This year we have all lived to some extent the opening words of ‘Tale of two cities’, haven’t we?
Upheaval, breakdown of old systems, pandemic, loss, economic collapse, social and physical isolation, poverty, fear, uncertainty, extreme weather, unstable leadership and so much more…
Yet, somehow, something extremely bright filters through our planet at this time, this planet of duality. At the darkest of times the brightest of times have a chance to manifest. Hope is always here for a better world and an incandescent tomorrow. All we have to do is believe and look at history to prepare for our future in our present.
Wishing you all a peaceful holiday season. May we see peace, hope and sanity in the near future for this resilient human race.
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.
The fear of being alone~ we all have it to some extent, the great anxiety that we will have no one to share our moments with, good or bad, the whole time forgetting that we are born alone and we die alone.
Maybe we should take a moment everyday to enjoy, value and make use of our own company, learning to meet and know ourselves a little better.
I once practiced a month of silence and discovered among many things that there was so much to be learned inside of the human complex I learned to call ”me”.
Europe loves its Christmas Markets, the festive mood, the warm drinks cuddled by cold hands, the delicious smells of roasted almonds and the magical lights that chase away the darkness of winter. From the first advent till the winter solstice, people try to spend as much time as possible out in the markets calling on hope, warmth and light to comfort them through the long hard winters.
In the last 2 weeks I went with my camera and some fellow photographers chasing the Christmas spirit from Valkenburg in the Netherlands to Duesseldorf and then today to magical Cologne.
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…
One of my favorite things about big cities is movement. People moving, going places, coming from places, going up stairs, crossing roads, cycling, running, walking and playing a part in rotating the great metropolis wheel. It’s the urban magic waiting for us photographers on every corner.
Marrakech, a city that does not trust photographers, a place that lives off tourists and snubs them say the same time, but that’s just on the surface. In the last 4 days I asked every local I had the chance to speak with why is there such an automatic and immediate negative response to being photographed, and strangely, no one could give me a straight answer. So I took an approach that I never had to use before in all my travels, I asked, then I laughed and joked (speaking Arabic is definitely helping) and somehow the ice was breaking here and there. It has definitely been a great exercise in disarming, building trust and finding a human common ground connection that is making it all worthwhile.
More about my day in the Berber villages in the next post.
One of the things I was looking forward to moving to Europe is the proximity of amazing cities. So many photographic opportunities are a few hours drive away and the impressions are varied and endless.
My favorite places to travel and capture images are those where life is still simpler and where basic living is the color of the day. In those places color is celebrated not managed and there is a refreshing freedom of whimsical mix and match.