Lost Smile

2021. Film. Selected for the category ‘Evidence' Bath Photography Festival. Bath. Somerset.

A snapshot of walking through the village of Ahangama, Sri Lanka.

I walk alone, crossing the railway track to the village shop, beach, jungle, Buddhist temple and paddy fields.

I feel deeply struck by my solitude, the harsh reality of village life in its raw authenticity, the beauty of nature, a cacophony of sounds, bird song, incessant barking, traffic beeping, chanting monks, the chimes of a bread van and thundering trains along the tracks, warning bells echo through the village as the heat and humidity envelope me.

A young woman's face greets me at every turn, a fading death notice in the form of a photograph posted on numerous telegraph poles, customary in the way of a rural village. This is a mother who pushed her children to safety, away from the track as she lost her life to the oncoming train and her children ask, "Where is my Mummy?" The monsoon arrives and a smile disintegrates.