Some worlds will only allow you a hazy glimpse…
Every little girl is a princes in her own right, she dreams of castles, fairies and forests filled with magical spirits, and she in the middle of all that wonder shines brilliantly…
It has been said that if you want to detect the nature of the day, you would do well to watch the nature of children on that day. Children react to triggers without inhibition; they laugh when something amuses them, they cry when they are hurt, they run around and jump when they feel hyperactive and they sleep when they feel drained. We adults on the other hand train ourselves to act according to social norms that are considered ‘acceptable’, thereby curbing our natural responses and forcing our human complexes to act out a theater of false reactions that include repression, sarcasm, exaggerated nervous laughter, enforced silence, shyness and the like. So yes, children, they mirror the frequencies around them and if allowed to be free, so much can be learned from their theater of reactive innocence.
Finding yourself in a temple like Ta Prohm with its mysterious stone structures, the large banyan trees that are reclaiming the architecture and devouring it back into the earth is a kind of mystical experience. I was there wandering between the ancient walls when I heard a rustle behind the trees, I looked over and I saw a beautiful pair of eyes following me around. I approached slowly and a slow exchange began to happen between the little girl who owned those eyes and me. The hesitancy gradually gave way to smiles, the distrust to trust and we ended up walking together silently. At the end of my visit, the little fairy of Ta Prohm granted me the chance of a portrait to treasure for years to come.
There is a great power in Africa which throbs in the land like a drum beat and then spirals up through its people, radiating from every pore in their skin and fashioning a most complex range of human expression…
I look back at this photo of a girl in Goma and I see shyness, strength, pride, defiance, warmth, dignity, among so many other emotions that come at me from her face and her posture.
If you have been to Africa, you perhaps would have felt that it is a place that keeps beckoning you back, because you realize that you left a part of you there and took a small part that always tugs at you to take it back home.
It was a Sunday morning in Goma and we had spent the early morning in the medical center meeting and photographing refugee children. The children and their parents had nothing but rags on, some had bandages, very tired faces and exhausted smiles.
And then driving back on the black volcanic streets of the city I was startled to see this beautiful girl. She was immaculately styled as she crouched there playing with dry reeds on the ground and waiting for her parents to walk together to church.
The best moments in photography are the ones that just happen when everything comes together without much planning and I love this photograph for just that fact.
Each time I hear parents trying to convince their children in our western world to eat more, to drink more milk, to eat just another bite; my mind goes back to the children I met in Congo. A glass of milk can have the power to transform a desperate little face into a bright smiling one, the milk she drank out of utter need, no room for luxury in her world of fighting for survival.
I find myself showing my 7 year old daughter these photographs repeatedly while telling her stories to put more perspective into her life in my attempt to tip the scales away from materialism and towards a consciousness and humanity about other less fortunate humans we share this planet with.
I can only hope that this awareness will make a difference in her future life. The first step to actively helping is consciously knowing.
I am starting this series with faces of children because this is what impacted me the most. The innocence, the vulnerability, the undying hope in their eyes and the strong will to survive is where this story begins.
We create art inspired by what we see around us, what touches us, what we live with…
The children at valley of the nobles on the west bank of the nile near Luxor carry around dolls that they sell to tourists for a fraction of an Egyptian pound. The strangest thing about these dolls is that they are almost copies of the girls themselves. They are sewn from rags and dressed in miniatures of their own colorful homemade dresses. I still treasure the doll I bought from them and take with me from country to country wherever I move.
I wonder what it will be like going back there after the 15 years. Will these dolls still exist? Or are the children selling dolls mass produced in China? I sure hope not…
Every little girl’s dream, the moment she becomes princess and joins her prince, the most romantic moment to look forward to, the happy ending to most fairy tales…
It is just moving to see this tradition still alive in our world of today, to witness a moving ceremony of pledged loyalty, mutual respect and of a declared wish to live together in partnership like the trees in the forest in common purpose.
photo taken: The beautiful bride Esther in Eaux-Vives Park, Geneva
We think we understand our children and know them back to front simply because they were created from our union and because we happen to raise them. But that is only their physical part, isn’t it? We may have been the airports in which they landed on this planet, and the waiting rooms where they gather strength to move on, but who are these little beings anyway? They come with their unique spirit, soul, mind, brain and their very own destiny. We certainly don’t own them, and we most definitely do not understand them really. We are programmed to adore them, care for them, love them unconditionally and they us until they are ready to stand alone. It is an honor to be a host for a new life, to do our best to give it a warm welcome to this planet and to help it fulfill its destiny. What better job can one ask for?