Is there something that allows you to live life more passionately? Do you find yourself doing something regularly that you cannot not do and it makes time as you know it stretch, fly by or completely come to a halt? Is there a place inside your world that only you hold the key to? Because only when you find your art do you truly know real passion. Don’t you love watching a musician lost inside their music, a dancer moving as if in a trance or a cook absolutely absorbed in what they are creating?
Inside of that magical world of real art there is little room for boredom, lethargy, competition or ego. Inspiration, satisfaction, happiness and the right kind of struggle seem to resonate with it.
That is the world I want to live in if I can be so lucky.
Image of a young boy who loved music and created a self made instrument of wood and string. I met him in 2011 in the old beautiful city of Kashgar, in Xinjiang, China
In the town of Tashkurgan, home of the Tajik people in Xinjiang, bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan, I met this boy in the old mountainous Pamir region. It is said that this town marks the middle way between Europe and China. The faces I saw there were unforgettable.
The old alleys of Shanghai with their unique way of life, tradition and charm are slowly disappearing to give way to the fast invading modernism of this great metropolis. This little boy and I had a brief staring contest, and he won.
I am just back from a photographic adventure in Yunnan and Sichuan near Lijiang, China. I had the chance to visit the Yi, Mosuo and Naxi minorities in their traditional remote villages. I will be posting a series of portraits from the rich and strange life of the people of that region in the next few weeks.
This is what I felt the eyes of this little boy telling me in an old Shanghai alley. He created a shield for himself just in case, hiding behind it half playfully and half in fear of the strange and the unfamiliar. I was with a photographer friend there and we both could feel when it was the right time to stop pushing the limits of innocent trust. It was one of those precious moments that street photography grants you, rare, human, and unforgettable.
We live in a universe where nothing is ever still. All is moving at different speeds from the slow to the mind boggling, inconceivably fast. Even in sleep, parts of us travel, they dream, they journey into worlds unknown. In the minutest of worlds, protons and neutrons are pulsing and living.
To travel in mental faculties, in heart, in soul and in art…
It is so endearing in Asia to see how grandparents create a living womb for their grandchildren and how they care for them tirelessly, carrying them on their old backs, feeding them, singing hymns to them, and carrying them into adulthood on a fluffy cloud of love.
How strengthening it must be for the children and how infusing with confidence.
Every desert houses an oasis, and for New York City, central park is just that vital. One of the largest and most visited urban parks in the world, the park has bucket loads of charm to offer. Even when you don’t have time to visit during the rush of life, knowing that it is there, a slice of uninterrupted natural life in the middle of all the concrete, is a release of stress. Funny how despite all the gadgets we create, the technological advancements we champion, all it takes is little walk in the park to confirm our sense of being.
As harsh and as raw as Yunnan was to travel through, I am counting the days till I am able to go back there and be charmed again by its wild intensity. I have been told that the way I processed the photos of this past month has been too contrasty, too sharp, too extreme, and this is true. Yunnan for me was exactly that, rough, sharp, wild, and its lifestyle contrasting greatly with what I and most of us are used to. I feel that knowing different cultures thoroughly can only increase and deepen our humanity. So with that, I say farewell to the Honghe region of Yunnan and its colorful people and I will meet you again tomorrow with the start of a new month of images, somewhere entirely different…
Thank you for your comments, encouragement, advice and views along the way.