ᴘ ʜ ᴏ ᴛ ᴏ ɢ ʀ ᴀ ᴘ ʜ ᴇ ʀ ᴊᴏʜɴ@ᴊᴏʜɴʙᴀʀᴛᴏɴ.ɴᴇᴛ.ᴀᴜ
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Beautiful from the air yet borderline torture on the water. The river into Siberut island winds, bends and folds back on itself for countless kilometres through breathtaking scenery. However, with a boat that was a little too big and a river that was a little too shallow, what should of been a 3-5 hour journey dragged out to 11 hours, seeing us get out to push the boat over rocks and logs and rapids at every turn and travelling into the night with nothing but a head torch. At one point about half way through, the cameras had to go away because it was all hands on deck doing everything we could to make it to our destination.
Drone photos by the talented @emvielle
Down at the rivers edge, while washing my face and getting my bearings in the morning light after arriving in the pitch black the night before, a village elder waded across the foggy shallow stream to give me a warm greeting. Aman Poto is his name and with Bahasa Indonesia not being his first language and me knowing very little of the dialect of Bahasa Mentawai they speak deep in the jungle (different to that of the coastal villages), our conversation was very limited. It seemed a shame because this intriguing man looks like he has some incredible stories to tell.
I just got back on the grid after after a week long adventure to document the Mentawai people deep in the jungles of the island of Siberut. From the moment we stepped on the island, everything that could go wrong did. Yet a series of uncanny serendipitous events had us pushing on regardless.
From travelling 11 hours upriver, getting out to push the canoe at every turn and getting lost in the dark to experiencing the hospitality of the people and the culture I’ve long admired, this trip has left me borderline speechless. It may have been short, but it was a trip of a lifetime. Can’t wait to show you the photos.
Cheers to Marc Llewellyn @emvielle for the snap and trusting me enough to sign up for the adventure.
More often than not, my shutter lives on a high speed burst. Firing off hundreds of digital images in a given session to capture the action. So it's nice to wind on a roll of 35mm and slow it down to just one click. Some analogue moments from the last few months in the Ments are now up on the blog at @rhythm for your slow perusal. Link in bio #35mm #rhythmlivin #offthewellwornpath
Ah, the front yard at @pitstop_hill. One of the hardest things about coming to stay here is having to walk through this as you leave. The 2017 season has closed its doors but if you want to be there when they reopen and get a slice of this paradise, do yourself a favour and book into the remaining 2018 spots before they're gone!
Startled. A rustle in the bushes behind me snapped me out of my concentration as I sat with my camera under the shade of a coconut tree on the reef's edge. A local man emerged with machete in hand and walked towards me. Normally this would be unnerving but it’s such a regular occurrence out here that it becomes common place.
This is Mesek, a local coconut farmer who was distracted from his work by the hoots and yelling in the water in front of us. We sat and chatted as we watched the surfers and got to talking about his work. Mesek can expect around 50c per harvested, smoked kilogram of coconut flesh - not a lot of reward for the inherent dangers of working up in the canopy. I often wonder what he made of the sea of holiday makers having fun in front of him while he worked, riding boards worth several months of tree climbing salary.
While I may get used to the surprise meeting of machete wielding friends on the beach, I don’t think I’ll ever really get used to the contrast of the cultures as they meet on the waters edge.