How often do we catch ourselves lingering on past events with a melancholic obsession? We task ourselves with carrying the baggage of emotional hurt like an armor that only keeps us from moving forward. The way forward is lighter, freer and leaves no room for old heavy anchors.
Day 61 of 365~
Image taken in Siena, Italy of a beautiful soul who humored my experimentations with long exposure and ghosting. July 2012
Shanghai never fails to surprise you. As a photographer living in this city, you can never be at a loss for impressions. Even time travel is possible if you are willing to go out of your way to visit the film park in Songjiang. Every time I went there I was able to capture a fantastically surreal film set where time stops and life is reenacted to show a sense of times gone by. And where else in the world can you just walk up to the set and photograph it?
I love Shanghai ❤
state of surrender
the bending force of habit
Leader of the marching band
I returned with a small group of photographers last week to this remote region of China’s Yunnan Province that haunted me since my last visit to the area a couple of years back.
It is the type of journey you would do if you were really in love with photography and different cultures that make up pieces of the puzzle of the human story on our planet.
The journey was a great challenge from the long drives, to the heat, the spare accommodations and the great element of unknown.
It was the opening of my series of documentary photography workshops that I am doing in Yunnan and despite all the challenges we faced, I can happily call this a great success.
I will be sharing here a series of images, stories, portraits and special stories about this journey into a unique and mysterious part of the world.
Manna-hata, the original name of Manhattan from the Lenape language, translates to the land of many hills, but I also heard it referred to as the island of drunkenness. Perhaps all that has happened on that small island if put together and condensed to one single film, it would be the strangest movie ever made. Magnetic city, it will always be that to me.
duomo di siena
Another one of the architectural marvels of Tuscany, the so called “zebra cathedral” with its black and white marble is just a stunning structure from both the inside and out. You could spend hours trying to decipher the codes of a place like this, the numerology and symbolism of it are begging investigation. The mystery in history…
santa maria novella~ old pharmacy
So much of the charm of old Europe comes from its layers upon layers of history and the value they place on preserving tradition. Walking into the exquisitely charming rooms of this beautiful pharmacy in Florence, my heart skipped a beat. Knowing that it was first built by the Dominican friars of the 16th century and that it served since then the very same purpose while retaining its beauty and authenticity is just heart warming. It spoke to me of value for the old and a great appreciation of beauty and of good taste, things that are otherwise being quickly lost to commercial materialism in the rest of the world.
It was recommended by a friend (thank you Paola), and likewise I recommend it back to you: if you are in Florence, try not to miss it!
lamp post~ siena
It is in cities like Siena that the ghosts of the past remain to haunt us with the mystery of what has been as we meander in its old cobble stone streets. Can you blame them? Would you want to leave a city this beautiful?
After many years of fascination and research of cathedrals, I have come to discover that these massive houses of worship were mostly constructed over generations in places that held a great historical significance. If you dig deeper into the history of cathedrals like Chartres in France and the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, you will find out that the land they were built on used to be home of other much older churches and religious places. This all perhaps points to the significance of the exact location on the planet and much less to convenience or coincidence. It is fantastic to see the villages and towns you drive by in Tuscany and to see that the focal point of each one of them is a church or cathedral around which people gather in the Piazza.
a river of gold
Like all art lovers, I have dreamt of the first time I would lay eyes on Florence. I read, I researched, I gazed at art, I dove into the renaissance, its music, its glorious artists, its astounding architecture, and I thought what I would finally meet would be so awe inspiring. But Florence exceded my expectations by leaps and bounds. I fell in love instantly, I was smitten, I walked around with a mouth gaping open and I could almost hear my camera giggling with delight. It was magical, enchanting, rich in history and golden. I try with this image to paint my feelings about Florence as I superimposed them on what my camera registered.
To trust again
Somewhere along the way during human history, the essence of trust was forced to retreat.
In a country like Vietnam where people had to suffer one occupation after another, and one war followed by the next, seeing a foreigner does not call out the essence of trust as a first principle. Warmth has to be won, encouraged out of people especially if you were like me armed with a camera. It is always a wonderful gift when a smile appears after a frown, and when trust is allowed to soften a human dealing.