Monday, July 19, 2010

Mervyn Leong: Hammams, Spreader of Warmth

Here's a lovely audio-slideshow by the gifted Mervyn Leong W.Y. which you can either view on Vimeo (click above) or via his website here. The quality of the latter is better.

Mervyn attended the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Istanbul (he also attended last year's in Manali), and participated in Rena Effendi's Telling A Human Story Through A Compelling Portrait class. I spent time with Mervyn as he prepared to photograph inside the less-than-hospitable-for-photography interiors of the hammams, and can vouch for his meticulous planning, and how he took pains to wrap his camera, lenses and audio gear in saran-wrap (to protect them against moisture and steam).

An engineer by profession, Mervyn took photography and photojournalism more seriously a couple of years ago, and has made impressive strides in his work. He's also endowed with an encyclopedic knowledge of gastronomy, cooking and food in general.

I think that Hammams: Spreader of Warmth is a very well made audio slideshow (I particularly like the opening image of the slideshow, which is almost a painting), and the audio tracks are well sync'ed. You'll find it a delight to watch...and like the patrons enjoying the turkish bath, you may feel equally relaxed and refreshed.

The hamams in the Ottoman culture started out as annexes to mosques, and quickly evolved into institutions and eventually into monumental structural complexes in the mid 1500s. Typical hamams consist of three interconnected rooms: the sıcaklık which is the hot room; the warm room which is the intermediate room; and the soğukluk, which is the cool room.

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