Sometimes the world feels so vast, it’s people too many and the weight of it to heavy to bear. At those moments, and if you were a person that enjoys their own company with the endless mazes ripe with possibilities of self discovery, then the obvious result would be a self engineered containment. It can have the color of your own choosing, a palace on a hill or a hut on a beach, butterflies in its gardens or pebbles on its beach, the choices are endless.
So, I travel in my mind to my own palace of containment, letting my mind chart the journey and my spirit project the destinations.
At this time, when ‘physical distancing’ has become a daily used term, what kind of an impact has this had on us all? Those of us who are used to being with other people on a daily basis, the extroverts who thrive with social contact, the teenagers who miss the daily get togethers that fill their day with purpose, and even the introverts, how are we dealing with the new normal under Covid-19 lockdown?
The concept of ‘human connection’ is taking on a new meaning and invites a new definition, so I put out the challenge this time to my photographer friends to come up with words and images to go with their new understanding of human connections. Here below is the work we did.
This is day on of lockdown in Germany where we are currently living after the start of the Coronavirus pandemic and life has never been more interesting.
Suddenly there is space, and at first, you feel like you don’t know what to do with all this time, you feel restless like you are forgetting something, an errand, you need to do, a doctor’s appointment, a meeting, something… and then you realise that you need to stop.
And once you feel settled to that fact and you delete all the appointments in your calendar, it starts to dawn on you that something is shifting, onsetting, happening in a big way, seen and unseen that is bringing the whole world to a halt. And you listen very carefully, you hear the planet breathing a sigh of relief.
Manufacturing has stopped, planes are stopping, trains, cars, football games, concerts, events, all the things that allow you to feel lost in the crowd and all of a sudden there is a large mirror facing each one of us.
How will we spend our time now? Will we panic watching the alarmist news? Will we take long unhurried walks in the forest? It is Spring here after all. Will we learn something new? Or much better even, will we take the opportunity to do our much needed dwelling on the meaning of life that we had put aside all these years due to our rushed and busy lives?
What a great opportunity this is. Humans working together to combat an undiscriminating and common threat to all. How do we battle this with our humanity intact? Will we take the time to reconnect to the most basic truth of our connection to our amazing planet and its natural laws? And what about the intensifying and onsetting future? Are we ready to meet it?
In the last few days as we hurriedly tried to get ready for lockdown, I saw scared and worried faces everywhere and a big chunk of confusion and concern, which caused me to be kinder than normal to others along the way. As I let a person pass in front of me on the line, stopped the car for a pedestrian, waved and smiled at a stranger, I realised with great delight that a small act of kindness is going a much longer way than ever before. People are glowing because of it and that caused me to understand that in situations like these, humanity thrives, values are resurrected and the future has a chance…
Visiting the city we called home for almost 12 years is nothing short of strange at first. But within a day or two I felt the streets call me back with their charm, unique flair and warmth of the people. So little of the old city is left as the large construction projects drive forward leaving bits and pieces of the beautiful old alleys around the city. As I walk around and find huge empty lots and big buildings on the sites of my favorite alleys, I realize that all my photography over the years in Shanghai has been about recording history and vanishing alleys that are never to come back again…
an image of me meeting a local woman and child, taken by a good friend on an adventure in Yangshuo, China, a few years back.
How gratifying it is to explore the spinning sphere we call home. Each time I plan a new trip, I feel a bubbling of excitement at the unknown that would undoubtedly meet, the amazing people who cross my path and the images my camera would capture. It is as soul nourishing journey when I am far from my routine, away from the usual comforts of home and when I get the chance to push the limits of what I know. It makes me think of how knowledge was collected prior to the industrial revolution and the schooling systems that created machines for the industry; before that time knowledge was sought through experience, apprenticeship and exploration. What an incredibly esoteric experience.
Who stole the innocence?~ it seems that every bit of news these days uncovers a new scandal, a terrible lie or a gross misconduct by a person of authority. It is as though virtue and authority are melting away in a puff of disillusionment. Our only hope lives in the children. Can we please leave them uncorrupted?
When you do a lot of street photography you find yourself constantly chasing shadows, becoming an expert on light, time of day, season and brightness analysis until sometimes you just gasp and jump in the middle of a conversation because you saw a shadow worth capturing. Sometimes it even borders on stalking 😊.
Day 93 of 365~
Image taken in the courtyard of ‘hotel de villé in Paris.
As I go through my archives, I relive moments from my past travels and like a magical time travel machine, I find myself there again in the moment, looking into the eyes of other humans, feeling what I felt then and simply connecting.
This is one of the many reasons I love photography, the real connections that are made, human to human, where all the differences melt away.
Day 76 of 365~ Image taken in the remote village of Dayangjie, Yunnan, China