As I go through my archives, I relive moments from my past travels and like a magical time travel machine, I find myself there again in the moment, looking into the eyes of other humans, feeling what I felt then and simply connecting.
This is one of the many reasons I love photography, the real connections that are made, human to human, where all the differences melt away.
Day 76 of 365~
Image taken in the remote village of Dayangjie, Yunnan, China
Most of what causes in us awe and admiration is mostly based in the simple things: air, water, clouds, light, fire, nature, and how humans interact with these simple things. Aren’t clouds magical? And reflections on water?
Colorful stilt houses on a reflective lake under white puffy clouds, a background of hills touching the sky and simple happy people navigating the waters. This creates magic and I can look at this scene again and again and be lost in its charm.
This image is but a poor attempt at capturing an awe inspiring scene and atmosphere.
Day 19 of 365
After having travelled to faraway places, they become part of you. Their people, the colors, the smells, the feelings and emotions that define each place are always at hand ready to reconnect you to that place in a split second. It is the most amazing thing. And with photography: that connection is instantaneous. A frozen moment like this of 3 girls in a New Delhi slum comes to life and buzzes with feeling when I connect to it once again. And isn’t life a continuous stream of such frozen moments?
Day 18 of 365
There is a place on the bank of the Ganges River in the holy city of Varanasi, where more than 300 bodies get cremated daily and the ashes thrown into the river with the belief that the soul of the dead will be allowed a chance at a new life through reincarnation. Hindus from all over India and Asia carry their dead to award them that honor. I sat for a long time on a boat watching the burnings and the surreal picture they painted while this regal bird circled around the ghat reminding me of the certain mortality of the physical body. It was eerie in a good way, because life begs us to question death and death urges us to value life.
Image taken last April in Varanasi, India
Day 17 of 365
When you love photography and have the tugging urge to travel the world and see as many humans as you can, you end up staring into so many different faces. Some of these faces are simply unforgettable. This girl had a strength of spirit that radiated out of her as she stood there defiantly and curiously questioning the stranger in her village. She stood her ground and all I could do was smile in awe.
One of so many stories along the way…
Day 16 of 365
Over time I have come to believe that the simpler life is a secret key to satisfaction of the right kind. We often feel overwhelmed with our lives, with our possessions and the responsibilities that accumulate as an aftereffect of these possessions and where do we run to? A beach, a forest, a long walk, or a meditation. They say hard work is the best remedy for an idle and restless mind, and maybe something in our design needs us to be busy and rewards us with happiness.
This beautiful girl was walking along the village road with a sack of small rocks on her head that she was taking home for a small building project. I followed her for a while till she caught on and turned around and gave me this dazzling smile followed by shy giggles. I was in the presence of pure and uncomplicated happiness.
Day 15 of 365
By art she lives~ syrian refugee
She makes jewelry as part of the rehabilitation and education programs that ‘Beyond’, a local Lebanese NGO does with the children in the Syrian refugee camps.
Every new journey gives me a renewed set of reasons to do what I love to do. I love the art of photography. Time stops when I am in the streets of a new place, meeting people, looking through their eyes, watching them from a distance as they do what they do, and feeling a rising sense of excitement at being part of it all. In my recent trip to the region of Yunnan around Dali, I had a lot of time to reflect and to ponder what it is about photography that keeps me traveling, venturing and adventuring in search of human connection. It came to me one early morning just before sunrise, it is the soul of the place, that is what meets me at those special moments and gives me permission to capture its magic. You may give it any other name you wish, for me, it’s the soul.
She Bashfully Ran in a Swoosh of Color
the boy who saw through me
Attempting documentary photography and not feeling compassionate love for people would be pointless as far as I am concerned.
I love feeling the humanity in other people’s eyes, to guess at what they are feeling, to lock eyes with them even for a brief moment, to be part of their world for the time I that I am there and later again and again through their photographs.
With each visit to Yunnan, my connections are deepened and I feel compelled to return. Simplicity is a gem in our complex world of today, a fountain of peace to a busy and crowded mind.
More soon from this amazing region of China…