Is there something that allows you to live life more passionately? Do you find yourself doing something regularly that you cannot not do and it makes time as you know it stretch, fly by or completely come to a halt? Is there a place inside your world that only you hold the key to? Because only when you find your art do you truly know real passion. Don’t you love watching a musician lost inside their music, a dancer moving as if in a trance or a cook absolutely absorbed in what they are creating?
Inside of that magical world of real art there is little room for boredom, lethargy, competition or ego. Inspiration, satisfaction, happiness and the right kind of struggle seem to resonate with it.
That is the world I want to live in if I can be so lucky.
Image of a young boy who loved music and created a self made instrument of wood and string. I met him in 2011 in the old beautiful city of Kashgar, in Xinjiang, China
Have you ever been lost in the process of your art? Have you ever visited that place where time stands still and you are transported on the wings of creativity? So much peace attends this state and it is a wonderful gift to be in the presence of its happening.
It was dusk, that magical time when day surrenders itself to the mysteries of the night in a golden embrace, a storm was approaching, the wind was starting to gain speed, people were shuffling about to get to the shelter, but the boy and his guitar were completely lost inside a piece music that had to happen. I walked past him but he did not see me, I photographed him and he was completely unaware. He was floating inside of his art.
In this life the lucky ones are those who find out what it is they love…
What a great settlement it is to know what makes you do your best, what passion drives you to give the most out of yourself, what your art is. Some people know that and they live in a state that is immediately identifiable. It is the quiet state of knowing that what makes your heart skip a beat and what gives you peace is within your reach because you have identified it. For this boy in the streets of Kashgar it was a home-made musical instrument. He loved it. His mother told me proudly how good he was able to play it and how many hours he did just that. He is one of the lucky ones.
It was so clear to me the day I saw these children dancing for hours, that Africa, the land, radiates and infuses its people with rhythm. Moving seems to be the most natural thing to them and they move with a lightness and swiftness that are most beautiful to witness. These children are young demobilized child soldiers and dancing is part of their healing process.
I was able to take a couple of short videos and here is one to give an idea of the way it felt to be there and to witness this event in person.
Childhood is the most sacred part of life. We as adults are entrusted with it to shield it, protect it and allow it its full potential…
And yet, in places like Congo, children are forcefully taken from their families by armed forces, sometimes as early as 7 years old, forced into military training, a life of crime, drugs, war and are shoved brutally into an ugly adulthood robbing them of their gift, their innocent childhood.
UNICEF and other NGOs have been actively struggling to save these children from the grips of war, offering them temporary sanctuary in an attempt to help them kickstart their childhood again and reunite with their families or other foster families in the Congolese society.
With arts, some of these children told me that they are able to escape into other places in their minds, places free of their memories of war, of killing, of brutality. They can dream of a normal life, of happiness and of recapturing the freedom that is an integral part of childhood.
Each time I went out at night I wished my Canon was with me to capture that side of life in the vibrant city. Tonight, I had the chance to do that. Shanghai is a city of many faces, and this one is certainly what makes it the sultry city that it is today. Its nights are alive with music, decadence, extravagance and a unique sense of style. This style is a result of the sudden modernism married to the unique charm that lives in the walls of this historical city, the chapters of rapid change it has seen in its development and the onset of a cosmopolitan culture that is rapidly engulfing the place. M1nt club, where these photos were taken tonight is one of the most ‘in’ places in Shanghai and is becoming more and more exclusive. I have always loved going to places like this for the surreal feeling I experience each time. I also love to dance 😉
Not even seven years old and she declared herself a rocker!
Lea came home today and asked me to tell her everything I know about Rock and Roll.
She said: “I think I am rock and roll” and she proceeded to demonstrate. Should I be worried?? 🙂
It was one of those days in Shanghai where the rain drizzles on and on in a steady lazy rhythm.
We took the long slow drive to the airport and ended up both sleeping on the way, her with her music,
me with the hum of the car engine and the gentle tapping of the rain on the window.