Have you felt lately as though you keep on moving from one task to the next, from one place to another as if chased by your own shadow? It is as if we are all gripped by a fear of being caught standing still. We plan our year before it even starts and we project into our future leaving very little room for the unexpected. Our lives are preplanned and dictated in our phones that link to all our other devices that we allow to remind us that we are not free but bound inside our own self created prisons.
There is a moment, a split second, when you are with your camera in the streets, and a moment you were hoping for surrenders itself to you. I am referring to that brief time before your subject has a time to react to your lens. I love that magical click that finds the person inside of their essence; a line of connection between you, the lens and the person.
Today we had a little scare that Lea’s little finger was fractured. It was a close one, but luckily she escaped the worst. We spent some time after that looking at the X-Rays together and we were fascinated by the look of the human bone structure. It is incredible to see how much amazing engineering goes into the mechanics of the human complex, starting with the very foundation of our physical strength, our bones. And then one small accident and we can fracture that strength and spend weeks recovering. I remember breaking my arm 3 times as a child before reaching my daughters age (she is 10), and each time it felt somewhat heroic to go through the whole ordeal. And of course there was the white cast for everyone to sign :)
Photo taken of Lea through the X-Ray of her hand.
As the holidays approach fast, I dedicate my post today to those who work harder than most, who see no retirement day in their near future, and who bear the weight of life and the passing of years. They are all around us, patching up the holes in our social structure, tirelessly moving because stopping is not an option.
Anonymia, Greek for nameless, the state of us urban dwellers to each other. This suggests that our names define us and and who we have become in so many different ways. Being a stranger in the big city can be so comforting to those of us who opt for this lifestyle. We can be who we want to be if we choose to; those that don’t know us cannot fix us with their preconceptions, and this gives us room to grow and to change if we are so inclined.
Yes, it might be time for a name change…
We face the world day after day, week after week, we get shuffled around in lines, into cars, buses and trains, we get bombarded with information and visual stimuli; and the only thing that keeps us sane is the inner sanctum of our lives. We manage to keep parts of us hidden somewhere deep inside, guarded, protected and fortified. In public we wear our outside face, the one we save for the daily battle.
Our inner lives just wait for us to take them to a forest, a beach, a walk in nature, just to have a moment out of confinement, a break from our self-created prisons.
Have you ever been lost in the process of your art? Have you ever visited that place where time stands still and you are transported on the wings of creativity? So much peace attends this state and it is a wonderful gift to be in the presence of its happening.
In a world of texting, emailing, and ‘elf yourself’ video cards sent around for Christmas, it is so amazingly soothing to go back to basic crafts and to spend hours cutting, coloring, gluing and handwriting Christmas cards for loved ones. I suspect that as we speed into the future, taking the time to be invested in hand-made craft projects will be a thing of the past, when most things as we know them would be mass-produced and the charm of uniqueness lost forever. The last two days, we took the time, we played Christmas songs, created cards, ate cookies and had lovely long conversations. Another memory for the treasure box.
How often do I catch myself walking in the city with my eyes down watching the pavement and the flow of faceless people passing by. The city can do that to us, it can make us reduce humanity to a flow of bodies passing by, forgetting that each one of them has a story, a life and a face.
Mimo Khair is a Lebanese/American freelance photographer based in Shanghai, China. She has been traveling the world during the last 20 years in search of her stories and images. She began her photographic journey in New York City where she lived after her studies and has since exhibited and published her work globally mostly focusing on social issues, human rights and children’s rights as well as street photography and the arts. Mimo is currently teaching street photography internationally with photographer Michael Kistler as 'finding yourself in the streets' as well as at home in Shanghai where she lives with her husband and young daughter. Mimo was recently featured by the Weekly Flickr and Yahoo Screen through a 3 minute video. Mimo is currently blogging regularly for the Huffington Post. More of Mimo's work on Instagram, Flickr and Facebook.