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?
Sometimes the world has this strange way of sliding by as thought we are sailing smoothly on a still lake. It allows us to watch time pass in slow motion and a great stillness embraces us. Those are the photographic moments I treasure and wish for every day in the big fast city.
The thing about the future is that is seems to happen on time and not wait for us to be ready to receive it. And always things appear to be later than we think, don’t they?
Today I was with a friend on a photo walk in an old Shanghai neighborhood condemned to demolition and we saw that from week to week homes were being demolished leaving in the rubble, shoes, clothing, old furniture, toys… It would seem that people had very little time to pack up and leave their homes before they were destroyed and we wondered at the levels of stress this must have caused a family that lived there possibly all their lives. Change is often associated with pain, even if it was a change were seeking all along.
With every new year, we dream of new possibilities, we swear to do better, we feel confident that we we tackle more impossibilities and we feel armed with the promise of a new mystery box that awaits our discovery…
No matter where we go, how far we travel, there will always be a tug to go back home, to a place where we can close our door to the world and be safely alone for a moment, a place where we can hang our laundry to dry.
No matter how small the Asian home happens to be, the television takes a prime position serving as a means of escape for the family member who happens to be at home. A bridging to the rest of the world and a means of escaping into a virtual place of wonder?
Apologies for the great delay in posting this month due to travel and lack of internet connection. The next posts will come all at once.
More than two thirds of the old city of Kashgar has been demolished and the rest doomed to follow shortly…
I met this girl in one of the narrow alleys of what is left of the old city as she stood framed by her old family door. Old decorated wooden doors are considered a family treasure among the inhabitants of Kashgar and the carry with them a richness of symbology and lore. A half open door for example is an indication that the master of the house is at home and male visitors may call in. I head while in Kashgar that when the homes are getting demolished, the families, unhinge their doors and take them with them to their assigned new homes, because these doors are holders of their family traditions that they are so afraid of losing.
Houses were built so that we may hide behind their windows and doors…
The old city of Kashgar is a maze of old narrow alleys, meandering around and around, some leading to the city center, others ending with stone walls that bar your entry. I was told that the cobble stones in the alley are shaped in code, letting you know what kind of alley it is. Square stones lead you to a dead end, while hexagonal ones will merge into another alley. The old city is filled with old codes, with mystery, with agreed to signs that only the inhabitants know of. And when you walk down those alleys, there is no knowing what eyes are watching you from behind the old Kashgar doors.
Uyghur gentleman at door of Idkah mosque in Kashgar
The Idkah or in local Uyghur language Heit Kah mosque is the largest in China. Locals in Kashgar gather daily for prayer on the grounds of the old mosque and for celebrations in its large courtyard. The mosque was first built in 1442 as a small structure and was later expanded in different stages.
There is a great kind of dignity with the locals in Kashgar that stares you right in the eyes. I could also feel a sense being content with who they are, a strong belief and a strength from unity emanating from the people that I met during my travels in the region.
As I come close to the end of the month’s posts about Cambodia, I realize that my thoughts and contemplations throughout this process have been with children, the future, and next steps towards a better world. What would it take to make this world a place safe enough and healthy enough for the children of the world? Who has the answers? What can each one of us do to ensure the unlocking of our children’s best potential? … and so many more questions…