Saturday, December 30, 2017

Toddler + Wooden House, Managua to León, Nicaragua, 2017

A few days before my departure we visited this village for the second time, and were beyond fortunate to have had a quiet moment to photograph this young boy. At first his mother had held his hand while he stood next to her, then I placed a bucket upside down for him to sit down... and he did so ever so calmly. Amazingly he sat still for about ten minutes while his mother and I made as many photographs as we possibly could!

He and his family live in between Managua and León on the old highway, the same path my father would have taken as he arrived in Nicaragua. He would have passed by this village as well, perhaps passing by the grandfather of this young boy as he was a toddler himself. The people in this tiny village welcomed us as they would have welcomed family. After the photography on both days we talked for hours about topics ranging from rural life in Nicaragua to their experiences in Cuba.

Two of the men from this house had traveled to Cuba in the 1980s, giving us plenty of subject matter to talk about other than our mutual history in Nicaragua. They loved my old passport, and the picture of me when I was somewhat the age of this young boy. It was the link between the present and the past, something tangible which brought us closer together.

I do hope that the film contains at least one image comparable to this digital image, and look forward to seeing the film images once processed in a month or so.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Group Selfie + Lakeside, Grenada, Nicaragua, 2017

It has taken a few days but the photography has finally found its place in Nicaragua. We drove to Grenada this morning in order to meet the team at Education Plus, and had enough time in the morning to look around. By happenstance we ended up driving by this small village near the lake, and were embraced by the community almost immediately.

During their entire time in this village, they had never been visited by the countless outsiders visiting their region. They do wave to everyone, but rarely get a wave back. So it was with great surprise that they saw us walking towards them, and with even greater surprise to learn that we were deeply interested in photographing their community.

We talked for some time, and began photographing the oldest girl in the family, the one to my left in the group selfie. She was incredibly confident and truly aware of the moment, making some of the most beautiful portraits thus far. With her as an example to the rest of the children, all stepped forward without hesitation and truly made an impression on all of us.

After the photography we ended up making some spontaneous images, including this selfie with her releasing the shutter. One look at her expression should give the viewer an idea of her personality, of her self-confidence... so impressive. This is after all an 8 year old girl living in rural Nicaragua with a visitor for the first time in her village. What an experience it was, and all credit goes to these beautiful children!

When we were ready to leave for our meeting later this morning, she had one of the most serious expressions ever experienced by me. She truly connected with us this morning, the truest of honors in my humble opinion. We are heading to her village once again tomorrow morning, and let her know that before we headed off for the day.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Nica + Fence, Rama, Nicaragua, 2017

Her portrait was the result of happenstance earlier today, as we tried to make our way to the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Spontaneity is the name of the game for the next two weeks, and as we followed the map on the phone to the eastern coast we ended up at a river and this village. It seems that the phone thought we had a boat, since it gave us the directions which included a river for the last 2 hours of our ride.

Without hesitation we dumped our drive to the river and walked into this village immediately. The majority of the homes are made of wood, and the people are as friendly as anywhere on the island. This has been my experience so far in Nicaragua, being embraced by my cousins as well as strangers anywhere we go.

We walked into this village last evening even though it was cloudy in order to speak with the people. They welcomed us without reservation and invited us to come back this morning if the sun was shining. Well, the sun was shining and we returned to find the children more than happy to be photographed.

One such girl is the one smiling in this portrait. She was a treat to photograph, so young yet so confident in front of the camera. Their shyness is one of the most beautiful aspects of the Nicaraguan people, especially those in the countryside. She was something else, a truly remarkable spirit living the most difficult life yet rising above it all with humility.

The people in her village lack running water, sewage system, toilets, medical access while at the same time sleeping in homes without screens and at the mercy of mosquitos every single night. The fact that she can present to the world with such a smile makes me pause.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Turning Portraits Into Books, Gallery+, Cleveland, Ohio, 2017

Thanks to Zack Hoon and Gallery+, two events supporting the new school by Nirvanavan Foundation are happening next month. Selenium-toned silver gelatin prints of the very students in the school are up for sale, as well as landscapes from India as well. 100% of the sales will go to support their education, thanks to the brilliant work of Nirvana Bodhisattva and his team. It is a way to bring art into your family and to share your family's generosity with the world!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Young Girl + Room, Miramar, Nicaragua, 2017

The people of Nicaragua are as gentle and kind as any in my work over the last two decades. In every single village they embraced us like family and allowed us to document their lives without hesitation. Sure there were a few along the way with more than their share of questions, yet the questions always came with respect and genuine concern.

This young girl lives in a village next to my cousin Victor's home, and those within her village have the deepest respect for our family for their parents had worked with our parents. Here we were, the children of the previous generation getting to know each other over four decades since those memorable days.

Her portrait was made in her neighbor's house, as we were allowed to use this room for portraits. The young children came dressed for the occasion and we did our best to honor their trust. We made both film and digital images until the sun set, and returned just the day before yesterday with photographs for all.

The feeling of connecting with the children of Nicaragua is hard to explain, and my hope is that the film to be developed over the next four weeks will display the emotions more effectively than words can.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.