More than 40 people have died in the recent protests in Venezuela. The Government has jailed many more. Tensions are high. Inflation is rampant. Food shortages are common. Yet, just a few months ago, it would have been hard to recognize the growing seeds of discontent.
I spent an hour at a park in Caracas last August. I met a some wonderful people and made some great friends. When I pulled out my camera, a Venezuelan Military Policeman made my acquaintance immediately. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d heard rumors and had been warned about taking pictures or shooting video. However, when I told him what I was doing, he warmed right up and asked me to take his picture. As we talked, I could feel an underlying tension. Yet, I would not have guessed that just a few months later, the clash of discontent would echo so loudly or so painfully.
I can only hope that the warmth of an August morning may return to dispel the awful strife of violent disagreement and return a measure of peace to a beautiful and interesting land.
Politics are pervasive in this Caracas town square.
The military perform police duties. When he saw my camera, he wanted to know what I was doing. When I asked to take his picture he we became friends.
He’s in big trouble…
I know how he feels.
This pint size photographer takes some pretty good pics.
Waiting for the bus is a good place to meet friends on ladies day.
These four boys represent the light, life and diversity of Venezuela.
You can feel the sincerity. Just so you know, they were trying to scam me 🙂
The sincere approach wasn’t working, so they tried another.
These boys were definitely cooking up something.
Bright and stylish colors help this boy to stand out.
Crossword puzzles, sudoku and cell phones, just another afternoon in the park.
Watching at the park.
The park in Caracas is a good place to begin any journey.
Mother and daughter enjoy a moment in the park.
For a little birdseed, these pigeons will be your friend forever.
The newspaper’s a lot more exciting when you’re older.
We had just come out of the Pantheon. People were everywhere. As we rounded a corner, the music that was blending with the noisy ambiance suddenly became clear. Two guys, street performers, had set up their gear and drawn a crowd. We had places to go, so much to see. No time to stop. But the music. It was Incredible. We could see it in their faces, the guitarist and the cellist. We could see it in the faces of the crowd, trance-like. Time stopped with us. We listened, a blend of new-age classical with a hint of Italian oregano. The spell broke when the music stopped. A breeze rustled our clothes. Time to go. More to see. As we wandered away, the music resumed. Even now, the siren’s song remains in our ears, calling us back to Rome.
It has been a few months now since I was in Rome. Yet, the feeling of Rome has stayed with me. It’s hard to describe. Every city has a personality. There are some cities that are welcoming and inviting. Other cities are dirty, and scary. Still others have an energy that is exciting and invigorating.
For me, Rome was all of these and more. On one hand, it was steeped in ancient tradition. The Ghosts of ancient Rome were still present. The evolution of the ancient was overlaid with an oppressive Catholic air. Yet, on the other hand, that very air was vibrating with life. I could see it in the faces of people–some locals–most tourists, I presume. I would have liked to explore and research the Eternal City through the lens of my camera in greater detail, but alas, I had but one day.
This gallery is the first part of a two part essay on the people of Rome from last September, when the sun was warm, the leaves were turning and the city was very much alive. I’ll post the second part in a day or so. Your questions, comments and/or profound thoughts on the purpose of life through the lens are most welcome.
They say Africa changes you. If you’ve been to Africa, spent time there, visited the people, you will understand. I’ve been to Africa four times. This was my first time in Lubumbashi. I was surprised. My own stereotypes were both reinforced and shattered. In Lubumbashi, a fragile peace hung over the city as oppressive as the heat and humidity, infusing a cultural angst almost as heavy . I was the outsider. I was different. The children called me “Muzungu”, white face, not a compliment. They smiled and laughed, not with me. My camera lens brought them running, surrounding me, dancing, playing and posing. In their eyes I saw joy, and innocence. The adults looked on, skeptical, questioning, challenging. Their eyes were reserved, hooded, holding back, keeping their stories from me. Many turned away. Some shouted insults. Those that did not were watching to see what I would do with their likeness. I took their pictures. I took them with me. I took them in, a part of me. I will not forget. In their African eyes I will never be the same.
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.
One day in Paris is not enough, but that’s all I had. The city is beautiful and overwhelming. French architecture stands as a witness to the genius minds of grand tradition meant to last through the ages. However, it was the people of Paris that fascinated me, fun, friendly, aggressive and rude. I could see stories in their eyes, in their faces. I took pictures of the places, but, the people in the places were just as interesting–perhaps more so. They all have stories. I tried to capture them, in the moment, as many as I could, as fast as I could. The places will last, the people in motion, their stories changing, these photographs holding them for just a moment.