“I had a dream about you. It’s been a while since I could remember any of my dreams, and still, this one has left me with such strong impression. Even now, when I am fully awake, your face flashes before my eyes. It’s a face I can totally relate to, as if it wasn’t any more yours than it is mine. Terrifying thing, you know? I can’t say I’ve felt that sort of intimacy with anyone. For a moment you knew all my secrets, without me even having to tell them. For a moment I even knew them myself…”

Aleksandra Ninkovic, Dreaming is for lovers

“I think people make their own faces, as they grow.” ― Enid Blyton, The Naughtiest Girl Again 


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 A little girl from Trinidad, Cuba

AND I STILL VIVIDLY REMEMBER YOUR FACE…portraits speak a million words and faces we see everyday, each has a story. There is an anecdote behind every scar, a heartbreak behind every wound and a struggle behind every line. A friend of mine once said, “I do not find beauty in flawlessness, but it is the one with blemishes which tells the story of a life lived, struggles won or lost”. Faces leave deep impressions on us, deeper than we know and during our travels, we also seek different cultures, unknown or unique from our own. These cultures leave traces on the faces of those who follow them and this photo essay is dedicated to portraits on my Instagram. Not all of the images are portraits in traditional sense, but each image will invite you to create a story behind its existence.

“The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.” ― Marcus Tullius Cicero 

Morning peace

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 No travel portrait is complete without the frozen smiling faces of Bayon, Cambodia

Reclining Buddha at Dambulla

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 The watchful face of the reclining Buddha at Dambulla Cave, Sri Lanka

“She was not one for emptying her face of expression. ” ― J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey 

I saw this dancer at Apsara show at Siem Reap in Cambodia. She was the lead dancer of the troupe and was always in the front. I was mesmerised by her and could not take my eyes off her. But it was not her position, the grace of her movements or her flower like beauty which caught my attention. She was an immobile mask and I have never experienced a face so still. It was a totally empty face, totally devoid of expressions or even a slightest twitch and I wondered if she practised freezing her face for her dance routine.

The Khmer Apsara

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 The Khmer Apsara dancer at Siem Reap, Cambodia

“It was a bland, tranquilized, life-adjusted, group-integrated sort of face — the face turned out in thousands of copies every year by the educational production lines on Terra.” ― H.Beam Piper, Little Fuzzy 

Tibetan Glory

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 A Tibetan dancer at a festival in Ladakh, India

“A mask tells us more than a face.” ― Oscar Wilde

Pulikali Tigerman

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 A Pulikali dancer at Thrissur, Kerala in India

Kathakali Dazzle

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 Kathakali dancer at Fort Cochin, Kerala in India

“Phyllida’s hair was where her power resided. It was expensively set into a smooth dome, like a band shell for the presentation of that long-running act, her face.” ― Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot     

The long neck lady

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 A long neck lady at Chiang Mai, Thailand

That morning smile

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 A beautiful Masai woman in Tanzania

Kutch pride

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 A Kutch lady

The Meghwal mother

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 A Meghwal woman at Bhuj, Gujarat in India

“Faces always talk too much. One line and all their plans are revealed.” ― Floriano Martins  

The piercing gaze of Kutch

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 A man from Kutch, India

Kutch Beauty

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 A lady from Kutch, India

“In his face there came to be a brooding peace that is seen most often in the faces of the very sorrowful or the very wise. But still he wandered through the streets of the town, always silent and alone.”
― Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter  

Arabian Felix….the man from Yemen

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 A man from Sanaa, Yemen

Common colours of Badami

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 A farmer from Badami, Karnataka in India

It can only get more colourful in Rajasthan. The things that make me crave for you.

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 A man from Bundi, Rajasthan

The face of Kolkata

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 A man from Kolkata, India

“Soul smiles through the lips of a happy face”
― Munia Khan  

The children of the lake

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 Children at flooded forest at Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Bird feed seller at Sule Paya

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 A bird feed seller at Yangon, Myanmar

Odisha laughing

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 A Paraja tribe woman laughing at Odisha, India

“They were different colors: the right one blue, the left green. And her face in the light of the candle on the table startled me at first, just as it had in the icy night air. After seeing it on the street, I was afraid I had only imagined it: a still, luminous face with a silvery sheen. Finely hewn, with a long, straight nose and a wide mouth, it was nearly identical to another face, which I had photographed years before. Not on a person, bu on the fragment of a frieze I found in some ruins near Verona, The frieze, which depicted a band of musicians, had once been shadowed beneath a cornice high on the temple of Mercury, god of magic. Belonging to one of the musicians, it was a riveting face – like a puzzle that could not be solved – which I had never found, or expected to find, on a living woman.”
― Nicholas Christopher, Veronica  

Bundi miniature mural

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 A beautiful woman fresco at Bundi, India

Singapore Textures

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 A very lined face from Singapore

“I have said that she had no face; but that meant she had a thousand faces”
― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces


The woman from Hababa

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 A faceless Yemeni lady at Hababa village, Yemen