He sat on steps outside a mosque in Istanbul, worry lines carving canyons in his forehead. Perhaps the proximity to God, and a wooden cane will keep the weight of worldly cares from crushing him. Perhaps a silent prayer will reach to heaven or a moment in tower shadows will heal his heart. I can not say.
Crowds ascended sacred steps as the old man remained.
I watched with him as long as I could, hoping for relief, praying that, perhaps, he, too, could go home.
For more info on my show check out a June 11th article in The Spectrum.
I’m usually shooting video on assignment. Too often, stills are second priority and I never have enough time. However, when I go out in the streets, I have this compelling desire to capture the essence of the street–documentary style–a story in every frame–a thousand stories in a single image. I don’t consider it stealing, although, I try to take the spirit of a place with me. I try to be invisible so that I and my camera don’t interrupt the realness of the moment. I rarely succeed. At least, that’s how it feels. Sometimes I get lucky and freeze the moment I was seeing in my mind. People are my favorite and hardest to shoot. I love to capture the stories that are written in the lines of faces and hands, or, deeply etched on the soul through the eyes–stories I can only invent–stories you will see differently. Perhaps our own stories are written by the ways and means with which we see the world.
Brazil is exciting, vibrant, constantly moving. The scenery is diverse and beautiful. So, too, are the people.
Elbow grease, or just paint, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Relaxin’ at the Sao Paulo Opera House.
Could be their next album cover–On the steps of the Grand Theater, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
So, so weary. Homeless in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Officially watching traffic in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
This man waits for the bus in Curitiba, Brazil.
Speed and motion in Curitiba, Brazil.
There are many ways to stretch in Curitiba, Brazil.
Product placement? Or just an ad for Adidas?
A mother and daughter aren’t pleased in Olinda, Brazil.
Waiting, just waiting on the street in Olinda, Brazil.
Windows without glass, Olinda, Brazil.
Sao Paulo Brazil has a colorful mix of ethnicities.
Sittin’ on the dock of the bay…Recife, Brazil.
Brazilian boys wait for the right moment to jump in to the Beberibe River, in Recife, Brazil.
A family takes a boat ride on the Beberibe river in Recife. Brazil.
Rowing and relaxing on the Capibaribe river, Recife.
The King still lives on the streets of São Paulo.
Music is not just a part of life in Brazil, it is life.
These street singers make up the lyrics to the songs they sing, as they sing them.
Musicians advance the rich heritage of Brazilian music on the streets of Recife.
Colorful murals are a part of the landscape in Brazil.
This indigenous street vendor is happy to make a sale in Olinda, Brazil.
World cup was still a few weeks away. We were eating lunch in a little cafe in Recife. The food was delicious. My new Brazilian friends were delightful. The lights in the restaurant went out and the cafe owner approached our table. He spoke rapidly and seemed agitated. I don’t speak Portuguese, but my friends look concerned. I looked around and noticed that the cafe was empty. It wasn’t, just a moment before.
Gangs were coming. People were rioting. The situation was dangerous. The cafe was closing and we needed to leave.
A few days later, in São Paulo, our taxi driver told us the bus drivers were on strike. We were so close to the hotel, just one block left to go. Traffic stopped.
Let’s walk, I said.
Too dangerous. With your equipment, the taxi is the best option. Cars stopped. Buses blocked roads. It took us an hour to go one block. The city was in turmoil.
The next morning, another strike. The Police, again, in eleven Brazilian states. We may not be able to get the shots we were looking for. Crowds. Riots. Craziness. Street performers playing cool jazz. Just another crazy day in Brazil.
I stood on the roof of an old hi-rise building,in downtown São Paulo, taking pictures and shooting B-roll video of the city. Below me I could see Police–all of them. On Strike. When I took their pictures, they were friendly and seemed rather pleased. They had nothing else to do, World Cup was still a few weeks away.
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.
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.