Nathaniel Soon is a young aspiring photojournalist from Singapore. Travel has always been a huge part of his life, and to him, there’s nothing more cathartic and meaningful than wandering into new, unfamiliar places with his backpack and a camera in hand. Being only 19 years-old this year, what continues to excite him is that there’s so much more of the world to explore. For now his future plans are perfectly simple: to just keep on travelling, shooting and searching for opportunities to be inspired, and to inspire.

 

These are a couple of his favourite shots from recent travels:

 

1

Chiangrai, Thailand; November 2015

 

A young Akha child looks on. I like this portrait due to the emotions being conveyed – a sense of apprehension but also curiosity as a stranger snaps the picture.

 

2

Chiangrai, Thailand; November 2015

 

Thailand, like most Southeast Asian countries, is characterized by highlight ethnic communities, known as hill tribes, and lowland Thais. I photographed this village known as Lao Sip which is in Chiangrai, the northern part of Thailand. Villagers here are of the Akha tribe and they build their houses and toilets using bamboo for the walls and tin for the roofs.

 

3

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei; July 2016

 

Kampong Ayer or the Water Village is located in the capital of Brunei and is supposedly the largest water village in the world, housing over 30,000 inhabitants. The village itself is self-sustaining, as seen from how the man in the picture is carrying grains of rice into the sea to bait in fishes for consumption and to sell.

 

4

Penang, Malaysia; December 2015

 

Penang has grown into a tourist hotspot due to its tasty street food, art works and colonial architecture around the city. Apart from walking the streets, renting of trishaws is popular as well.

 

5

Pokhara, Nepal; May 2012

 

Nepal is certainly one of the most beautiful countries I’ve been to, both physically and culturally. I captured this moment of a group of trekkers (myself included) four years back at the foot of Poon Hill 3120 masl, which we summited three days later. Poon Hill is just one of many majestic moutnains in the Annapurna mountain range.

 

6

Baguio, Philippines; December 2015

 

I took this en route up Mount Pulag in the Philippines. We were crossing the Eddet River.

 

7

Chiangrai, Thailand; November 2015

 

This is probably the photo I’m most proud of. An Akha lady helps her daughter with her traditional headdress, made up of silver coins and specially-woven embroidery. On a deeper level, after having captured this moment and upon reflection, the emotions of both individuals exemplify cultural loss and its significance in today’s world – the young girl which represents younger generations often hold the responsibility to pass down cultural practices but due to modernization, there is much reluctance and increasing abandonment of such traditions.

 

8

Chiangrai, Thailand; December 2015

 

A bunch of curious kids looking at a drone about to take flight. I shot this in Mehmon village, home to the Akha people, in Northern Thailand.

 

9

Chiangrai, Thailand; December 2015

 

While the men of the hill tribe households in Thailand spend their days in the fields, the women contribute to the household through handicraft-making, taking care of the children and bringing the harvested crops to the urban areas to sell. In this photo is an Akha lady and her child selling sweet potatoes in the city.

 

10

Lao Cai, Vietnam; March 2016

 

I photographed this young Black Hmong boy wandering by himself some distance away from his home. His stone-cold demeanour parallels the chilly weather of winter which would have ended by now.

 

11

Lao Cai, Vietnam; March 2016

 

Water buffalos have been designated one of three official symbols of Vietnam. They are a valuable asset for farmers on the fields and to sell for income. I took this to illustrate the close relationship between men and nature.

 

12

Lao Cai, Vietnam; March 2016

 

A young Dao boy in his village school waving as I asked if I could photograph him. In Vietnam, village schools often face the problem of corruption where teachers, in hopes of keeping their jobs, simply allow the children to skip grades even when they do not meet the standards. This in turn results in graduates who are unable to find jobs and compete with those in the urban areas.

 

13

Hanoi, Vietnam; March 2016

 

The non la or conical leaf hats have become a common sight amongst Vietnamese women along the streets. Along with its cultural symbolism, the hats effectively shield them from the hot summer sun.

 

 

 

 

Nathaniel is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to connect with like-minded people. Say hi over at:

 

     Instagram | @nathanielsoon

         Facebook | www.facebook.com/restlessearthling

         Blog | www.maptia.com/nathanielsoon

         Email | nathanielslw@gmail.com