Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Nurhayat + Metal Rod, İzmir, Turkey, 2013

Last night I happened upon a post on her IG feed and it inspired me to look back at our collaboration five years ago. While we visited her university at first to document a dance program, it became clear to me immediately that Nurhayat was more than just a dancer.

From dance to the visual arts to music, she exuded creativity period. So one afternoon whenmy colleagues were finished with their dance program, Nurhayat and her friends came with me to an adjacent, empty lot for a photographic session.

This was then she picked up this metal rod and went on to create with it. In her hands the metal rod was magical, and it seemed that it bent to her will. Her eyes were closed for a few exposures, and one could sense the intensity of her emotion as she moved from one position to another.

Nurhayat and her friends will always have my sincerest appreciation, for they are my brothers and sisters in neighboring Turkey.


Needle + Thread, Sewing Center, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018

These hands holding a needle and a spool of thread represent to me the hope of the sewing centers. One may believe that a sewing center for a dozen girls is a drop in the ocean, but for these girls it is an incredible opportunity.

It is a chance to learn a skill. When class begins they run for the sewing machines. While we provide a small budget for fabric, they also bring their own patterns and with pride make dresses for their families.

They are learning to make their own clothes, as well as clothes for others in the villages. With the possibility of local schools in need of uniforms, along with private schools overseas, the possibilities are endless.

For these frames I asked one of the older students to come outside with a needle and a spool of thread. These students know me well enough, and such a question while strange to most is accepted with a sense of humor in this school. She came along and was kind enough to allow me to expose these two images.

Her fingers held onto the needle and spool so tightly that her fingertips were so light in color. We helped her to feel more comfortable and then she relaxed her grip, allowing the color of her fingertips to look like the rest of her fingers. This is how important the center is to her, and to the rest of her friends! 


Note: These two frames were exposed with a Hasselblad 503 CW/180 mm lens combination.

Let's come together and help support these centers!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Girl at Play, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, 2018

My photography in Lebanon is different than my photography in other countries, for my family lives here also. The contrasts are as striking as the similarities. The children I photograph speak the same language as my family, yet they are from another country. In the morning I may be with my family in the town and then photographing in the camps located below in the valley.

There is the contrast in religions, the difference in nationalities... while there is the similarity in ethnicity, in culture. It is a fascinating experience and one perhaps which has been taken for granted. Next year that changes, for I will be spending more time with both families, one blood and one photographic.

Speaking of culture, on the morning this image was made the girls decided to imitate what they see on their television screens. The films of India have made their way to Lebanon in a dramatic fashion. The children watch the films with fascination, and know the popular songs by heart. They even recognized some of the songs on my phone, videos of girls in Uttar Pradesh performing popular pieces from Bollywood.

So after an hour of formal portraits, the girls decided to dress up and have some fun. They changed scarves and pulled jewelry out of nowhere it seemed. The energy level during this phase of photography was much different, more vibrant. They exchanged scarves and helped each other with styling.

It was also chaotic, almost too much on the mother of the tent in which we were photographing. She endured as much as she could, and then came up with a reason to end it all as the situation was almost out of control!


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Letters + Chalkboard, Shamli District, India, 2018

Thanks to a generous circle of friends here on FB these letters were written onto the wall by an entire class. Each young girl walked to the wall and wrote two to three letters. It was a team effort, and then the class was dismissed. Portraiture is my thing usually, however such a photograph had to me made!

Nirvanavan Foundation opened the school earlier this year within the local madrasa, thanks to the cooperation of Imdadullah Nadvi Nadvi and Kari Shokeen. In addition to the Koranic classes provided at the madrasa, now close to 100 girls are sitting down to the Uttar Pradesh curriculum which includes Hindi, Urdu, English and more.

At least once a week they also sit down to draw, and paint. This is something completely new and is embraced by the students wholeheartedly. What surprised me pleasantly even more so was the men's reaction to the art... they sincerely enjoyed it.

The school is doing well, and we are looking to support the progress. I will be reaching out to the present donors, as well as embracing those looking to join this movement. Anyone interested please do let me know.. all information will be provided of course.


Note: This image was exposed using a Hasselblad V system.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Young Student + Tree, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018

For those of us involved with the existing school in the village in Fatehpur, this young student's portrait is being presented. She attends classes in an adjacent village. The headmaster of this school is doing wonderful work, and all children from the village attend without fees.

The amazing part is that more girls than boys attend, something quite different in my experience covering this region. In addition the headmaster has allowed us to photograph the students without asking for anything in return. He always greets us with a smile and hot chai, as well as soft drinks.

We arrived this morning to photograph more of the girls, since the school has too many students for one session. This background just caught my attention and the girls had fun with the tree for their portraits. This young girl especially took my breath away with her smile, her joy and sweetness. She was anything but shy!

My hope is that we can help further establish our first school and move forward with more in the region... any and all help is most appreciated. Look forward to the posts in the near future!


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Una Mañana con Laura Rivero Perez, La Habana, Cuba, 2018.

El verano pasado en la isla fue una revelación, verdaderamente el comienzo de mi colaboración con tantos bailarines increíbles como Laura. Ella y su amigo me llamaron la atención gracias a Luis Miguel. Hablamos la noche anterior y nos encontramos con ella y su amigo en sus hogares mucho antes del amanecer.

Llegamos a este edificio justo cuando salía el sol. Hablamos un poco sobre el propósito detrás del trabajo y estábamos listos bastante rápido. La luz del sol era suave y fuerte, dependiendo de las nubes que pasaban. Esto nos dio la oportunidad de trabajar más tiempo y de crear imágenes con diferentes condiciones.

Laura fue maravillosa, actuó para la lente sin dudarlo. Sus expresiones eran naturales y honestas. A lo largo de la sesión, compartió su gratitud por el momento, una mujer verdaderamente humilde con talentos increíbles. Espero con ansias el próximo verano, cuando volveremos a colaborar, ¡y esta vez no estaremos esperando hasta la semana pasada!


A Morning with Laura, La Habana, Cuba, 2018

This past summer on the island was a revelation, truly the beginning of my collaboration with so many incredible dancers such as Laura. She and her friend came to my attention thanks to Luis Miguel. We spoke the evening before and met her and her friend at their homes well before sunrise.

We arrived at this building just as the sun came up. We spoke a bit regarding the purpose behind the work, and were ready pretty quickly. The sunlight was both soft and strong, depending on the passing clouds. This gave us the chance to work longer, and to make imags with varying conditions.

Laura was wonderful, she performed for the lens without hesitation. Her expressions were natural, and honest. Throughout the session she shared her gratitude for the moment, a truly humble woman with incredible talents. I look forward to next summer when we will collaborate once again, and this time we will not be waiting until the last week!


Note: This image was made with a Fuji X-T3, along with the 35 mm F2 lens.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Three Faces of Jordan, Los Angeles, California, 2016

This past week thoughts of California came into mind, then just today they turned to my session with Jordan. It is getting a little cold to do photography in the desert, so plans have changed to next Spring. In anticipation of next year this series is being shared.

Her features are only matched by her humility, a rare combination in my experience. She is a sister to the girls in my work, and offers herself to the lens without reservation. She has the capacity to change dramatically within minutes, from her hair to her expressions. It is a remarkable talent.

This series was made while the wind blew across the dry lake bed. It was a very difficult setting in which to perform, yet she did so without complaining. Jordan endured and helped us create timeless images from our very first session together! 


Note: These images were exposed with a Hasselblad V system.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Anays y Yudel, La Habana, Cuba, 2018

Como es tradición, mi último día en Cuba es mi día con Anays. Para este verano incluimos a Anyel y las telas mágicas de Yudel. Usamos este increíble espacio para nuestra sesión y llegamos justo cuando el sol estaba saliendo. La mezcla de nubes y sol permitió una variedad de condiciones de iluminación.

El único consejo proporcionado era usar la luz, y nada más. Mi preferencia es permitir que cada una presente su arte, su historia, sin mucho de mí. Una vez que el sol salió y los vestidos estaban en su lugar, comenzamos. La idea de que el fotógrafo puede concentrarse en la fotografía, mientras que la persona que se encuentra frente a la lente se revela a sí misma, es un placer diferente.

Cualquiera que esté familiarizado con mi trabajo en Cuba conocerá a esta joven y mi más profunda admiración por ella. Ella fue y sigue siendo una inspiración para mí y para mi fotografía.


As is tradition my last day in Cuba is my day with Anays. For this summer we included Anyel and the magical fabrics of Yudel. We used this incredible space for our session and arrived just as the sun was rising. The mix of clouds and sun allowed for a variety of lighting conditions.

The only advice provided was to use the light, and nothing else. My preference is to allow each to present their art, their story, without much from me. Once the sun came up and the dresses were in place, we began. The idea that the photographer can concentrate on the photography while the person in front of the lens reveals themselves is a treat unlike any.

Anyone familiar with my work in Cuba will know this young woman, and my deepest admiration for her. She was and continues to be an inspiration to me and my photography.


Note: This image was made with a Fuji XT-2, thanks to the guidance of Jef Janis at Dodd!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Father + Home, Kisumu, Kenya, 2007

After we finished photographing a school, I was taken to this man's house where he and his son were present. It was a small, mud structure in which a full family slept. The house consisted of one room, and all slept on the floor. His son had just been accepted into high school and held the letter of acceptance in his hands with such pride. 

The moment was bittersweet however, because the family was unable to afford the books and uniform needed. The heartbreak was clearly visible on both of their faces, and in their mannerisms. For most of us this is unimaginable, yet for so many this is the reality. Education is anything but given, and is usually a luxury.

My hope is that his son did attend higher education however, and that the family is now in a better place.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 501 CM/180 mm lens combination.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Fundraising for Our School in Uttar Pradesh

As many of our friends get ready to pick their children up from school, let me reach out to ask if any of you are interested in connecting me with an authority in your children's schools? Over the next three months I will be reaching out to local schools to see if we can connect the girls making uniforms in India with schools needing uniforms here in the States. I will making cold calls starting next week... and it would be nice to have a contact name if at all possible. Any contacts would be most appreciated!

It's simple actually... we have begun sewing centers in Uttar Pradesh and are looking to connect them with their local and our international markets. A skill set is crucial, yet so is supporting one's family with that skill set. All of us can appreciate this for we do this on a daily basis. Let's pull our resources together and send us your connections!

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Cami + Taylor, El Mirage, Los Angeles, California, 2016

Two years ago a casting call was posted and the kindest message was received in return. My experience has shown me that those with the most talent, that those who have reached a certain level in their profession, are exactly those who respond in such a positive way.

Such is Cami, a most talented and enlightened actor, dancer and model. When we communicated it was without delay, and when it was time for us to drive out to the lake bed she brought along with her another magnificent spirit named Taylor.

The resulting session was like a dream, only to be proven a reality through this series. Cami and Taylor worked seamlessly together, always thinking of the other by helping with changes as well as ideas. The tenderness between them made me pause then, and still does to this day.


Note: these images were exposes with a Hasselblad V system.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Young Girl + Wooden House, Rama, Nicaragua, 2017

My visit to Nicaragua came as my 50th year approached, the same age my father had when we left in the aftermath of the 1973 earthquake. The feeling of walking the same streets as my parents cannot be described. The embrace by the rural communities as we travelled took me by surprise and made me realize that I was home after so long. Such was this morning session on the outskirts of the port city of Rama. The people of this neighborhood embraced us immediately, such as this young woman. 

Their lives are extremely hard, as they endure an existence without running water, access to healthcare, proper electricity, sanitation... while living in homes with dirt floors and open windows. These were the people that I wanted to meet, these are the lives that I needed to document.


Note: This frame was exposed with a Hasselblad 503 CW/100 mm combination onto Fuji Acros 100 film.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Triple with Jaedon, El Mirage, California, 2017

Having just returned from Lebanon it's time to head to California for a few days... Los Angeles to be exact. My sessions with Jaedon have resulted in some of the most meaningful images this side of the Atlantic, and lure me to the West Coast annually.

For my sisters in California, my hope is that the weather holds up and that the end of October works for all. For this session Jaedon and I drove out to El Mirage early one afternoon, and she was as always more than ready with her wardrobe and snacks. The wind picked up a bit for the last images, and the one in the middle tested our endurance especially.

Creating at El Mirage is a highlight, both for me and for Jaedon as well. It's a magical space!


Note: these exposures were made with a Hasselblad V system.