5.00am. Most roosters are just waking up from their sleep in Bali. I crawl out of bed and gulp down some coffee in the shower (yes, in, not after the shower). No time for breakfast. I pack my bags (clothes, books, props) and jump on my scooter – 40 minute gym session.
A ‘glamorous’ photoshoot is awaiting.
I meet my friend and photographer Grazina at Ubud’s main market – isn’t this just classy? We exchange a few words with Balinese ladies selling offerings, fruit, sarongs and other curiosities. They are intrigued to know what we are up to. In my broken Indonesian, I explain that we are having a photoshoot.
I get comfortable on a stool with my laptop (and no, I’m not actually comfortable as, indeed, many local shoppers and sellers are not, with me sitting there on my self-claimed throne).
Grazina got out of bed 20 minutes ago and is a little sleepy but, once we find our first spot, right in the middle of the market, amongst market stalls, she comes to life (or, at least, her camera does). I get comfortable on a stool with my laptop (and no, I’m not actually comfortable as, indeed, many local shoppers and sellers are not, with me sitting there on my self-claimed throne).
We shoot all around the market: I meditate among the market’s chaos, I get some writing done on a box of apples and I sip coffee on a very narrow windowsill (losing my balance would have proven to be painful).
Grazina – who’s put me at ease and made sure that I am not in the least bit self-conscious – announces that we’ve exhausted the location and have to move elsewhere.
We’ve chosen a beautiful cafe overlooking the main Ubud temple and the Champuhan bridge walk.
It’s now past 9 o’clock and I’m starting to get sleepy. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep my eyes open and appear fresh. Coffee is our rescue. I put on my shirt (purchased from a second hand Bali market for £2.50), smile, and we have a perfect picture for the site’s header.
‘Why don’t I hang off this window frame?’ I suggest and Grazina is enthusiastic. It’s quite a work-out but well worth it – yet another header.
Lastly, the rice fields. Grazina playfully flirts with a grandfather working in the rice fields and he lends us his wooden tool, which looks like a rake, but isn’t, and is used to cultivate the soil. I get rather muddy during this shoot, but it produces some quirky shots.
Four hours of intense shooting leaves us both exhausted but it has been great fun. A true cohesion of creative minds. Words, visuals, ideas, smiles.
‘You know what? For these past four hours I haven’t thought of anything else but our shoot. It’s been so meditative,’ I tell Grazina at the end.
Thanks to Grazina for such cool and funky pictures! Check out Grazina’s site here: