July 30 – Badosap to Muara Siberut
On that morning, we went back to see the Mentawai neighbor I had met the day before, in order to make his portrait in front of his house. This was a strange experience, and even though he had asked to be paid, he then almost changed his mind during the session. He didn’t put too much goodwill at it, although he had had the money he asked me for, and only gave a couple of jaded looks to the camera.
Our neighbor. He gave me a hard time, didn’t really enjoy shooting his portrait.
After this we followed the father Pange in the jungle to get to see a canoe being carved out in the jungle and collect leaves to prepare the poison that he uses on his arrows while hunting.
Spreading poison on the arrows
I then managed to arrange another portrait session with the father Pange, and Papak Kerei and their respective wives joined as well for some fun.
It was then time to say goodbye so we walked back to the river for an hour or so, in order to meet our hosts, who had been much faster than us and had arranged speedboats to take us back to Muara Siberut.
Preparation for the final shoot
Looking at the pictures. It’s always a great time when sharing the pictures afterwards
On the speedboat back to Muara Siberut
July 31 – Semailepet to Padang
When we arrived in Muara Siberut, it turned out that the ferry had been held back by a very rough sea and would be a day late. So we slept in Semailepet, on the beach near Muara Siberut, waiting to hear from the ferry on the next day.
Since I was a bit rushed to meet my contact in south Sumatra for the second episode (see a following post for more details), we decided to jump on a speed boat that we chartered with additional people met at the harbor, and reach Padang within the same day.
It was much faster and we reached our destination Padang within 5 hours.
Night falling on the beach in Padang
Although the conditions were far from being ideal, I am quite happy to have landed this series of portraits, even if I had to squeeze them in the best I could in an already established schedule for a group. But it was this or nothing, and this obliges you to work fast!
If I had to do it again, it would require spending a lot more time finding a dedicated guide who understands exactly what kind of pictures I want and can organize a tailored trip. There would be much more opportunities for taking pictures this way. Those sessions organized on the spot in the jungle, reproducing a consistent lighting method in spite of the rain and the mud, was quite a challenge!
Thank you very much for reading and more to come soon about the second week in Indonesia, taking portraits of former illegal loggers who converted to sustainable coffee planting…
Papak Kerei and I after a nice shooting session, we both had lots of fun shooting his portraits!