Looking back on the ZEISS Challenge: Touit in Bangkok
In eight photo votings the ZEISS community decided on their favorite photos taken by two teams of photographers in Thailand’s capital Bangkok. Days full of excitement, emotion and fun, but also unforeseen situations, lie behind us which offered us many new insights into Thai culture and travel photography. Laura Saffiotti, Mac Kwan, Muga Miyahara and David Maupilé let the audience participate in their activities every day during the ZEISS Challenge. Below you can find behind-the-scenes information on every Challenge. You can read about the most demanding aspects of every task and what was most interesting for the photographers. And you can see which photo won each day. Of course in a competition there is always one winner. It was really a neck-and-neck race. Finally, Team Community, consisting of Laura Saffioti and Mac Kwan, collected more votes for their photos than Team Professional and scored a very narrow victory in the ZEISS Challenge. Congratulations!
But alongside all its competitive aspects, the ZEISS Challenge also stands for outstanding teamwork: our four photographers learned a great deal about each other’s work and they shared a lot of memorable moments together.
We want to say thank you to everyone from our large community on Facebook, Twitter, the Camera Lens Blog and Flickr who took part in this exciting experience. Thanks for almost 3,000 votes for the challenges and photos and for your many comments, questions, shares and likes and for many new fans and followers – more than 1,000 alone from Bangkok! And again we want to say thank you to our photographers Mac, Muga, Laura and David for being part of the ZEISS Challenge: Touit in Bangkok and providing us with so many wonderful photos.
Day 1: The Narrow Streets of Chinatown
Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the oldest areas in the city, dating back to the establishment of the Thai capital itself. Chinese traders and their families had already lived in Bangkok long before it became the capital and the royal family took up residence here. Due to its long history, Chinatown has lots of small alleys and roofed markets which are perfect to explore as a traveler. They are busy and bustling and full of people going about their various trades and business. What better way to start trying out the new Touit lenses? The four were very pleased with the community’s choice and went directly there after arriving in Bangkok to enjoy a delicious seafood dinner.
Day 2: Striking Faces
Upon arrival in Bangkok, our four photographers immediately noticed the sheer number of people who smiled to them, many of them looking as if their life stories could fill several books. The four were therefore very happy when the community decided “striking faces” was to be the topic of the second Challenge. This was on the one hand very easy, as there are so many different and interesting people in Bangkok, but on the other hand hard as they would have loved to have shared all of their photos but had to choose just one for the voting.
Day 3: Floating Markets
Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East because of its many waterways. The mighty Maen Chao Phraya and the various Khlongs in particular were full of junks and other boats. Here, the people of the city traded goods and many also lived on their boats. Nowadays many of these canals have been converted into streets but some still remain. These are home to some of the floating markets that are left. Unfortunately, the opening times and locations of these markets are not always known for sure. After visiting a market early in the morning which had been closed just some weeks earlier, the four photographers set out on a long day trip by boat, taxi and minivan in search of other markets to get their photo for the day. Things like this happen when you travel; what is important, is to use the experience and get as much out of it as possible.
Day 4: Still Life
After the busy day roaming the greater Bangkok area for the floating market shots, the next Challenge the community decided on was tied to one location: a still life. The four went out early in the morning to look for supplies on the local markets and interesting places to compose their still life. This Challenge had a really relaxing aspect to it. One of our photographers is even said to have used it as a chance to meditate.
Day 5: Nightlife
Bangkok is infamous for its nightlife, so it was no surprise that the community chose this topic for the weekend. Nightlife is spread, like so much in Bangkok, across different places around the city. And as so many other things in Bangkok, the nightlife in each neighborhood has its own character: from local night-time markets, red-light areas, backpacker streets to empty roads – Bangkok has it all. The four were stunned by the many motifs presented to them – streets seemingly full of joy and pleasure, but with many dark sides as well.
Day 6: Colorful Bangkok
Traveling around Bangkok for the previous Challenges provided a wealth of visual stimulation to our two teams. Bangkok is a city full of colors, therefore the four were quite happy with this topic and thought at first that it would be easy. But after walking around for several hours to find the perfect shot, they were overwhelmed by all the possible ways of completing this task. As a result, the four final photos are really different and illustrate the specific approach of each individual photographer.
Day 7: The Spiritual City
The ZEISS Challenge wouldn’t have been complete without looking at Bangkok’s spiritual side. Again the topic was quite free and left the photographers more than enough room to show different sides of Bangkok’s spirituality. A smiling monk, praying worshippers, a Buddha statue and monks on their daily alms round: all these show how spirituality is an integral part of this bustling city.
Day 8: Free Shooting
A completely free Challenge? Would this be difficult or easy? The two teams decided not to have an easy day but rather to discover a new side of Bangkok. As suggested by the community on Facebook, the four went to the Khlong Toey area, known for its humble houses and slums. After reading about this area, the four felt they just had to go there. What they found were some of the most polite and friendly people they had met so far in Bangkok: food was offered to them, children invited them to play soccer with them, and many people were happy to be photographed and smiled proudly into the cameras.
But the ZEISS Challenge only marks the beginning of many more great shots with Touit. Because now it’s your turn: we can’t wait to see your photos taken with the new Touit lenses. You can share them in our Flickr group or on our Facebook page.