On the love of photography ~

Magic lives in every moment, all around us and it just waits to be captured. It’s as simple as that and when we are about to capture a moment we want to treasure, we just know it. We feel the magic as our finger presses the shutter and we just can’t wait to see the result because we are at that moment so sure that this moment was worth capturing.

On the love of photography~

Day 40 of 365~

Image taken somewhere in New York

Real Life Paused~ India

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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

The Moment of Truth

earlier this afternoon, just when the sun was ready to sail back home

earlier this afternoon, just when the sun was ready to sail back home

There is a moment, a split second, when you are with your camera in the streets, and a moment you were hoping for surrenders itself to you. I am referring to that brief time before your subject has a time to react to your lens. I love that magical click that finds the person inside of their essence; a line of connection between you, the lens and the person.

Those defining moments

When it all falls into place

When it all falls into place

I have often tried to describe in so many different ways why I love street photography so much above any other style, but then come moments to me in the streets that redefine it all for me, the whole love affair. Today, I received this incredible gift, a window opened, a moment magically presented itself and I was showered with an overwhelming emotion at the magic of it all. A shabby alley in a condemned neighborhood of Shanghai, perhaps a month away from certain demolition, a little girl with an angelic face, an old worn out leather sofa juxtaposed on the side of the alley in a most unusual place, an old bike nearby and her face searching mine making time stop, and me with a heart beating very fast raising my camera to try and capture magic through the lens and knowing it will be an image I would treasure for the rest of my life.

Day 13~ July 13th~ Vietnam

girl in pink coat

A strange thing about street photography is the way we freeze moments with our cameras and a split second in the life of a human identifies them for us forever. The girl in the pink coat carried on with her life, perhaps got married, had children, wore a multiple of different color coats, but for me, she lives on as the girl in the pink coat…

photo taken: Girl in a hanoi street~ Vietnam

Day 17~ March 17th~ Egypt

two boys, the nile and a leaky boat

Moments with other people, they are the holders of the best of memories…

We were near Aswan, our boat drifting lazily in the January sun, the Nile river glowing with thousands of bright sequins, when we made a small pause near the shore. There, near the bank of the river were 2 boys, one of them I spoke to for a while, his name was aalaa (علاء). He had this little home made boat that he was so proud of and he used it to cross the Nile from his village to the neighboring one. He was transporting his friend who helped row the boat with his arms while aalaa used a tin can to scoop the water accumulating slowly in the bottom of their leaky boat. It was a small sketch of their daily life that stayed with me, and that drew so much endearment from me to them. Sometime it is the simplicity of life that makes it so extraordinary and the tiny things that make it so special.

Day 7~ March 7th~ Egypt

That child I met in Egypt

Like so many other developing countries, many children in Egypt have to work to make a living. On my journey to Egypt I met and communicated with so many children and for some reason, it is these encounters that stayed alive in me till today. Children’s eyes can tell it how it is, the truth. Their gaze is penetrating and they are able to establish a connection with you and to tell you stories without words.

Going through my archive of slides and film, I saw this photograph and despite the 15 years that passed since the day I took it, I felt as though I was there now, locking eyes with this boy, seeing him stare in defiance at my lens, and remembering how later he broke into a wide smile when he realized I spoke his language.

Maybe the reason we love photography so much is the fact that it can encapsulate a memory, to store a moment in time with all that surrounded it, in the same way that a statue can, or a painting, or a work of art. One thing I am sure about: when I looked at this photograph, the Egypt journey came alive in me. I wonder where this boy who sold trinkets is now…

Day Two Hundred Eighty, October 29, 2011

the little stranger

I like to picture my life since birth graphically as a line drawn on a globe almost like a dot on a GPS system if you want. The line starts the day I was born in the Asian continent in a small country called Lebanon and then that line goes on curving here and there, small segments at first, then they getting longer, crossing borders of countries, winding and sometimes going back to the same places and the whole time crossing with other lines of other humans. Sometimes it aligns and moves parallel to another line, like when I took walks with someone, and then splitting off to a new direction upon leaving them. And we meet so many strangers on our journey through life, some we just pass by, others we choose to be with for longer periods, and some strangers for some unknown reason, make us stop. It feels as though an exchange is meant to be had, a brief eye contact, a word, a moment shared and in my case a photo captured. And then we move on. This girl on a pavement in Shanghai just made me stop and the moment was destined to be captured and archived in my mind as very special.

Day Two Hundred Six, August 16, 2011

a magical little moment

It was somewhere in Germany and it was sunset. He was looking for wild berries with the other children, when suddenly something in the air above him caught his eye. It was the golden hour and the little magical thing was glowing like gold. He ran after it and I followed the two of them, the boy and the little golden thing that flies. And then suddenly in a split second it fell directly towards him and into his open little hands. It was a flying weed, a fluffy little white parachute that somehow conspired with the breeze to make his moment a special one. Maybe it happend because children are so special, or it could have happened because something wants to keep the magic alive. I am so glad to have witnessed it…

Day One Hundred Eighteen, May 20, 2011

The face that forces you to smile

I was walking in a small alley in Shanghai with my camera and zoom lens thinking that today I will not photograph people, I was looking for details, patterns, small things as that is where my mind was. Suddenly I hear a giggle, a shy hello. I looked back and this beautiful old lady was giggling at me, shyly trying to make contact, forcing me to smile back with an even sillier grin. We just stood there like smiling idiots the two of us till I snapped a few portraits. Another one of life’s magical, human, unforgettable moments recorded…