Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dasanech Girl, In Another Life, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia, March, 2010

There are times when it seems people have met me before. Such is this little girl. On this hot day, so many others struggle with the camera. She on the other hand stands like she has known me in another life, in another world.

These are the times when my confidence in humanity is strengthened. These times occur in distant lands and in neighborhoods minutes away.

Just last night, such happens again. When a dear sister from my past takes a chance and shows herself again in my life, even after more than a dozen years, she shows me the meaning of humanity. When she displays her trust in the midst of madness, she offers to me a glimpse of what is possible.

Whether the time involved is a dozen years or a few minutes, the feeling is the same: this person knows me. The portrait above is of a girl that has known me for only a few minutes. Her ease with the camera however mirrors the ease that occurs last night despite twelve years of separation; they both feel natural.

People ask: 'why photography?'

The image above answers this question for me. Here is a medium that allows me to connect with someone from another land, from another time and from another culture. The experience is almost out-of-body. The photographer stands behind the camera, the subject a few meters away. People are all over the place, noises threaten the calm.

In the middle of this and from a distance, a 'tunnel' forms between the photographer and the subject, simulating the eye of a storm. Everything outside seems like chaos. However, inside this space, calm reigns and the subject speaks vividly to the photographer without hesitation.

In the middle of chaos, twelve years disappear last night.