Thursday, December 31, 2020

Granizado y Año Nuevo, La Habana, Cuba, 2018


These empty bottles are what's left of 2020. My hope is that bright, sugary liquids fill these bottles soon, as symbols of a better year ahead. Hopefully soon we can stand together around this cart and purchase a 5 peso cup of that most refreshing mixture!

Estas botellas vacías son lo que queda de 2020. Mi esperanza es que los líquidos brillantes y azucarados llenen estas botellas pronto, como símbolo de un año mejor. ¡Con suerte, pronto estaremos juntos alrededor de este carrito y compraremos una taza de 5 pesos de la mezcla más refrescante!

Lya y Heriberto, La Habana, Cuba, 2018

En seis meses espero estar en ese espacio familiar con los talentosos bailarines y modelos de Cuba. Hay una rara combinación de seriedad y comedia que hace que nuestras colaboraciones sea tan hermosa. Todo interesado en ésta colaboración envíame tus sueños y hagamos un gran verano! 

Jessica y Juan, La Cancha, La Habana, Cuba, 2018


Antes del verano en Cuba, me gustaría mostrar esta imagen del año pasado. Fue un honor hacer arte con estos dos bailarines. Gracias a la magnífica Tamy, nos conectamos y fuimos a las canchas de racquetball por una mañana de fotografía.

Entramos en el auto de Idiovel, un magnífico Plymouth de los años cincuenta. Llegamos muy temprano, antes de la luz, y nos preparamos de inmediato mientras hablamos de nuestra visión.

Por supuesto, Jessica y Juan fueron profesionales, y no necesitaban nada. Solo hablamos de la dirección de la luz en relación con sus posiciones de baile.

Durante dos horas fui testigo de su arte e hice todo lo posible para documentarlo con fotografías en blanco y negro. Su rendimiento fue sin época, al igual que la forma de la fotografía utilizada. 

¡Espero con ansias este verano con ellos, así como todos los bailarines de nuestro hermoso círculo en la isla!

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Before the summer in Cuba, I would like to show this image from last year. It was an honor to make art with these two dancers. Thanks to the magnificent Tamy, we connected and went to the racquetball courts for a morning of photography.

We went in Idiovel's car, a magnificent Plymouth of the 1950s. We arrived very early, before the light, and prepared immediately while talking about our vision.

Of course, Jessica and Juan were professionals, and they did not need anything. We only talked about the direction of light in relation to their dance positions.

For two hours I witnessed their art, and did my best to document it with black and white photography. Their performance was timeless, just like the form of the photography used. 

I look forward to this summer with them, as well as all of the dancers from our beautiful circle on the island!

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503 CW/180 mm combination.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Melissa y Alejandra, Santa Maria Del Mar, Cuba, 2018


Quedan seis meses antes de mi verano en Cuba y espero que creemos imágenes como esta para mi familia fotográfica en la isla. Aquí tenemos una imagen del verano pasado con Melissa Martin y Nanda Aab.

Gracias al Plymouth de Idiovel Alvarez, pudimos llegar a Santa Maria del Mar temprano en la mañana. Bravo es una palabra que usaría para describir a estas dos jóvenes, porque entramos en el agua de inmediato.

Es un honor tener esta oportunidad y poder colaborar de esta manera. Mientras que otros buscan documentar la isla a distancia, mi enfoque es tener una conversación completa e incluir los sueños de las personas en estas imágenes.

Al hacerlo, las fotografías se convierten en una colaboración equitativa entre el fotógrafo y el modelo. Mi esperanza es que este verano me lleve más profundamente en la vida de mis amigos, y que nuevos amigos se unan a nosotros.

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Six months before my summer in Cuba, and my hope is that we create images like this for my photographic family on the island. Here we have an image from last summer with Melisa and Nanda. 

Thanks to Idiovel's Plymouth, we were able to arrive at Santa Maria del Mar early in the morning. Brave is one word I would use to describe these two young girls, because we entered the water immediately.

It is an honor to be given this chance, and to be allowed to collaborate in this way. While others seek to document the island from a distance, my approach is to have a full conversation and to include the dreams of the people in these images. 

In doing so the photographs become an equal collaboration between photographer and model. My hope is that this summer takes me deeper into the lives of my friends, and that new friends will join us.

Note: These images were made with a Fuji GA645i onto glorious film.

Man + Horse, Countryside, Cuba, 2018


Hay unas semanas antes del verano en Cuba. Por supuesto, me gustaría hacer arte con los bailarines y modelos, pero también debemos incluir a los magníficos cubanos que viven fuera de la ciudad.

There are a few weeks before the summer in Cuba. Of course I would like to do art with the dancers and models, but we must also include the magnificent Cubans who live outside the city too!


Lya + Heriberto, La Habana, Cuba, 2018


En un mes espero estar en ese espacio familiar con los talentosos bailarines y modelos de Cuba. Hay una rara combinación de seriedad y comedia que hace que nuestras colaboraciones sea tan hermosa. Todo interesado en ésta colaboración envíame tus sueños y hagamos un gran verano!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Carolina + Lunara Love, El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, California, 2016


As we move into 2021, I look forward to visiting this very spot with my family in Los Angeles! 

Here is an image from years ago with the stylings of Lunara Love and an incredible performance from Carolina under the sun!

Young Girl + Camp, Syrian living in Lebanon, 2019


Last summer I sat with this girl for a session of photography. In her camp my photography was born 22 years ago, but it was the first time specifically in this spot. To be able to sit down with these girls is an honor beyond my ability to describe. The trust their parents have in me is immeasurable, for in the end I am a foreigner with a different faith. Yet we are a family unlike any other. My love and respect for them is like that for my very family. While we were talking the leader of this refugee camp pulled out a picture I made of him over 17 years ago, and smiled with pride.

El verano pasado me senté con esta niña para tomar una sesión de fotografía. En este campo nació mi fotografía hace 22 años, pero fue la primera vez en este lugar específicamente. Poder sentarme con estas niñas es un honor más allá de lo que puedo describir. La confianza que sus padres tienen en mí es inconmensurable, porque al final soy un extranjero con una fe diferente. Sin embargo, somos una familia como ninguna otra. Mi amor y respeto por ellos es así para mi propia familia. Mientras hablábamos, el líder de este campamento de refugiados sacó una foto que hice de él hace más de 17 años y sonrió con orgullo.

Young Student + Chalkboard, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2020


Before this year's visit to India much was up in the air and it was uncertain whether the work with the madrasas would continue. Thanks to great communication by Imdadullah and to the trust built over the past six years, the photography flourished even more so than last year. Her portrait was made earlier in March of this year, as we visited the last madrasa in question. Her strength in front of the lens impressed me sincerely, and my hope is that her portrait does her justice.

Sit-down + Camp, Zahle, Lebanon, 2004


Their community gave birth to my work 20 years ago and continues to inspire me. Back then they were migrants working the fields and factories of Lebanon, having moved into camps for the sake of a better life. Now their homes in Syria are almost certainly destroyed and they are living as refugees in Lebanon. My hope is that the violence ends and their community can find peace as well as a life without struggle. I look forward to seeing them on Monday.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Widow + HIV/AIDS, Kisumu, Kenya, 2007


This was my first visit to Kenya, and it was a deeply enlightening experience. It was an honor to document the work of a local #ngo, concentrating on the Maragoli community near Kisumu. The foundation worked with orphans, mentally and physically challenged children as well as families ravaged by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The people photographed were some of the most stoic in my experience, and inspired me to do the best possible on their collective behalf.

Jessica y Juan Alberto, Las Canchas, La Habana, Cuba, 2018


Esta noche en mi apartamento estoy escaneando los rollos del verano pasado en Cuba. Se ha seleccionado una imagen para compartir esta noche, un recuerdo de una mañana especial.

El año pasado fue maravilloso por muchas razones, y especialmente porque me dieron el honor de fotografiar a tres hermosas compañías de danza. De una de esas compañías vienen estos dos bailarines increíblemente talentosos.

Después de ver su actuación una noche, me inspiré para fotografiarlos. Gracias a mi querida amiga Tamy, esta colaboración fue posible. Acordamos una mañana y fuimos a las canchas para nuestra sesión.

Su profesionalismo fue impresionante, ya que estaban listos casi de inmediato. Tenían una visión maravillosa, y fue un placer ver su colaboración detrás de la cámara.

¡Gracias a Tamy Glez, Jorge, Jessica Gómez y Juan Alberto Reyes Perez por permitirme el privilegio de colaborar con ellos... hasta este verano!

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This night in my apartment I am scanning the rolls from last summer in Cuba. An image has been selected to share tonight, a memory of a special morning.

Last year was marvelous for many reasons, and especially because I was given the honor of photographing three beautiful dance companies. From one such company come these two incredibly talented dancers.

After watching their performance one evening, I was inspired to photograph them. Thanks to my dear friend Tamy, this collaboration was made possible. We agreed on a morning and drove out to the racquetball courts for our session. 

Their professionalism was impressive, as they were ready almost immediately. They had wonderful vision, and it was a pleasure to watch their collaboration from behind the camera.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503 CW/180 mm combination onto color positive film.




Un Poco de Color Con Anyel, La Habana, Cuba, 2018


Justo antes de irme a la India, mi querido amigo David me envió tres rollos, tres rollos de mi tiempo en Cuba el verano pasado. Uno de los rollos era un rollo de color de mi último día, e incluía mi tiempo con Anyel y Anays. Aquí está para tus ojos Anyel, un escaneo inicial solo para tu revisión ... disfrute y sepa que crearemos más arte esté verano.

Just before I went to Lebanon, my dear friend David sent me three rolls, three rolls of my time in Cuba last summer. One of the rolls was a color roll from my last day, and it included my time with Anyel and Anays. Here it is for your eyes Anyel, an initial scan only for your review ... enjoy and know that we will create more art this summer.

Students + School for Girls, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2019



Before this year's visit to India much was up in the air and it was uncertain whether the work with the madrasas would continue. Thanks to great communication by Imdad and to the trust built over the past six years, the photography flourished even more so than last year. Their portraits were made as we visited the last madrasa in question. The headmaster welcomed us most graciously, and had an incredible lunch waiting for us after the morning photography. 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Best Friends + Classroom, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2019


Day before yesterday we photographed their school for the first time this year. We visited this school many times over the past few years but this year they have made a more serious effort to include more girls. They are also looking to hire more teachers and improve their level of education.

Our session included an impromptu hour of photography in their classroom and in front of their friends, thus the smiles on their incredible faces.

Over the past three weeks we have visited over 10 villages and reconnected with all madrasas within them thanks to my brother Imdadulla Nadvi and his trust in our collaboration. Tomorrow we set out to visit two more schools and meet more beautiful students of this region.

Best Friends, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2019


Yesterday we photographed their school for the first time this year. We visited this school many times over the past few years but this year they have made a more serious effort to include more girls. They are also looking to hire more teachers and improve their level of education.

Our session yesterday included an impromptu hour of photography in their classroom and in front of their friends, thus the smiles on their incredible faces.

Over the past three weeks we have visited over 10 villages and reconnected with all madrasas within them thanks to my brother Imdadulla Nadvi and his trust in our collaboration. Tomorrow we set out to visit two more schools and meet more beautiful students of this region.

Mursi Woman, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia, 2010


Making the best of this quarantine means getting into the darkroom daily to print the work from the past 20 years. The negatives from Ethiopia were printed this past month, and next month it's time for enlarged proofs from Cuba. 

Young Student + Soft Shawl, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2020


Over the past seven years it's been my privilege to photograph the young students of a dozen madrasas in the district of Shamli. For the majority this is their first time in front of a camera, as well as the stranger in their midst. Now they are familiar with me and feel more at home with the lens.

This makes such an expression possible. She is so young yet so present in the moment. Her portrait is from the waist up, but I felt that a severe crop of the negative would isolate her features and present her expression best. 

I look forward to the dry prints tomorrow!

Note: this image was printed onto Ilford 11x14 fiber paper, and toned in Selenium for permanence. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Student + Chalkboard, Rajasthan, India, 2018


She attends a wonderful school in a tiny village within Rajasthan, and has my sincerest appreciation for allowing her portraits to be made. Her and her five sisters have been photographed by me since 2006, when her older sisters were her age. We have been supporting her school as well as a sewing center, one which her older sister will attend once COVID-19 eases its grip on all of us.

Best Friends + Chalkboard, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018


Earlier this year before COVID-19 ago we photographed their school for the first time this year. We visited this school many times over the past few years but this year they have made a more serious effort to include more girls. They are also looking to hire more teachers and improve their level of education.

Our session included an impromptu hour of photography in their classroom and in front of their friends, thus the smiles on their incredible faces.

During my time in India this year, we have visited over 10 villages and reconnected with all madrasas within them thanks to my brother Imdadulla Nadvi and his trust in our collaboration. Soon we hope to help their school more so, and wish for a better 2021!

Two Students + Two Smiles, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018




Yesterday we photographed their school for the first time this year. We visited this school many times over the past few years but this year they have made a more serious effort to include more girls. They are also looking to hire more teachers and improve their level of education.

Our session yesterday included an impromptu hour of photography in their classroom and in front of their friends, thus the smiles on their incredible faces.

Over the past two weeks we have visited over 10 villages and reconnected with all madrasas within them thanks to my brother Imdadulla Nadvi and his trust in our collaboration. Tomorrow we set out to visit two more schools and meet more beautiful students of this region.

Six Students + Six Frames, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018


Six young students and three trees, along with a couple of flowers, made these images possible one morning. To this day I cannot take in the immense beauty of this land, the trust which helps produce these portraits. In return I will do my best to help their school flourish. We have a long way to go, but one look into their eyes gives me all the inspiration needed. These are some of the images to be printed this week.

Melissa, La Habana, Cuba, 2018


Ayer Melissa publicó una de nuestras fotos, así que ahora me toca a mí hacer lo mismo. Las palabras que ella había escrito me impresionaron mucho y me demostraron aún más sobre su carácter especial. Si bien las fotos son muy importantes para mí, saber que son importantes para las personas que he fotografiado significa mucho para mí. Este es el caso de Melissa, ¡y estoy agradecida por nuestra amistad!

Esa tarde paseamos por La Habana con Melissa y algunas otras modelos de EGOS, la escuela de modelos de la increíble Gysleda. Por supuesto, todos miraron en nuestra dirección, especialmente los turistas. Esto siempre me gustó, ya que la mayor parte del tiempo están demasiado ocupados mirando edificios antiguos y haciendo selfies con sus gafas de sol, mientras beben agua de sus botellas. ¡Es genial verlos finalmente comprender el activo verdaderamente importante de la isla, su gente!

Al final de la tarde logramos llegar a esta plaza. Noté este lugar detrás de Melissa y el sol atravesó las barras de metal. Estas fueron las fotografías más especiales de la tarde para mí.

Luis Miguel + Enlarged Proof, Havana, Cuba, 2018

Hoy fue un día maravilloso en el cuarto oscuro, con los rollos cubanos del 2018. Hace dos años hicimos estas imágenes, pero siento que fuimos a Santa María del Mar apenas ayer. Gracias al Prof. Gysleda, conocí a esta magnífica bailarina. En menos de dos horas, Luis Miguel cambió muchas veces y me ayudó a crear algo especial. Los recuerdos de ese día siempre estarán conmigo, y ahora están en esta foto para que todos los vean también.

¡Gracias mi querido hermano Luis Miguel, y Idiovel por su apoyo!

Note: Proof enlarged from the 120 roll to 16x20 Ilford fiber paper, tones in selenium and washing for the next two hours.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Harvest, Rajasthan, India, 2020


Having a small camera in my hands during my walks around my friend's farm was a blessing. Anything in the skies or on the ground was easy to photograph, rather than worrying about a tripod and heavy gear. For this negative just printed, I was hanging out with the family as they were working the field when I saw this juxtaposition of burned and unburned. The young women thought it funny that I would even notice, and even funnier that I'd make a picture. These are the images which will remind me forever of my time under lockdown, and the family which made that time way more than comfortable.

Thank you Nami and family! 

Young Student + Field, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2020


Like everything else new in India this year, my approach to portraiture also changed. Subtle moments like this were everything to me, as she gazed into the field of wheat beneath her. The wind swept across the field and provided the beautiful movement as a backdrop as well. She was at school that morning when we asked her and her friends to be photographed. They are by now used to me but, at the same time, it still feels new. She has a way of looking into the lens which is all her own, a truly remarkable, young girl. 

Note: This image was printed onto 11x14 Ilford fiber paper and toned in Selenium for permanence. This is just a quick snapshot of the print while it was drying on the screen.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Love and Peace, Zahle, Lebanon, 2019


At her tender age she knows more than the fools in charge of the land in which she lives. She understands what we need now and displays it with her hand and her sweater. The ruling class needs to have such wisdom.

For 23 years I have had the privilege of photographing the Syrians living within Lebanon. Her camp was a new one for me last year, yet the children were as warm as those from the familiar camps. This is the expression they shared with me, such kindness! 

They are barely surviving in these strenuous times, even worse after the explosion and the failures of the economy and the ruling class. My hope is for better, for a brighter future. 

Tree Forest, Virat Nagar, Rajasthan, India, 2020


 My walks thru this small forest on the outskirts of town always reward me with images, this being just one example. This image holds more meaning for me because it was during my quarantine. While I wore my mask and kept to myself, four young men seemed to feel that they could impose themselves on me and require my attention. It was a bit harrowing at times until finally my friend Nami came to collect me. Only then did they disperse. I have this image as a reminder of the good in the face of the bad.

Note: the Fuji 645 negative was printed onto 11x14 Ilford Warmtone Fiber Paper, tones in Selenium and sitting on the screen to dry overnight.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Young Girl + Shadows, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2020


Over the past seven years it's been my honor to photograph students in a dozen schools within Shamli District, thanks to Imdadullah and his connections. This girl and her sister both attend one of these schools. For the time being it is strictly a religious school, but the headmaster would like to expand the school and include a full curriculum as well. 

Both of the sisters have light eyes, and the headmaster allows us to photograph to almost sunset to allow us to photograph them. In the back of the school there's a space with a slit of light squeezing through two walls. We usually begin with the other girls, and as the sun nears the horizon these two girls come forward for their portraits. 

That's exactly what happened for this image, and she began the roll with her gaze down to the ground. Slowly she raised her eyes to the lens and the shutter was released the entire time. Just this week this print was made in the darkroom, bringing that moment from six months ago to the present.

Note: this image was printed onto Ilford 11x14 fiber paper, and toned in Selenium for permanence. 

Banjara Boy + Herd, Virat Nagar, Rajasthan, India, 2020

 

My time in India just before and after the outbreak of COVID was filled with contrasts. While preventing me from making the portraits normally made, in many ways it forced me to choose a different path. One of these paths happened to be this forest adjacent to a Banjara community. 

Normally my friend Nami would drop me off on the side of the road, and kindly wait while I walked around and photographed the landscape. On this morning I was walking around and just happened to come across this young shepherd. Normally this community is very difficult to photograph, but the fact that it was just the two of us allowed the photography to flourish.

Over the span of an hour we walked around, and with a smile he permitted me to photograph him and his herd. The fact that we did so in this incredible space was that much more meaningful to me. 

Note: this image was printed in the darkroom on 11x14 fiber paper, then toned in Selenium.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Cami + Dry Lake Bed, El Mirage, California, 2019

In light of the difficulties the young girl face in other parts of the world, an image of a dear friend Cami McCullough is shared. We made this image during the windiest day of my extensive experiences at this magical space. It was so windy that we were unable to hear each other speak, and so just used hand signals most of the time!

This image is being shown to demonstrate the possibilities in the midst of such difficulties. Rather than allowing the wind to get the best of her, Cami used it to her advantage. My hope is that the young girls in rural India, for example, will be able to overcome their more than considerable difficulties. In reality, my wish is that the communities in which they live can provide them with a level playing field, so that they can achieve their fullest potential!

Thank you Cami for sharing your strength with the young girls around the world... it does make a difference! 

Four Frames + Window, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2019


 Today was spent in the darkroom with the film from India, and the rest of the month will be dedicated to this year's time in this land. The contrast of images made before and after the quarantine will be a learning experience for me. 

For this series we chose to make images in the classroom yet to be finished. It lacked a roof and a finished floor, and gave us a great chance to do something different for the girls. It's a bittersweet series, for this is the view most of these young girls will have of the world around them. 

Rather than participants, they are many times relegated to a more passive role. My hope is that the schools in this area take it upon themselves to improve the level of education and promote fairness and equity on behalf of their students... all of them!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Field of Icarus, Countryside, Nicaragua, 2019


Today was spent driving around the northern corner of Nicaragua. We drove by seemingly endless groups of homes, on a day when almost all were walking to and from church. We drove on smooth highways as well as roads covered with pebbles. On the same day we drove past dry grass fields with Icarus trees as well as dense forests with ancient trees. At almost any point the camera could have been set up and an image made. The beauty of this land is immeasurable. My hope is that the people within its borders can one day truly enjoy this beauty, while at the same time enjoying a better life for all.

Land of Lakes and Volcanoes, Léon, Nicaragua, 2019


From the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes, I hope that 2021 brings a change to the positive.

Note: The view thru the Hasselblad, with a yellow filter.

Syrian Girls + Tent, Near Zahle, Lebanon, 2019


The darkroom has been the saving grace for this summer's inability to travel, especially to see my family in Lebanon... both blood and photographic. Moments like the one in this image are unforgettable, and inspire me to believe in a better future. These girls and their families were forced to leave their homeland of Syria due to the civil war, and have done their best to survive in Lebanon. We were finished with our photography for the afternoon and decided to have some fun with the digital camera. A bit of joking and they were off to the races with their laughter... missing moments like this, and will wait patiently until the next time! 

Dancer + Pedestrian, Havana, Cuba, 2018


Hay momentos en los que una persona involuntaria se pasea por el lugar. Normalmente espero a que pase la persona, pero a veces parezco esperar y hacer la fotografía mientras miro a través del objetivo. Este fue uno de esos casos, y nada engañó a este hombre. Independientemente de mi intento de parecer inocente, el hombre sabía la verdad. ¡Oh, bueno, al menos eligió caminar por el lugar!

Ese día estábamos haciendo un video para Iberodance, y de vez en cuando me dieron la oportunidad de usar mi cámara antigua. Mientras la compañía de baile descansaba, le pedí a esta joven bailarina, Katia Cespedes, que caminara hasta el lugar donde la cámara ya estaba esperando. Pasamos un minuto para hacer esta imagen, y ella regresó con sus amigas para tomar un poco de agua fría.

Espero que ella está bien y que la compañía se mantenga segura durante estos tiempos difíciles. ¡Pronto nos reuniremos y haremos más imágenes!

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There are those times when an unintended person strolls through the frame. Normally I wait for the person to pass, but sometimes I appear to wait and depress the shutter while looking through the lens. This was one such instance, and nothing fooled this man. Regardless of my attempt to look innocent, the man knew the truth. Oh well, at least he chose to walk into the frame!

On this day we were making a video for Iberodance, and I was given opportunities now and then to use my film camera. While the dance company was resting, I asked this young dancer to walk to the spot where the camera was already waiting. We spent a minute to make this image, and she returned to her friends to have a snack and some cool water.

I hope that she's doing well and that the company is staying safe during these difficult times. Soon we will reunite and make more images!