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.
Do you ever wake up, look around you, watch the news, survey the world and realise we are living what can be likened to an apocalyptic ‘Mad Max’ situation?
We seem to see this, live through it and carry on as if nothing strange is really happening. This baffles me about the nature of humanity.
We have had a pandemic, war, aggression, hunger, rising crime rates, shootings, destruction, rapid climate change, insane leadership, economic collapse in so many places, military take-overs, assassinations, to count only some of what one hears about every day, and still, we carry on as if all is normal.
We seem to let ourselves be hypnotised by the media, by influencers, by the next trend, by television, news of celebrities, the next meal, alcohol, drugs, sex and on and on…
Where is humanity heading towards? This maybe dark for some, but that is the issue. We turn away and abdicate the responsibility of shining a light on the darkness and we simply relegate it to a trend in history.
Isn’t this a signal to a big change that is desperately needed? Who are the thinkers and planners of the better future we are all striving towards? Who can think beyond their own mortality and plan for the good of future generations?
When will we finally wake up?
They say nothing improves without practice… those 10,000 hours.
I have started organizing this meetup group over 15 years ago in shanghai and for the last 5 years here in duesseldorf. We walk the streets almost once a week with cameras, photographing, exchanging tips and experiencing the life of the street.
I love walking alone to do my photography but the group events are just as valuable. Seeing how the same scene can be translated so differently for each photographer reasserts for me the uniqueness of each human and the magic of diversity.
Our next event will be in the streets of Paris! Stay tuned.
You can see more about my meetup group here!
I have been gone from here a while and daily blog project paused because of many changes happening all at once in my world as they often do in people’s worlds. As I am mostly a very private person, I will remain vague about these upheavals.
At the start of this month, a magical project turned up when I was approached by a book publisher here in Duesseldorf with the option of creating my first photography book based on the recent work I have been sharing. Naturally I was thrilled as I do love photography books and I was not sure where to start with producing mine.
To keep a long story inside a single paragraph: I met the team, they are amazing, the title appeared, I received a huge amount of support from my friends, family, fellow artist and fans, and here we are in week 2 of the pre-sale of the book, which is already a go!
The pre-sale copies will be signed and will include a small surprise with them as thanks to those amazing people who are allowing the book to exist. It will be a 168 page hard cover book printed on beautiful quality paper and containing 160 images from this theme.
Thank you Snap Collective Publishing for this adventure and thank you all for supporting my work.
Continuing with the discovery journey of scanning my old slides and negatives…
I was once in New Zealand with a very special companion and found it to be a land of magic, beauty and power, if you have never been there, please try to get there at least once…
I was totally smitten with this black sand beach on the North Island (Keri Keri) when I was there almost 25 years ago. It has a power in the waves, the jet black sand and the wind that carries the sounds and stories of far far away with it.
I was living in New York City at the time and upon my return I never stopped talking to anyone who would listen about the magic of that beach.
The years went by, I moved to Germany, then to Shanghai and whilst there I had the chance to introduce this beach to another incredibly special human, my beautiful daughter, who was 9 years old at the time.
I am not sure I will have a chance to return for a third visit, but I hope she will. And hopefully you.
I have recently started to scan my old negatives and slides from the pre-digital camera time. I remember the times when every frame counted because well, we only had a limited number of frames in the film.
I remember the excitement of seeing the images after however time it took to finish the roll, to develop it and to print it. It was magical in so many ways. I loved the anticipation and the element of surprise.
These images above are from a trip to Stonehenge and as the scans appeared I reconnected the whole magic of being there. Images link us to smells, feelings, and tastes from the time the image was taken.
Another reason why I love photography.
Hi again from Germany. It has taken me a while to force myself to come back to this blog since current events threw me completely off balance lately. But if there is anything I am sure of, it is that I am the boss of me and there is plenty of coffee left in the world to drink while I write my blog.
I chose this image today because it has felt lately as though a cloud is over us, casting a shadow on what we love to do and how we love to be, but all clouds dissolve and all storms will pass as they have always throughout history. We live on a planet of duality after all and there is always an up that follows a down.
I still remember spending hours trying to ‘melt’ clouds with my sister in Lebanon by firing force at them with our extended hands, and you can believe me or not, it works! Try it next time you feel like having some sunshine in your life.
The best way to get over a hurdle is to help break it down, and with the sad situation in the Ukraine and other wars, well, help, find a way to support the people who are helping by donating, creating, communicating, being compassionate and all of that somehow feels like a breeze that pushed the clouds out of the way.
The last few days I found myself unable to write, thinking constantly of the situation in Ukraine and feeling the pain of innocent people echoing in my mind.
We must fight the low with embracing the high. If I have learned anything from witnessing the bravery of Ukrainian people, it’s that you cannot bow down to evil.
‘Saved by Art’. This phrase keeps coming up in me. It is about creating in the face of destruction. Being bright in the face of darkness and rising when all wants you to fall.
Hoping for a better, clearer, more hopeful tomorrow.
Today I saw a lot of children and young people enjoying the sun on a cold crisp day here in Germany and it made me think of this new generation.
They have to deal with so much and to inherit a broken world lacking in hope and riddled with corruption and warp.
The world today is so different to the one I had as a child. And yes, I did grow up inside of a civil war, but today feels somehow more volatile than that.
Things seem to be changing so fast and my hope is that change can happen in both directions. I know that sanity will return and morality still exists and good take up center stage at some point. It must…
Have you every had the feeling that even when you are alone, you are really not?
In my mind, there is never a dull moment. Thoughts, ponders, queries, hopes, questions, memories, investigations, plans, connecting of dots, and yes, sometimes fears and worries.
I am finding it difficult to not be concerned about what is happening around me in Europe. How can anyone not be? But why are we feeling the pain of others so much more acutely? Has something changed in the conductivity of the world?
It is quite unfathomable what humans are capable of doing to other humans in the search of their own self glory and greedy agendas.
So myself is telling me today to keep going, to keep hoping, to continue sending strength and good thoughts toward the innocent people caught up in this crazy war and to know that there is always light behind the darkness.
The world around us is always changing, every second could bring a new outcome, could cause a new future to onset. What are we in control of? Only our choices, in the now.
Europe feels so turbulent at this time and that unsettlement, I feel echoed in me. I feel the shockwaves of the despair and fear inside of those facing the unfortunate aggression going on in the Ukraine, and the human in me has a very hard time separating from the pain of other humans at this time.
So I keep pressing on with art, with trying to stay creative and feeling the immense value of having a space where peace can still exist. Every new day feels like a new opportunity and the only way I can help is by remembering human purpose in defiance of those who oppress and who take away from the innocent.
Let’s pray again and again for peace so that life and art can have a chance in shaping our future.