Indonesian Musician

My Top 10 Photos of 2014: People

Photo Essay, Photography

Last year, I traveled to a variety of places, but my most prized photos are of the people we met along the way. People photos are unique, the moments fleeting. For me, it is more special to capture a street scene or portrait of someone we met along the way, versus a landscape or cityscape. And getting people photos was easy last year, since the friendly people of Indonesia and Thailand are eager and willing to be photographed.

Below are my top 10 photos of people from the year. I’d greatly appreciate it if you vote for your favorite and leave a comment about what you liked. You are welcome to vote multiple times and lavish praise upon all them if you really want to.

Note: For my top 10 photos of places, click here.

Top 10 People Photos of 2014

1. Boys on a Bike

Bajawa people

When it hujans in Indonesia, in pours. Shortly after a torrential downpour in Bajawa, these boys were amongst the first to venture out, speeding by on their bike despite the spitting rain.

2. Belaragi SmileBelaragi Village woman people

In the tiny, traditional village of Belaragi in central Flores, we met this lady with a 1000-megawatt smile. She was one of three people in the village that morning. It was Sunday, and everyone else had walked four miles to the nearest church. Sinner.

3. Swimming Boy

Boy swimming at Rinca

At the town of Rinca in Komodo National Park, this boy kept running and jumping off the pier into the ocean. I wonder if his mother scolded him for his wet clothes?

4. Future Indonesian Rock Star

Indonesian Musician

After a long, sweaty hike on Kelimutu volcano, we spent the afternoon drinking juice, Bintang and people watching. The best part: this guy and a few other very talented musicians were practicing. We had a nice private concert.

5. Learning to surf is hard

Surfing boy in Bali

Seen on Kuta Beach, Bali.

6. Combat PhotographyCombat Photography

The man in the front left with the tripod and DSLR camera arrived about an hour before sunset, staked out the perfect spot and waited for the sun to slip behind the temple. Dozens of kids on a school trip, all armed with camera phones and point-and-shoot cameras, realized he had the perfect vantage point and swarmed him. Poor guy.

7. Tana Toraja Funeral

Tana Toraja Funeral

In central Sulawesi, the Torajan people host some of the most complicated funeral rituals on Earth. Here, the family of the deceased looks on.

8. Shy Boy

boy ubud

In the Ubud market, this boy kept shyly flirting with us. I could tell he wanted me to take his photo. When he put his head on the bike and looked at me, I had to snap the photo.

9. Loy Kratong 

Loy Kratong in Min BuriWe happened to be in Bangkok during Loy Kratong, a major Buddhist holiday. Worshippers light candles on kratongs, then float them down a waterway to wash away sin. Most of the people seem more focused on taking photos than praying. This long exposure photo was taken in the Min Buri district, a non-touristy area in Bangkok. We were visiting friends who live in Bangkok and got an authentic look at the festival and city.

10. Ballin’ Nieces

Boomer Basketball

One of the great joys of visiting my family in Oklahoma is getting to watch my nieces play sports. I can still beat one of them. Can you tell which one that is?


Thank you for voting in the poll! 

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Currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I travel, write, take photos, and stalk street cats. ~

20 thoughts on “My Top 10 Photos of 2014: People”

  1. Rob Dye says:

    Great photos, Jeff! I like your Places pix and I think you have a great talent for nature photography. But I am always partial to People photos, especially unusual people with smiles on their faces! I voted for the boy swimming, but also loved the woman sinning on her porch, and the two boys riding their bike in the rain. Thanks for sharing your travels with us!

    • Thanks Rob. I like the boy swimming also because I was able to capture that moment of genuine happiness. I like the sinner also because she actually smiled! Often times in Asia when someone poses for a photo, they are often beaming a smile right before I shoot the photo then they wipe it away and get very serious, then start smiling again as soon as it is over.

  2. Wonderful photos Jeff. I love swimming boy and shy boy the best. I imagine that you can still beat that gorgeous niece in the middle. 🙂

    • You are right, Sue, the niece in the middle isn’t up to beating me yet. I do have a 110 pound and 2 foot height advantage though.

      Thanks for voting. I like the swimming boy a lot as well. It is genuine happiness on his face.

  3. Great photos Jeff! My favourite is Shy Boy. You captured the spirit of this beautiful boy, his eyes speak to you!

    • HAHAHA! Yes Debbie, that poor photographer had his personal space violated in a big way. Sometimes people watching is far more entertaining than the sites themselves.

  4. So many good expressions. I like the shy boy the best and still cringing at the poor combat photography guy’s situation.

  5. Very nice work. It’s very satisfying in Indonesia when someone “wants” their photo taken, or thanks you afterward for taking it. Good job, good photos, good words. My blog is 11 days old, it’s nice to see a blog that works!

    • Congratulations on starting a blog. It can be a fun way to share stories and photos and I wish you the best luck. Indonesian people are very nice, the nicest I’ve ever met, and having a camera in hand often leads to interactions. Thank you for the comment!

  6. Although I have chosen the smile they are all great photos and capture the essence of the places so enjoyed them all!!

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