This video was kindly produced by Yahoo and the Flickr team in New York in 2014 and it represents my artist statement visually and verbally.
One of my favorite things about big cities is movement. People moving, going places, coming from places, going up stairs, crossing roads, cycling, running, walking and playing a part in rotating the great metropolis wheel. It’s the urban magic waiting for us photographers on every corner.
Visiting the city we called home for almost 12 years is nothing short of strange at first. But within a day or two I felt the streets call me back with their charm, unique flair and warmth of the people. So little of the old city is left as the large construction projects drive forward leaving bits and pieces of the beautiful old alleys around the city. As I walk around and find huge empty lots and big buildings on the sites of my favorite alleys, I realize that all my photography over the years in Shanghai has been about recording history and vanishing alleys that are never to come back again…
All images taken during a meetup of photographers I organized last Saturday in Kunst im Tunnel museum in Düsseldorf.
I think the beat way to feel the souls of a place is to meet it at a magical moment, a time when something as common as night surrendering to day never fails to amaze us. Every time that I witness a sunrise, it seems as if I gained a chunk of time, a bonus bit of living that would otherwise have been lost to me.
Vibrant, colorful, artful, tolerant, cosmopolitan, reasonable, creative, culinary, interesting… some words that pop in my mind when I reflect on Berlin. Few days were just a teaser for me and they just tug at me to visit again and again. What a city!
There is a charm that can only be captured on a rainy day and a mood particular to that atmosphere of chilly raindrops, umbrellas and leaves blowing in the wind that I always long to photograph. It’s visual poetry that turns gloom into romance and magnifies the bit of light the day has against the dark background. I wouldn’t hide my camera from the rain, no, I would always choose to join it.
And don’t get me started on reflections…
How gratifying it is to explore the spinning sphere we call home. Each time I plan a new trip, I feel a bubbling of excitement at the unknown that would undoubtedly meet, the amazing people who cross my path and the images my camera would capture. It is as soul nourishing journey when I am far from my routine, away from the usual comforts of home and when I get the chance to push the limits of what I know. It makes me think of how knowledge was collected prior to the industrial revolution and the schooling systems that created machines for the industry; before that time knowledge was sought through experience, apprenticeship and exploration. What an incredibly esoteric experience.
Where is your next journey taking you?
It’s 2019, I used to imagine 2019 as a child with a cloud or mystery and wonderment, what could the future hold? How will we be? where will we be? what would we be doing?
I have always been fascinated with the unknown. It is about that excitement in the pit of my stomach every morning that is a fine line between inspiration and not knowing what the day will hold. Life changed me, it took me to different places in myself and in the world, I gained and I lost, I laughed and I cried, but this gift of loving the unknown never left me. I am thankful for that. It’s what drives me to create, to want to explore and to see rather than look, feel and not only be.
I wish you all an inner peace and the gift of inspiration, no matter where you are and what you are doing. Life is a mystery, waiting to be lived.
Marrakech, a city that does not trust photographers, a place that lives off tourists and snubs them say the same time, but that’s just on the surface. In the last 4 days I asked every local I had the chance to speak with why is there such an automatic and immediate negative response to being photographed, and strangely, no one could give me a straight answer. So I took an approach that I never had to use before in all my travels, I asked, then I laughed and joked (speaking Arabic is definitely helping) and somehow the ice was breaking here and there. It has definitely been a great exercise in disarming, building trust and finding a human common ground connection that is making it all worthwhile.
More about my day in the Berber villages in the next post.
One of the things I was looking forward to moving to Europe is the proximity of amazing cities. So many photographic opportunities are a few hours drive away and the impressions are varied and endless.