The familiar rattle of plastic discs being shaken in a plastic container can be heard from the street corner. A number was called, followed by light banter, a few laughs, more small talk and then it was “Bingo!”.
It was a ladies’ club in the small rural town of Babatngon. Bingo was their pastime on a daily basis. One lady said it was better than staying home doing nothing, while another interjected that as long as they were there, there’d be no issues with innuendos. Small talk goes around very quickly in a small town.
Having a male senior citizen join their game made him the butt of their jokes, but he always knew how to respond, using adult language that would be classified as R-18.
There were children around who could hear the loaded verbal exchanges, but they’ll have a lot of growing up to do before they can understand a word being said.
Each player brought their own set of cards and each card in play was P1.00 in the pot. The winner of each game wins a percentage of the total pot.
Aside from bringing their own cards, they brought along their own markers. One of them brought colored glass.
Another had a purse of old coins.
This chap still has his jar of shiny black and white flat bottomed marbles.
And those others who didn’t have their own markers had to make do with the pebbles that were provided in-house.
And then another day will pass.
Great photography. Nice essay. Loved it.
Reblogged this on Kisah Hidup SI Absen Terakhir.
While stationed in South Korea I watched the locals playing Go-Stop with Hwatu cards. They are as popular as our 52 card decks of poker cards. The cards are red with pictures on one side they are about the size of a box of matches.
here we have mahjong, but I have yet to be allowed to take photos as there is huge betting involved. Maybe one of these days…
Great Blog you have Sir!
Another great blog entry. You really hold to your own in photographing people, Sir Orlando. Definitely a blog everyone should follow. Great job!
thank you, Leo. I grew up in an environment that required a lot of human interaction, and to me that is a big advantage in getting people to be comfortable.
I really want to do something like this. I know I’ve expressed my interest in doing this kind of photography to you by asking tips from you but I haven’t gathered enough guts and courage yet to go out on my own and actually do it. I’m so worried about how people will react and my reaction to their reaction. I’ll study your techniques from your photos some more and hopefully apply them correctly in the field…when I finally decide to do it. You compose your photos very well. I believe it’s because you never make your subjects feel uncomfortable and uneasy being around you with a camera. So they tend to not mind you and do their thing in their most natural way; uninhibited and unguarded.
Don’t worry too much about how people will react but instead go out and get first hand feedback. Just remember to be respectful of other people.
I’m leading the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk this coming October 5, details can be found here: http://worldwidephotowalk.com/walk/tacloban-city-eastern-visayas-philippines/ This might be a good way to start as it is always easier when you’re with a group. Endpoint is at Cafe Lucia where we can all talk about the walk, or anything under the sun. Registration for the walk is free.
Beautiful and effective black and white photography! You photograph people so well 🙂
Thank you, Lara. I would put much of the credit to these people for allowing me to take their photos, and their hospitality. I understand that in some countries, people do not like to be photographed.
It takes courage to ask permission to photograph them though. This is something I need to work on when travelling I think!
I have very little experience shooting abroad, but from what I know is that knowing the language does help a lot, or if that’s not possible, hiring a guide is the next best choice. I do spend some time talking with the people I want to photograph before I start shooting, as in this case, I sat with them for a half hour and I wasn’t in a hurry.
I study French at university so that will definitely help when I go to live in Paris in December! Do you find that people get annoyed if they feel like you are only talking to them so that you can take their photograph? How do you go about asking? Sorry for all the questions!
France would be a great place for photography.
So far I haven’t encountered people being annoyed by my presence, or at least they were civil enough not to let me know. I am normally curious about so many things I don’t know, and for most of the people here, they are flattered that someone is taking interest in what they are doing. I am drawn to mundane subjects, so I guess a casual conversation about what they are doing is always very welcome. The busier they are, the quicker they will go back to their tasks and leave you to take photos as long as you don’t interfere with their work too much. (Having your camera visible upon first contact would already let your subject know that you want to take photos, and judging by how they respond, you can already feel if they are willing to be photographed or not.) I also make it a point to be very respectful, smile a lot and say thank you before leaving. Of course, this applies to where I am and might not hold true in other places.
Thank you so much for all your help! I will definitely use those tips in France 🙂 Thanks again for taking the time to reply
you’re welcome. Glad to be of help. 🙂
Bingo inside malls use high-tech gadgets… but these people’s “personal” bingo markers make a more interesting story.
What I wasn’t able to capture was the bucket of pebbles they had, and how those pebbles were dumped onto the table when a new player joins. It was already mid afternoon when I came across the place and I doubt if anyone would still be coming in for a game.
have a nice week,
thanks and have a nice week ahead, Vincent.
What a great set of pictures! I love the mix of perspectives and subjects – a head-on shot of the lady looking at her cards, the over-the-shoulder shot, a close-up of hands and cards, a picture with the village in the background, and the first picture that shows multiple tables of players receding into the background. You do good street photography, my friend!
thank you, Vivian.
A photo essay that everyone ought to see.
a simple pastime that makes one forget for a moment hard life and politics ( I don’t think they even care ). Pure fun and hoping for luck to alight. once again it is ” bingo” from Mr. Uy !!!!
They’re definitely playing to pass the time and pass on local gossip too.