Alternative Facts

mickyates B&W, Colour, film, Lightroom, PhotoBath, Photography 1 Comment

The PhotoBath Collective is planning an exhibition in September this year called “Alternative Facts”. It is not meant to be about solely today’s political arguments on the issue – though that could be included. Rather it is meant to allow the photographer to depict a situation which may not be exactly as it seems.

I have been playing around with a few ideas, from the archives and new images. As the theme has been causing some debate amongst PhotoBath members, I thought I would share where I am, for debate. To be clear, this is just a list of my thoughts on the subject – and I am certain there are many other possible interpretations. This blog is meant to be a thought-starter, not a prescription 🙂

The way I am looking at it is a photographer’s view of interpreting something differently, when options are possible. So, for example, I think my archive work from both sides of the Berlin Wall is a literal example.

This (non-human) “Climbing” image is a more abstract take on the idea.


And “Hot and Cold” is rather “counter-punctual” in a single image.

Hot & Cold

One I took a couple of days ago was of a fence that you can see through. It is a “Wall” (an active political issue today) with a subtly humorous take. It’s a rather porous wall …

The featured image at the top of this post, “Traffic Lights” is a scene that we cannot literally see without technical help – it needed a time exposure.

“That’s Surprising” was featured in last year’s PhotoBath exhibition, “Storylines”. However, the image deserves close inspection, as clearly some “alternate facts” are presented from the superficially obvious of people on the street going about their business.

And, finally, this image was taken in Malawi.

It’s a young, happy couple – or is it? Actually, he’s a “”Sugar Daddy”, and the girl is under his control. The image was used to illustrate a serious study on the sugar daddy culture prevalent even today in some parts of Africa.

I hope this helps explain the exhibition concept, and encourages you to participate!

Find out more on the PhotoBath website or in the Facebook group.

There are also a few more examples that I am playing with on mick yates photography website.


International Women’s Day

mickyates Cambodia, Nikon, Photography, Social development, Travel 0 Comments

Early in 2000, we were privileged to be helping Save the Children and the Siem Reap Provincial Education Authority in the Khmer Rouge Reconciliation Areas of Cambodia. The people had suffered terribly, being cut off from the rest of the country since 1979, the “official” end of the Khmer Rouge everywhere else. Reconciliation in these areas only really started in 1999, after Pol Pot’s death. Until then, there was little effective schooling and very primitive health care.

We travelled to a small village called Trapeang Prasat, which took over 6 hours by landcruiser, on dirt roads. There, we met one of the families. Lovely people, and the mother was holding a young child who had physical and some mental disabilities.

As things progressed from 2000, schooling was put properly in place by Save the Children.

We travelled back several times, and in 2002 met the lady again. She was a very active community leader, serving amongst other things on the equivalent of the PTA. And she was a very proud Mum. Her children were doing double shifts to “catch up”. We took her picture with the same child, and we had already sent her the earlier picture.

Mother & Son

The moral of the story?

Women make the world go around. And given even the smallest opportunities, they always take maximum advantage of them in the service of their families and the community at large. It’s Women’s Day every day.
It was a most humbling experience, and today our family still feels rather emotional about Cambodia and our very good friends there.

More at yatesweb

Notes: First image taken with Nikon D1, second with Nikon D1X