Bali Street Photography

mark l chaves
3 min readJul 15, 2018
“People think far too much about techniques and not enough about seeing.” ~Henri Cartier-Bresson. Flick of the hand at Pasar Ubud on 35 mm film.

Intersecting views

For me, street photography resembles more of a philosophy than a technique. I’ve tried to express the philosophy below.

“To see rather than look. To create rather than take. To explore rather than visit. To connect rather than separate.”

When I think of Bali, I think of the native people who live here. For me, the allure of Bali is the people. They are that common thread which entices travellers from all over the world. Without them, there would be no magic.

So, the intersection of Bali and street photography is the creation of something fundamentally authentic. It’s the creation of art from the mundane. It’s the showcase of the overlooked and dismissed.

Where time stands still — Pasar Umum Gianyar.

Where time stands still

The traditional shops and markets (pasars) are the veins of the community. Food, tonics, hardware, and spices are not the only “goods”. In the pasars, the latest news and life updates are done face-to-face in real-time.

I thoroughly enjoy being in the pasar. Almost every village will have one. Even in the most touristy of markets, you will see Bali as if time stood still. But, you must get there early in the morning.

Ubud Strideby

A monochrome view

I generally stick to the black and white tradition of street photography. I feel that colours can easily obfuscate a deeper meaning that lies underneath a flashy facade. Sometimes the weight of cultural rituals can appear on people’s faces. A viewer could be quickly distracted by the colourful costumes and miss the telling facial expressions.

I love noticing what clothes people wear–their style. Everyone is fashionable in the eyes of a passionate street photographer.
Midday at the pasar — Pasar Ubud on 35 mm film.
Impromptu artistic portrait — Pasar Ubud on 35 mm film.
A young Balinese girl prepares offerings (canang sari) for sale. If you understand canang, then you understand Bali.
Chasing harsh light at Pasar Ubud, Bali Indonesia.
The “not-so-decisive” moment.
A cinematic view of Pasar Ubud — chasing harsh light part 2.
The meaning of life.

Photography and words by mark l chaves. See more on

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mark l chaves

I slung code for Fortune 500 companies in a previous life. Now, I write and make some photographs. I’ve moved on to Portfolio on