To be a photographer is to see where others just looking
Since very early childhood we find ourselves drawn to certain colors. We choose our clothes in those colors, we declare that color to be our favorite, we like to draw and write in shades of it and we realize from early on that color has a great influence in our lives. I remember growing up with a great sense of pride listening to the story of the first clothing dye having been brought to the world by the Phoenician grandfathers of my country. Tyrian purple (originating in Tyre, a harbor town in Lebanon) was a violet-purple dye derived from the shell of the Murex sea-snail, and was used to color garments of the Elite at that time in the whole region. And color is all around us inspiring us, influencing us, the charging red, the calming blue, the clarity inducing white, the appetizing orange…
As I have been drawn so much to sepia tones and black and white photography lately, I felt like posting a colorful shot today, the fresh juicy red pepper!
As a photographer, the eyes are as important a tool as the camera. To find a subject, a moment worth freezing and capturing, we first have to ‘see’ it. It is a special kind of seeing. The eye becomes the lens zooming in, zooming out, composing, measuring, evaluating and discussing options with the brain, the imagination, other senses… a magical theater of composition. And then at some moment it all feels right, and the hand goes to click the shutter. But none of that could happen without the initial orchestration of the eyes. I have so much value for my eyes when I follow my passion in photography, which makes me constantly aware of the incredibly complex and sophisticated machine we humans are lucky to live in here on Earth.
Small things draw out our softer side. We see babies and we change our behavior immediately, we smile, we speak softly, we ‘ooo’ and we ‘aaaa’ at them. Babies and little creatures are simply so cute and we are programmed to want to care for them and protect them, most of us at least. And it is a very clever programming as you would expect from our maker for the benefit of the little people.
photo taken: baby snail on Lea’s palm
Isn’t it so wonderful that passion, love, attraction are part of this planetary existence? Those wonderful encompassing feelings that swipe us off of our feet, that throw our logic, practicality and rules out the window and into the breeze. And we are so lucky when we can feel that power even for a brief moment, when our blood throbs in our veins, when our heads feel dizzy with the lightness of our being in that brief pause of everything else. Another wonderful gift, another sprinkle of magic in our planetary lives.
photo taken: two butterflies mating in the cedars of Lebanon
They live in colonies, the communicate amongst themselves, they have the ability to solve complex problems, they have ranks, leadership, work ethics, they colonize new territories, they invade neighbors, they serve their queens… do they remind you of any other Eartlhlings?
I spent a long time watching this group of workers with their leader as they moved a discarded piece of potato chips along a distance of about 5 meters, working so methodically, so quickly and with the so much effort, each ant concentrating on its task at hand until they finally dragged it under a rock to the base of their colony. They moved in a straight line to their final goal, it was so incredible to witness. As this was right in front of our building, a few people of course pitied my insanity (well I was kind of crawling on the ground), and I had to ward off a little toddler who almost crushed the whole miracle with his foot and with a semi evil look on his face, the one little boys have when they are about to exercise their power over an insect! :)
The sticky fly in warm weather is perhaps the most annoying of all insects I used to think. It just comes to land on your skin and keeps coming back no matter how many times you ‘shu shu shu’ it. When growing up in Lebanon we children were told that the fly was an invention of the beautiful Egyptian queen Nefertiti as she was bored one day and needed to entertain herself. So I used to walk around cursing queen Nefertiti and her boredom each time a fly woke me up early in the morning.
Today, I was exploring during a brief pause in the persistent Shanghai rain showers, so while Lea was looking for snails, I was photographing little bugs. And it made me think of how incredibly diverse our planet is, how amazing, complex, beautiful, colorful and completely different each living thing is. What an incredible garden of plenty, with so much to see, meet and discover. If you look closely, all is amazing, stunning, beyond belief, even the fly!
It is given by gentlemen to their lady friend as a gift, it used to be gifted to other governments as a sign of friendship, it is used in folk dances, it comes in different sizes, shapes, folding, fixed, small, large, painted, carved… and it is very beautiful.
It has been a staple in China’s culture for over 3 thousand years, the fan. It’s original purpose was for creating a breeze in warm days, and it was made from a wide variety of materials like bamboo, feathers, silk, sunflowers, paper among several other materials. It is one of the delicate things that say ‘China’ and a certain part of the culture that is still very much alive and held on to and celebrated. I love watching the lady dancers with their fans every morning in the streets of Shanghai who move with so much grace and charm!
It has been raining steadily for a few days in Shanghai. It is the kind of rain that is born of harmoniously grey overcast skies and the rain that calls on the essence of patience in us. Patience because the rain shows no signs of stopping soon, it just falls steadily sometimes just a drizzle, and other times a heavy downpour, but it keeps falling. We have not seen a blue sky in days and this has forced me to go internally with my contemplations because that is what rain does. It made me dwell on the search journey we each find ourselves in. Everyone is searching for something, everyone is on a quest, on a journey. Very few know exactly what they are searching for, but for the most, it is a sense of drifting in search for a purpose. How often do you ask yourself why you were born here on Earth, and how often do you have a satisfying answer…
Just a mystery ponder
This particular and ancient truth has been quite upfront lately in world affairs. Somehow this ancient lesson is being applied and demonstrated repeatedly in the last few years from events in Iran, to Egypt, to Yemen, and to most recently the current events in Syria. I am normally not someone who is drawn to writing, commenting or thinking too much about politics, but I do look at this issue in terms of trends happening in the world. And this recent phenomenon of people coming together and protesting a valid cause, an injustice or an oppressive regime, is becoming the way these nations forcing their way into reformation.
And this concept works just the same within our minds. One of the biggest enemy of our personal development is dispersion and conflicting thoughts. Somehow a magnetic force is needed to align our thoughts to all face in one direction, towards our purpose and away from our past patterns. Only then are we able to draw on enough inner strength to overcome hurdles and obstacles in our way and to reform our old ways of going on.
photo: potpourri twigs tied in a bundle from Ikea :)