In the alleys that snake away from the light, shadows gather, holding stories etched in the faces of children, far too young to bear their weight.

This is a journey of shades, in the hears of South East Asia, a monochromatic mosaic, pieced together from stolen glances and silent whispers.

As I ventured deeper , from the verdant rice paddies of Vietnam and Laos, to the bustling ports of Thailand and Myanmar, a symphony of unspoken struggles resonated.

These children, their hands calloused beyond their years, eyes mirroring the wisdom of hardship, became my guides.

The camera, stripped of its chromatic cloak, became a confessor’s booth, capturing the raw essence of humanity stripped bare.

A tale of resilience, of souls.. refusing to be extinguished by the weight of circumstance.

In the absence of vibrant hues, the language of emotion takes centre stage – a tear glistening on a soot-smudged cheek, the ghost of a smile playing on lips chapped by the wind.

This is not an exposé, nor a neatly packaged narrative. It is a mosaic, each shard reflecting a sliver of truth, a testament to the shared humanity that binds us, regardless of the shades that paint our existence.

It is an invitation to step into the shadows, to listen to the unheard, to see the unseen, and to recognise the flicker of hope that dances even in the deepest twilight.

As we turn the page on this monochrome chapter, let the image linger: innocence, a fragile flame defying the darkness.

While each nation in Southeast Asia boasts its unique identity, this project unveils how the region’s shared history, economic realities, and environmental challenges, shape the lives of its young citizens.

It’s a journey through the common threads that bind their struggles and triumphs.