Head over to Thailand for the Lopburi Monkey Banquet Festival held at the Phra Prang Sam Yot shrine. Located in central Thailand’s provincial capital of Lopburi, this Khmer shrine is inhabited year-round by hundreds of long-tailed macaques.
Despite stealing food and generally being a nuisance, the monkeys are a part of the daily life of the local community, as the townspeople believe they bring good luck and fortune. Having free reign of the town, the monkeys enter public buildings and traverse roads like any other citizen.
On the last Sunday of November, the Lopburi monkeys are honored with a huge feast set out on long tables in the ruins of the shrine. The delicacies offered include an abundant spread including sticky rice, tropical fruit salad frozen in ice blocks and an egg-yolk pudding.
People come from all over to attend the festival and watch the monkeys as they scamper on the tables and enjoy the feast.
Initially shy in front of the hundreds of spectators, the monkeys eventually get in the swing of things – gorging on the food, guzzling sodas, throwing pudding at each other, and generally causing a ruckus. This riotous monkey spectacle will delight any and all photographers.
Once the monkeys’ appetites are satiated, and the remainder of the food is on the ground, the monkeys return to the treetops to sleep off their indulgence. A fun, and unique, festival, you’ll leave the Lopburi Monkey Banquet Festival with a lot of great shots in your memory cards.