Pirith nool — thread or cords over which Buddhist scriptural verses have been chanted — are commonly worn on the wrist as protection in Sri Lanka. Shot for The Masked Women project. Colombo, July 2017.
Unable to get a window seat — or even standing room in a doorway — on the Kandy-Badulla train, I had to beg my way into the guard’s carriage so that I would have a vantage point to shoot the legendary Nine Arch Bridge between Ella and Demodara. Pointing out that he was bending the rules considerable, the guard allowed me aboard with the stipulation that I not make him famous in my “American paper”. The rail route from Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, to Badulla, in the Central Highlands — particularly the six-hour stretch from Kandy onwards — is now considered one of the world’s great train journeys, and seats are booked up months in advance. For those unfortunate enough to be crippled by the inability to plan ahead, the only option is to buy a third class ticket and hope a window seat eventually becomes vacant. Or try charming a railway guard. Shot on assignment for The New York Times. My photos appeared in award-winning travel journo Lucas Peterson’s piece, An Island Nation that is Best Savored Slowly, which ran in the Frugal Traveler column on 30th January 2019. Follow the link for more photos and the full story.
Shermaine Willis and Anuradha Perera, shot on assignment for Ashraff Associates and The Radh, Kandy. Deva Veediya, or the “Street of Gods”, is in fact the Street of Lawyers, made famous by a row of crumbling Victorian era administrative buildings that now house the offices of small law firms, their name boards festooning the fading facade. Kandy, Sri Lanka. October 2018.
Lotus and other varieties of flowers on sale outside the Temple of the Tooth, in Kandy, Sri Lanka, to be bought by devotees visiting the temple. Shot on assignment for the New York Times. This and other photos were commissioned to illustrate award-winning travel journalist Lucas Peterson’s piece, An Island Nation that is Best Savored Slowly, which ran in the Frugal Traveler column on January 30th 2019.
A street vendor selling satchel bags dances and calls out to potential customers on the streets of Maharagama, close to Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. April 2018.
Spectacular even in the drizzly dusk, the Hill Capital is seen here with its lake in the foreground. The Kandy Lake was created in 1807, by the last Sri Lankan monarch, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, by flooding a broad swathe of paddy fields. The white Walakulu Bemma, or “Cloud Barrier”, the wall separating the lake from the city below it, is over 630m long, and forms a convenient promenade along the northern and western shores of the lake. The last of Sri Lanka’s ancient capitals, Kandy, unlike older cities such as Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, has never been abandoned to ruin, and has been continuously inhabited, its historic temples and palaces standing alongside Victorian hotels and administrative buildings, and modern malls and office blocks. Shot on assignment for Ashraff Associates and The Radh, Kandy, in October 2018.
Leaving Colombo at at 8pm, the Night Mail covers the 292km to Badulla in approximately twelve hours, making its dawn arrival at the Nine Arch Bridge perfectly timed for passengers to catch some spectacular views from their carriage windows. The Colombo-Badulla rail route is now rated one of the world’s great train journeys, and includes beautiful tea plantations, awe-inspiring mountainscapes and, of course, the now famous all-stone 91m-long Nine Arch Bridge. While most of the Night Mail’s route is covered in the dark hours, it is the last part of the journey, between Bandarawela and Badulla that is the most picturesque; prettiest in the first light of dawn. This picture was part of an assignment for the New York Times, specifically for award-winning travel journalist Lucas Peterson’s piece, An Island Nation that is Best Savored Slowly. It appeared in the Frugal Traveler column on 30th January 2019. Follow the links and check it out online for more photos, and the full story.
Completed in 1935, the Trinity College Chapel was unique at the time in its architectural style. Its designer, the Rev Lewis Gaster, was heavily influenced by the traditional Sinhalese architecture of the Embekka Devalaya, a broadly Hindu 14th century Kataragama temple in neighbouring Gampola, and built the chapel in the same fashion. This was the first time a Christian worship site in Sri Lanka had been designed in a vernacular architectural style. Before this, churches had invariably followed the traditional European Gothic style. Since then, however, other churches have used indigenous architecture in their creation; possibly the best known of these being the Anglican Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour, in Colombo, and the Cathedral of Christ the King, in Kurunegala.
Colombo, August 2017. Shot for The Masked Women photobook.