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Ubud, Bali – A place of intense peace

A few weeks before traveling to Ubud for a week long break with my partner, I was having moments of anxiety. My ideas on photography seemed to be getting heavily challenged, Instagram was making me feel horrible about my approaches to street photography, and all in all, I finally felt the heavy hand that social media has on the content creation world.

To add to this, Wix was causing me some issues too (I was getting spam calls by third party companies who had bought my details from Wix, and repeated charges on my card for a domain that wasn’t coming up for renewal, and they made it impossible for people to read my blog, so I’ve come back to wordpress). All in all I felt like I was in a horrible place with my art, website, and where I was sharing my work. This holiday was well needed because I was having some hard time’s at work too. I couldn’t wait to get to Bali to take my mind of the pressure I was feeling about everything in general and that’s exactly what I did.

a man points to the left while speaking to another man. Both are standing in a pool at Tirta Empul, a water palace known for its purification ceremony. People stand beyond them in the back ground waiting to be purified. The main pointing is carrying gifts for his god
Two men wait to complete their purification at Tirta Empul – Photo by Ed Fetahovic

Ubud is an incredible place, albeit not your typical Bali tropical paradise. Ubud is located about an hour and a half drive inland from Denpasar. There are no lush beaches to retreat to on a hot and humid day. The main streets are dense with foot, car and scooter traffic, but amongst these intense and sometimes almost scary moments (if you haven’t been, you’ll understand if you go and experience the scooter riders and how freely they ride) you have yourself a beautiful hub of culture and moderinity manifesting nicely side by side.

With my mental and creative state not all there, I found day 1 impossible. I couldn’t line up shots I usually enjoy taking, there was little aesthetic there which was common to my normal style of photography, and I was still feeling the pressure. But my partner had booked an incredible place for us to stay at, one which had a pool, and outdoor shower and a beautfuil view into the rice paddocks beyonds our villa – I decided I needed to focus on these lush things and not worry about my some what distressed creative state. I had to let it go, take in the unique beauty that Ubud offered and just free my minds from the mundane rigor of everyday life.

A group of people standing in the Water Palace purification pools, impatiently waiting their turn to use the purification stream
People lining up to be purified – photo by Ed Fetahovic

I had to slow down

It took me about a day to slow down, find my groove and change my approach to my ideas. As you can see above, the photos I’m sharing aren’t my typical geometric style. On the recommendation of my partner, which was to just chill and turn off to everything else and just to enjoy myself, I literally decided to turn my camera toward people and just documented what they were doing without any thoughts or attempts to achive anything beyond observation. Ubud, although not being a beach paradise, is absolutly a place in which you can unwind and slow down. Looking past the almost chaotic nature of their roads, you’ll likely notice a slow relaxed pace for almost everything. None of the locals are in a rush to get anywhere and all of them have a smile on their face. I took this observation on wholeheartedly and absorbed it ridding myself of any negative thoughts and feelings.

I loosen up and began to enjoy photographing a different place, especially a place I was unfamiliar with. I felt happier behind my camera shooting people aimlessly, than I have for some time trying to replicate a couple of my more successful photos which are doing the rounds on lens culture. I got so caught up trying to replicate that success, I forgot how to enjoy photography – so turning off to all of that and just following the relaxed flow of Ubud brought back my otherwise lost creativity.

Ubud became infinitly more enjoyable the moment I relaxed, and just focused on photographing things I enjoyed. I even let myself edit up a couple of black and white photos which I took at Tegenungan; an incredible waterfall location you can go to. There are a couple of ways of getting there, however we were lucky our villa package included a half trip day so we didnt pay for the travel. Local drivers are the best way to get around in my opinion otherwise. Make sure you speak to a local driver if you want to organise a good price, it’s not receommended to use Uber or Grab in Ubud.

I found my flow : What about Ubud?

To close this first post, I thought I would share some favourite food places in Ubud with you in case you are ever interested in going there. Below is a list of cafes/resturants I highly recommend you check out if you like eating fabulous food. It’s a little pricer than the local Warrungs, but well worth the extra few dollars.

Thank you for reading the offical first post on my new blog. I’m sad I can’t transfer the effort I put into my Wix blog over to WordPress, but after a few years of struggling with Wix I had to let it go. I hope to keep posting here with ideas, travel, photos, book reviews and more as time passes.
You can check out more of my photography on my instagram linked above. Thank you for checking out my first post and see you soon 🙂

~Ed

#photography #ubud #bali

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