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 7~ June 7th~ Xinjiang

the boy and his music

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.

Day Three Hundred Fifty Five, January 12, 2012

it's a love affair

when you think of something every hour of your day, when you lose sleep for it, when you long to speak of it, when your heart flutters and misses a beat as you think of your passion for it, when you walk in the rain, in the cold and in the desert to be with it, when you spend your last extra cent on it, when you realize you are happiest when engaged with it, then whatever that something is, you are having an affair, a passionate love affair.

I am guilty of being in love with photography. As I near the end of my 365 project, I realize that I am not ready to break up yet, not willing to have a separation.. it must go on.

photo taken: Chiharu on a cold night shoot in shanghai

Day Three Hundred Twenty Six, December 14, 2011

silver and gold

On a planet of duality, of dark and light, of day and night, of sunlight and moon light, there is an eternally repeating dance between two lovers. They long for each other desperately knowing that they will never be together longer than a single moment twice a day. It is a tragic epic of love, endless, where passion is never satisfied but only barely felt as a shiver, at dawn and at dusk. At dawn it rains tears of silver and at dusk it weeps a gold dust carried by the sandman day after day with a promise of meeting again the next day.

Day One Hundred Ninety, July 31, 2011

passion sees no color

Isn’t it so wonderful that passion, love, attraction are part of this planetary existence? Those wonderful encompassing feelings that swipe us off of our feet, that throw our logic, practicality and rules out the window and into the breeze. And we are so lucky when we can feel that power even for a brief moment, when our blood throbs in our veins, when our heads feel dizzy with the lightness of our being in that brief pause of everything else. Another wonderful gift, another sprinkle of magic in our planetary lives.

photo taken: two butterflies mating in the cedars of Lebanon

The beautiful enigma that is Lebanon

Symbols of the two major religions stand side by side in downtown Beirut

Part of working on a current project about Lebanon, I was caused to rediscover my home country. So during a period of 4 weeks, I travelled the small country from North to South and East to West and I managed to fall passionately in love with it all over again.

Passion lives in Lebanon, it lives in its people, in its rich history, in its food, its music, its villages, its cities and even in its politics.

I call Lebanon an enigma because it absolutely makes no sense. Why would you love a country that is always on the verge of war, where the politicians are mostly corrupt, where electricity is still a part time luxury, where the citizens litter on a daily basis, where people think me first, me last, me, me, me…

I love it because there is something else there that is much deeper than all of the shortcomings that plague Lebanon.

Lebanon is breathtaking landscape. Lebanon is passionate people. Lebanon is deep religious beliefs. Lebanon is unparalleled generosity and hospitality. Lebanon is strong family values despite the recent breakdowns in family structure. Lebanon is so special that I know no one who visited it and did not fall in love with it and dream of going back.

I was sometimes standing in random places, on a shop counter, a fishing boat, a street at night, with an old man selling gardenias, with a child in an alley; and I felt this strong sense of bliss and was surprised to feel a very wide smile on my face that spread happiness down to my very core. And then to look over to the person in front of me each time and see that same smile on their face right there, for no special reason, just the peace that comes with existing, with living, with feeling passion.

I will be dedicating my blog to Lebanon for the next few weeks. It deserves no less.

Statue of the martyrs in downtown Beirut, still filled with bullet holes from recent clashes