Friday, 22 November 2013

Getting to zero: young people set the agenda at AIDS congress

A migrant worker activist shares a joke with the HIV virus on the parade
© UNICEF EAPRO/2013/Andy Brown

I’ve been to many international conferences in my time and the word ‘fun’ doesn’t immediately spring to mind. But the 11th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), held in Bangkok, really was fun. This was largely because of the enthusiastic participation of young people and HIV activists from around the region.

As well as the speeches and debates you would expect at an event like this, there was a marathon, cultural performances, youth protesters and a noisy and colourful parade. The opening ceremony featured a performance by drummers from Thailand, China and Bangladesh, playing in their own national style, while children from Indonesia danced on stilts. A group of ‘Instagram reporters’ commissioned by UNAIDS went around capturing the sights for social media.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Monday, 4 November 2013

Shooting Chinatown: the Worldwide Photo Walk

On Sunday 5 October, nearly 30,000 photographers – myself included – went on over 1,200 photo walks around the world. This is the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk, and it’s the largest social photography event in the world. After the walk, every photographer is asked to submit one photo for the award. Choosing a single photo was in itself a challenge, and I recruited my Facebook friends to help me decide.

I signed up for the walk via my local photography group, Bangkok Photographers, without really realising what it was. I enjoy doing photography for work and when I travel, but I haven’t done any formal training for years. The group seemed like a good way to hone my skills and learn from other photographers.

On the day of the walk, we met at Saphan Taksin, where the skytrain crosses the Chao Praya river. I recognised walk leader Dennie Cody, his wife DK, and photographers from previous walks, including Madhu and Linda, who I also know socially. Together, we took a ferry up the river to Rajawongse pier, the dropping off point for Bangkok’s Chinatown. We were lucky with the weather – it’s rainy season in Thailand but on this day it was pleasantly cool and dry.