Quietly They Toil~ Yunnan

The tug go venture into new territory~ YunnanTobacco road~ Yunnanthe strong backbone of the working man~ Yunnanthe loads we carry~ Yunnanspinning tales over gernerations~ Yunnanfield of dreams~ YunnanFarmer in the fog~ Yunnan

For some of us here on earth, the day begins and ends with physical work, and that brings a simple satisfaction of a hard-earned existence. Every working face I saw during my travels in Yunnan was always ready to break into an unapologizing smile; they possessed a contentment that can be forgotten to us in our boxed offices and multiple screens facing us every waking moment. They commune with nature, the wind, the elements, the land and that rewards them with a sense of belonging. They remember that they are earth dwellers and that simple truth is their fountain of wisdom.

Street Portraits~ Finding Myself in the Streets of Dubai

captain of his own boat

captain of his own boat

his eyes and my lens had a conversation

his eyes and my lens had a conversation

shrouded with mystery and distance of the far seas

shrouded with mystery and distance of the far seas

the eyes that sailed the ocean

the eyes that sailed the ocean

These striking men are part of the foreign working force that powers the engine of the Dubai metropolis. They granted my eye contact and for that I am grateful.

Images taken during our last ‘finding yourself in the streets’ street photography workshop earlier this month.

A taxed soul

When life demands so much~ Shanghai

When life demands so much~ Shanghai

Shanghai’s migrant workers leave home, province and family to come to the big expanding city, to join the working force and help build China into the giant it wishes itself to be. They are the simplest of people in the city, the ones that have a smile ready on their faces to give to any who looks their way, the hardest workers and those whose lives are the most difficult.

This is a tribute to them, these wonderful people.

The future is not waiting

worker in a Shanghai old alley

worker in a Shanghai old alley

The thing about the future is that is seems to happen on time and not wait for us to be ready to receive it. And always things appear to be later than we think, don’t they?

Today I was with a friend on a photo walk in an old Shanghai neighborhood condemned to demolition and we saw that from week to week homes were being demolished leaving in the rubble, shoes, clothing, old furniture, toys…  It would seem that people had very little time to pack up and leave their homes before they were destroyed and we wondered at the levels of stress this must have caused a family that lived there possibly all their lives.  Change is often associated with pain, even if it was a change were seeking all along.

Day 26~ October 26th~ Yunnan

a generous smile~ Yunnan

Have you ever noticed how we walk sometimes in the cities with small clouds hanging around our heads, that the shine of our smiles has a very hard time breaking through? We move as though we are troubled by so many invisible phantoms that prevent us from responding humanly to others that pass us by. But when we meet simple people in simple places, there is just us, them and their reaction. Most often it is a big generous smile that glows and its warmth is able to reach us and force a mutual reaction from our faces. And it does feel so good to exchange these smiles with the people of the world where no words are necessary.

Day Three Hundred Forty Eight, January 5, 2012

breaking for a conversation

Street workers and cleaners are part of the Shanghai canvas. A city of about 20 million remains spotlessly clean every day and in every weather because of their hard work. Every time an eye contact is made with a worker, you are mostly rewarded with a warm and shy smile. Simple wonderful people with simple pleasures, like a well deserved lunch break and an involved conversation with a friend.

Day Three Hundred Five, November 23, 2011

plants and a smile

We live at a time where most people have broken their connection to the land. What I mean by that is the connection that is born out of planting your own food, getting your hands dirty with soil, spending time daily in your garden, sleeping under trees, hunting for your food, the way humans were meant to be. In our so called ‘modern’ world some of our children grow up believing that eggs are born in  supermarkets and vegetables in freezers, cans and bags. It is a pity that, because every single time I see someone who gets their hand dirty with earth, a huge smile tends to come with the job. Even as babies, we loved to dig in the sand or dirt, and as toddlers we wondered at the magic of a green plant emerging from the soil. Is it natural to be away from that source of happiness as adults?

Just a ponder from a 16th floor apartment missing the smell of the earth.