Urak Lawoi (People from the Sea) pays homage to the people of Southeast Asia. This collection of portraits has taken shape following my near-death experience in 2004 when the Asian Tsunami struck and the small fishing boat I was travelling in nearly capsized off the coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. My recollection of this event has recently appeared in The Guardian and on BBC World Service.
In the years since the tsunami, I've been privileged to continually return to the region and strengthen the connection I share with the Urak Lawoi people. My photographs document the growth of this relationship and my reverence for this culture, which is as unique and beautiful as the tropical landscapes it inhabits.
Created over the course of twelve years, the selection of these portraits offer an intimate view of everyday life in a region that is at the battlefront of globalisation and climate change. The photos focus on work, trade and family ties, often capturing multiple generations in one frame and questioning how the changes in the region will affect the lives of young people growing up today.
The Urak Lawoi have welcomed me and my camera into their world and I approach them with total honesty, curiosity and respect for their way of life. For me, capturing these images is an act of love and gratitude toward the Urak Lawoi who saved me from drowning.