Identity is something that all too often isn’t simply defined by who we are, but instead it’s enhanced and loaded by what we wear, use and consume.
Around the world we see that product regularly plays a part in defining and characterising us, but when you strip all of that away what do you get?
This is what was going through my mind on a recent trip to Bali.
The reason that this location stirred such a question is that on many levels it feels like (to me at least) Bali is a location identifiable on it’s own merits without consumerism playing a role in skewing or informing a sense of identity.
On face value, the Indonesian island mixes picturesque tranquility with a rustic, grounded and raw appreciation of life. This existence is full of positivity and character, something that resonates through the landscape and the people.
In this photo essay, I wanted to explore this by looking at the people and locations that I came across in 2 diversely different locations within Bali.
Canggu is a thriving coastal village which is currently undergoing a rampant transformation from a sleepy coastal surf location into a thriving cultural hub of art, music, food, fashion and entertainment.
While surfing has been at the heart of Canggu’s identity for many years, the lifestyle that this represents has seen an explosion in it’s appeal. Alongside surfing Pretty Poison is a mecca for the Bali skate scene, and from there cafes, restaurants, boutique hotels and fashion labels are emerging at an alarming rate as the once sleepy destination becomes a hub with edge and a significant dose of the cool factor.
There is no denying that Canggu is a mecca for the young, but the older generations play their part too as they continue to offer the colour, positivity and character that add’s to it’s appeal
In contrast to Canggu, Ubud is a cultural destination in a completely different vein.
A thriving city, Ubud is steeped in history, rich in history and spirituality and as such offers a very different lure to Canggu.
While the city streets are busy and frantic, the environment is paradoxically quiet and serene. Lush and beautiful rolling hills and rice fields are offset against temples that are respectfully worshipped by the locals.
In contrast, the young and cool hub of Canggu and the serene spirituality of Ubud offer something of a contrast, they throughout the identity of Bali remains constant throughout.
The people and landscape have an honesty and earnestness that yields a genuine sense of self not swayed or diluted by other influences. Let’s hope it stays that way.