Top ten lists–I thought I’d do one–My Top Ten Favorite Photos from 2018.
In 2018 I’ve been to Mexico, twice, France, Italy, Malta, Ghana, Indonesia, and several cities in the United States. I’ve shot hours of footage and taken thousands of photos.
So, when I decided to post my top ten favorite photos from 2018, it sounded like a good idea. However, when I started to review the photos, not so much. There were more than ten good ones. I spent a few hours just reviewing them. How would I choose. How could I choose.
It took way too long. And, I’m sure that I left some of the best ones on the table. I’m also sure that there were some photographs that were better, for whatever reason, than the ten I selected. However, I’m emotionally connected, in one way or another, to these ten.
So, here they are–my ten favorite photos from 2018. They may or may not be my be my best. I could have posted more–probably should have posted more. But, you don’t have that much time.
I hope you enjoy these ten, and, please, have a prosperous and
Happy New Year.
Women work the rice paddies of Bali, Indonesia.
A young girl rests during nap time at the Comfort School of Kpetoe, Ghana.
A nun kneels in prayer during mass in Ho, Ghana.
A young boy does his number drills at the Comfort School in Kpetoe, Ghana.
Mother and son, Shelly and Rylan share a moment together.
Ryan and Meggan check social media on a bench in Malta.
Father and daughter, Jimmy and Z.
A young girl celebrates dia de los muertos with painted face and costume in Mexico City.
A woman banana vendor prepares her bananas for sale at the local market in Bali, Indonesia.
A shopkeeper in Bali, Indonesia pauses for a moment’s rest in Bali, Indonesia.
A group of ex-pats, on assignment in Paris, we met each day at a sidewalk cafe near Montmartre to commiserate, and she came among us.
At first, we didn’t notice.
“I’ll have the foie gras,” my friend said. “I’ll have the croque-monsieur,” my other friend said.
“I’ll have the jambon-beurre,” I said. “I don’t have much time, today,” I said.
“Come on,” they said. “A French meal is a cultural experience.”.
We laughed. They said this every day. Three-hour lunches were not uncommon. I would often sit and watch the afternoon light soften into postcard Paris evenings.
“Alms,” she said, her voice soft, barely audible above the noise of traffic and street musicians.
My friends did not hear, or pretended not to hear. They continued their tales of exploits and conquests, stories not yet written, not yet published.
“Alms, she said again, closer.
I lost the train of conversation as I watched her slowly shuffle over the cobblestone, her cup held out, rattling the few coins she had collected, her cane tapping out of rhythm.
“Votre nourriture, les messieurs.” A waiter placed our food on the table and hurried away.
“Allez-vous en,” my friend said, “Go away.”
“Je ne parle pas français,” my other friend said, as if not speaking french would relieve us of guilt.
The woman looked up. She looked at me. She was old and bent, crippled, and dirty.
“Homeless,” my friend said.
“Smelly,” my other friend said.
Our eyes met. Suddenly, I could not tell how old she was.
“What is your name?” I asked, not sure why.
“Angelique,” she said. Her eyes sparkled. “It means…God’s messenger.” Her voice was light, airy, tinged with a french accent, but with no hint of age.
“Do you have a message for me?”
“Oui,” she said.
“What is it?” I asked, feeling this moment held deep meaning.
She kept my gaze, then her eyes traveled down over my Columbia shirt and pants and she looked at the cobblestones. It was as if the full moon had set. I could no longer see her eyes.
“Alms,” she said softly. “L’aumône pour les pauvres.”
The moment was gone.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, maybe some great insight from deity, delivered through Angelique, God’s messenger. Perhaps an answer to the perplexing question of what I should really do with my life. I don’t know. I did not receive the grand message I was hoping for.
The old woman held out her cup, expectantly.
I took a coin from my pocket and dropped it in. It clinked against the other coins. She looked up again.
“Merci beaucoup,” she said. “Dieu vous protège.” Once again, her eyes were bright, blue. I nodded and she ambled away, clinking and tapping.
“I think Paris should do a better job with the homeless population,” my friend said.
“I agree,” my other friend said.
“Alms,” I heard her softly say. “L’aumône pour les pauvres.”
I believe we are brothers and sisters, all of us, sons and daughters of a loving Father in Heaven. I have not yet been to every country, but, I have been to every continent. I have found that kindness, love and compassion unite us regardless of political or religious belief. We are, all of us, one family.
So, when events transpire like that which took place in Paris last week, the ground beneath our feet quakes with the shaking of our collective faith. Anger burns, like bile, in the back of our throats and we want to do something, anything to stop the violence.
I acknowledge the existence of evil. There are those who would take without giving, lie without conscience, hurt without reason, compel without care and kill without remorse. Their numbers are growing.
The events of Paris are repeated regularly in places of less visibility, and we do not notice, except when these events touch the outskirts of our neighborhoods or reach the screens of our mobile devices.
Evil thrives when our faith in God and each other is diminished. Mistrust increases when our differences, rather than our similarities are emphasized. Fear takes root when acts of violence claim the lives of our friends and our children.
Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters give away their rights to make a difference as leaders of small and large countries tell us tales we should not believe. We do not build a better world when we ignore an approaching tsunami of self-interest.
September 11 should remind us of lessons taught, though not yet learned. The same God who made us all will not take from us the agency to choose our own paths. Our condemnation will grow from our reluctance to use this agency to bless the lives of our brothers and sisters. Evil grows in the cracks and crags of our own cowardice when we do not rise up to condemn and combat its growing influence.
And they suffer most who are not able to comprehend a world of cruel intent–the children. Yet, it is in the eyes of the children that I see hope. It is in the hearts of the children that I find love, and compassion, and the courage to be good.
I believe God loves us and that he has a plan for us. For some, this plan includes great deeds. For most of us, this plan includes simple acts of kindness. Wherever and whenever I travel, I see evidence of His plan in the eyes of our children.
While his little sister shyly watches, this African boy stands proud in his Adidas.
I met this girl in a little town in the mountains of Guatemala, near lake Atitlan. She wanted me to buy some fruit from her stand. How could I resist?
In the village of Yamoransah, Ghana, this little boy with the penetrating eyes followed us everywhere we went.
I met this little girl in a little village high the Peruvian Andes. The burdens she carries haunt me still.
Talofa lava–a young boy waves in greeting.
With bright eyes and a knowing look, this Sierra Leonean girl lets me take her picture.
It’s a big wide world outside the yurt near Ulan Bataar.
I know how he feels.
Three children snack on the way home from school in Hong Kong.
My daughter Rachel has strong opinions, bright ideas and a desire to change the world for the better.
The water tastes sweeter when the drinking fountain is 500 years old.
When I tried to take her picture, she would hide her face and then laugh. When I showed her pictures of her friends, she opened up enough to let take this photo.
Playing in the sand outside the Palace of Versailles
A wandering child returns as his mother waits patiently just outside Paris.
This teenager enjoys a field trip to the Plaza in Lima, Peru.
Sack lunches and school uniforms for this class in Lima, Peru.
Tired, alone and far from home, the Eternal City, can be an unforgiving place. Religious tradition may favor the Catholics in Rome, yet Islam entertains apocryphal hope for ultimate victory in the struggle for religious domination. Global politics and religious ideology lose their import when you are sick and hungry. With no place left to go, a bridge over the Tiber River is as good a place as any to end a pilgrimage.
For more info on my show check out a June 11th article in The Spectrum.
It was raining in Paris that morning as I sought shelter beneath the balustrades and terraces of the Louvre Palace. My timing was off. The museum was closed. I was not alone in my disappointment as I watched a woman trudge beneath our columned shelter and sit, wearily, against stone. She was not present with the host of tourists surrounding this space. She looked beyond, focused on something my eyes could not see. Trouble, sadness, sorrow, suffering. I could not know. Yet, in her eyes I could see the reflection of ghosts in Paris. On this day, I would not see the Mona Lisa smile.
For more info on my show check out a June 11th article in The Spectrum.
I thought, since it is New Years Eve, I would post a photo gallery of shots from some of the places I’ve been around the world. Sort of a “Best of” gallery from previous posts. I’ve been only blogging since August, so I have yet to post shots from everywhere I’ve been. And, I have yet to even start posting video from all of these places. That is what 2014 is for. Resolution 🙂
The world is a big, beautiful place, filled with interesting people, amazing sights, random coincidences and occasional tender mercies. I have been blessed to travel. I have been blessed to make friends on every continent. I hope to keep the friends I have made and make more as time goes by. However, my greatest blessings are found at home, with a warm fire, a good meal and my family, who love me.
So much to see, so little time. With so many sites, the challenge was to really see, to look for the commonplace and see the unique vibrance hidden beneath the rush. Judge for yourself. I was inadequate, overwhelmed, rushed. A feast before me, I had little time to decide of what to partake. Yet, I came away filled.
The Metro was our friend and we walked, and walked, and walked…and the sun went down.
Paris is a vibrant city,rich in tradition, culture and history. As I spent time, not nearly enough, in the city, I felt the stories, written in the walls, stones and walkways. I couldn’t help looking through my lens to capture, not what I saw, but what I felt. High dynamic range photography seemed to be the only way I could bridge the gap between my dreams and my abilities. HDR images provided some relief from the need to capture the singular light of this marvelous city on canvas. I have no skill with the brush. I must rely on pixels to form the images I can only imagine amidst the landmarks which call to me in my sleep.
Paris is a city in motion. Cars, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, the Metro and people. People everywhere, constantly moving. It was easy, shooting motion pictures. Not so easy to capture stills. And the stories–in every face–I want to know them all. I have my own stories, but I want to know theirs. They won’t tell–easily. All I can do is stare–at their faces–and wonder. I will just have to imagine their stories.