WORK – MAN AT HIS LABORS: Asia in Photographs

Asia is such a rich and unique continent of the world. It is so rich in culture, religion and history that everything seems to be compressed into an amazing range of geography. There is such a great diversity from one country to another that it is never boring. Visually, Asia is so rich that you can never have enough time for it, and you can never claim to have already shot your best photograph there.

In this short project, I seek to capture and put together a first series of photographs that showcase the enormous variety of things that people do for survival and sustenance in Asia. Neither doctor, politician nor lawyer is included, only the blue-collar jobs make the cut. This short collection of photographs showcases people of different jobs and background going about with their daily chores. My objective is not just about showing the different occupations, but also about the religion, culture and people’s way of life from different Asian cities.

I love the honesty of documenting life as I see it, and I hope my pictures can tell a story better than a thousand words – images that portrait people at work in all kind of situations, places, geographic locations, and from different social, economic, political, and racial composition.

These 30 selected images include some of the limited Asian countries and cities that I have explored such as India, Nepal, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar and of course Singapore. All the photographs are placed in a non-judgmental sequence.

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” ~Walter Elliot~

Wharf Porters (Yangon Wharf, Myanmar)

 “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” ~Aristotle Onassis~

Brick Kiln Process Workers (Battambang, Cambodia)

“The power of imagination makes us infinite” ~John Muir~ 

Laundry Lady (Yangon, Myanmar)

 “A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” ~Ayn Rand~

Handy Repairmen (Varanasi, India)

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” ~Jim Rohn~

Chai Wallah (Ganges River, Varanasi, India)

“Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it.” ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox~

Wharf Workers (Yangon, Myanmar)

“Leap, and the net will appear” ~John Burroughs~

Leg-Rower Fishermen (Inle Lake, Myanmar)

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” ~Ronald Reagan~

Wishing Flower Wallah (Ganges River, Varanasi, India)

“Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.” ~Sholom Aleichem~ 

Train Station Beggar (Varanasi, India)

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” ~Democritus~

Village Workers (Battambang, Cambodia)

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.” ~Robert H. Schuller~ 

Vehicle Mechanic (Yangon, Myanmar)

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson~  

Spice Market Workers (Old Delhi, India)

“Give light and people will find the way” ~Ella Barker~

Village Fruit Sellers setting off for work (Solo, Indonesia)

“The dog that trots about finds a bone.” ~Golda Meir~

Recycle Material Trader (Little India, Singapore)

  “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~William James~

Street Barber (Old Delhi, India)

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit” ~Aristotle~ 

Odd-Job Wallah (Old Delhi, India)

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” ~Thomas Jefferson~

Woolen Yarn Spinning Lady (Khokana Village, Nepal)

“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” ~Sam Ewing~

Odd-Job Workers (Old Delhi, India)

“Noble deeds that are concealed are most esteemed.” ~Blaise Pascal~ 

Environmental Worker (Varanasi, India)

“Fear cannot be without hope nor hope without fear.” ~Baruch Spinoza~  

Street Wallah (Ganges River, India)

  “Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.” ~Thomas Merton~

Wharf Porters (Yangon, Myanmar)

“Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I’m not there, I go to work.” ~Robert Orben~ 

Spice Market Worker (Old Delhi, India)

“Hope is a waking dream” ~Aristotle~ 

Flower Wallah (Varanasi, India)

“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” ~Bern Williams”

Train Station Porters (Varanasi, India)

“Poverty was the greatest motivating factor in my life.” ~Jimmy Dean~ 

Street Beggar (Sarnath, India)

“You can never quit. Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” ~Ted Turner~

Wharf Porter (Yangon, Myanmar)

“I can, therefore I am” ~Simone Weil~

Wharf Worker (Yangon, Myanmar)

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~Theodore Roosevelt~

Street Porter (Kathmandu, Nepal)

“He travels the fastest who travels alone” ~Rudyard Kipling~ 

Bamboo Train Operator (Battambang, Cambodia)

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned” ~Peter Marshall~  

Gift Seller (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

~Photography & Editorial by Chia Loy Chuan (Oct, 2011)~


Do you like this? Share it:
Lotus - 29 October, 2011 - 12:10 AM

I like the way this series of photographs are being presented. The carefully selected quotes makes the pictures even more complete…..Keep up the good work

loychuan - 29 October, 2011 - 12:19 AM

Thanks for viewing Lotus! Glad you like the photographs.

Tim Chin - 30 October, 2011 - 12:33 AM

Very Well presented, your pictures actually came to life… I am very impressed!

Tony Pond - 1 November, 2011 - 5:28 PM

The combination of quotes and hard work photos are both inspiring — and humbling. Nice essay Loy.

loychuan - 2 November, 2011 - 10:02 PM

Thanks Tony!

Michael - 3 November, 2011 - 10:15 PM

Another great series of photos with inspiring quotes, showing another aspect of LIFE at the other coner of the world and it always remind me to be contented and precious of what i have and what i do.Thanks for sharing Loy.

loychuan - 3 November, 2011 - 11:25 PM

Nice to hear from you again Michael. Thanks for viewing… and I’m glad you’re appreciating life and the world better through the pictures! Cheers!

Rod Andrewartha - 14 November, 2011 - 3:54 AM

Brilliant stuff, Loy. Love it.

loychuan - 15 November, 2011 - 10:48 AM

Thanks for viewing Rod!

touhru - 26 February, 2012 - 4:32 PM

I Like the words, with the photos, give me a great shot. many familiar scenes, remind me of the good memories.

loychuan - 29 February, 2012 - 1:14 AM

Thanks very much touhru!

kriti - 13 March, 2012 - 2:49 AM

i see so much sesitivity in the way da photographer looks at the world around and the way he adds words to what he has captured through his lens is really good

loychuan - 14 March, 2012 - 11:21 AM

Thanks so much for your kind comments Kriti. Thanks for visiting my photo-blog! Cheers!

faibo borhanz - 21 May, 2012 - 7:26 PM

Great work,great photos

loychuan - 23 May, 2012 - 1:11 PM

Thanks very much Faibo! Glad you like it.

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