Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

That faded colonial look


It’s hard to write about Savannakhet without using phrases like faded colonial charm and elegantly crumbling. It’s a quiet, sleepy riverside town, and I spent an enjoyable few days there doing not very much.












9 Responses to “That faded colonial look”

  1. Sofia

    Awesome shots! Love the compositions and tones/colors on your photographs.


  2. Jody and Ken

    It’s funny about the visual themes that cross geographical boundaries in outposts of former colonial empires. You could swap out the decaying walls, window frames and doors of many of the buildings I saw in Haiti this last March for the equivalents here. Gorgeous and faded. You seem to have had much better luck photographing current residents than I did. With the exception of children, who loved having their photos taken, adult were almost all uniformly against it. especially with a big DSLR. The assumption was that I was a photojournalist looking for new icons of misery. Ken

    • Jon Sanwell

      Lao people are generally pretty friendly and relaxed, and mostly just seemed bemused that anyone would want their picture. I met with a fair number of refusals, but always good-humoured ones. I guess that people in Laos, although hardly living in luxury, haven’t had to contend with the same sort of hardships as those in Haiti.

  3. trashbus

    the turquoise door … it’s beautiful. all of the pictures are very touching in some sort of way, but the turquoise is what I like best.

  4. ianbcross

    Not much grandeur, just gently crumbling. Contrast with gentrification of ex-colonial buildings in Luang Prabang. Is there any motivation to restore these buildings?

    • Jon Sanwell

      I didn’t see much evidence of restoration, to be honest. As you say, Luang Prabang is far more gentrified, as it’s much busier and there are more tourist dollars to spend.


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