These recent images from my Instagram page have been titled “chasing spirits”, and for the first time I find myself seeing a distinct line running through these street portraits that were taken by me in different Asian countries but solicit the same emotional reaction from me. There is something that draws me in to the internal processes of strangers through the maps of their faces, the history recorded in their eyes and the roadmaps of their lives in every line and wrinkle that cause me to pause and wonder: what drives me to chase these images and irks me to go to more places and stop, look and capture? It’s a strong driving force that never relents and I am hoping that after the chase, the cause may reveal itself. It’s a journey of passion and every moment brings me closer to myself…
During this weekend in Germany and other north European countries, bonfires are lit in celebration of the easter weekend. I have been asking locals about the origins of this tradition as well as Mr Google and it seems to be a pre-Christian ritual that welcomes the spring by burning away the lurking darker spirits of winter. It is amazing how much of what we believe in and do has lost it’s original significance and is relegated to a “feel good” thing to do. Imagine how life would be if all our beliefs and traditions were alive!
Day 87 of 365~
Images taken today at the edge of a nearby forest somewhere in Germany.
It is not enough to love your camera, to love photography and to love travel. Good portraits are about loving people, other humans, those that co-inhabit our earth. Looking at them with compassion, togetherness, curiosity and the wish to belong to this fascinating and colorful range of humanity.
Hidden inside the massively dense Shanghai Metropolis is a quaint, albeit crowded small world of tradition. Bridges over water, narrow old streets, a wide variety of delicious street food and a beautiful old tea house.
In the tea house, mostly old men gather to drink tea and watch story telling theaters on a stage that echoes with ancient times.
Each time I go back there, I find the same people, doing the same things, as though they are caught in a time capsule and every day must be relived as it was the day before.
Nearby are the green lanes, where door after door girls and women offer their services for a price. Tickets to their worlds are sold on the main street of the old village.
The province of Yunnan, stretching over 394,000 square kilometers in the far southwest of the Republic of China, is rich in color, tradition and history. More than 30% of its population of 45 million is made up of over 25 ethnic minorities like the Yi, Bai, Hani, Zhuang, Miao, Mozuo and Dai people. Most of the ethnic minorities live in compact communities with rich customs and traditions that live on despite the recent economic change that takes over the Chinese mainland.
Each time I visited the region for a new photographic adventure I was drawn to capturing the very dominant smoking traditions amongst the different minorities. From he pipes that are passed on through generations, hand crafted with care and art to the large bamboo pipes, to modern day cigarettes, for good or bad, smoking lives on in Yunnan as a tribal tradition.
Going back through images from a past trip to Yunnan’s Honghe area. I am planning a return visit to the region very soon. This is the first of a series on images of smoking inside the traditional life of the ethnic minorities residing in Yunnan.
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.
smoking his way through the last hot days of summer
Each time I start a new walk into one of the old alleys of Shanghai, I feel as though I am entering another world where simple life, community feeling, tradition and open communication thrive. There is a charm to the old alleys and a distinct sense of nostalgia that makes them so attractive and keeps me coming back. As long as they are there, the spirit and essence of Shanghai continue to live on.