Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Me Gusta Explicar - Juan from Huacachina

I recently spent a month in Peru prior to attending business school and have wanted to share some of the stories of the people that I was able to meet and photograph along the way.  My very favorite encounter happened in an oasis town named Huacachina where I met Juan, the “man who likes to explain.”  Huacachina is an oasis straight out of the Middle East, except this is Peru.  It sits about two miles outside of Ica, and is surrounded by miles of giant sand dunes.  I arrived planning to stay for two days, and ended up hanging around for four. 

I met Juan on the afternoon of my first night in town.  There is a walkway with restaurants and shops that surrounds three-quarters of the lagoon, and Juan sits at the far end, where the sand engulfs the sidewalk.  He works building and renting sandboards, and has been doing so for the last 19 years.  I took a couple of photos of him working, and he called me over, telling me that I looked like a person who would be interested in hearing a story.  I spent the next hour with him, listening to him describe ruins named Choquequirao that are larger than Machu Picchu, but listed in few guide books.  He said, “me gusta explicar,” which translates to “I like to explain.”

I asked him if I could bring my girlfriend the next day to hear another story.  He told me that if I came he would tell me of the time when the waters of the lagoon used to be red and yellow from the minerals that seeped in through the natural spring.  When we arrived he described a time when Peruvians believed that the waters had leading powers, and even through the sulfur would sting their eyes, people would come to bathe, hoping for a miracle.  It all ended when the adjacent city of Ica grew and tapped the spring that fed the lagoon.  The waters are now pumped in artificially and most tourists who come are international.  He spoke of the magic of Huacachina, which remained for me, but had waned for him as time had passed.

I’m not sure of all the reasons why I am drawn to people like Juan and the stories they tell.  I do know that I feel a deeper connection with any place I visit through the people that live there.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Aurora - Enviromental Portraits - 4/2/11

Meet Aurora.

This is the second in a series of environmental portraits meant to celebrate the girl next door, and how beautiful she is in her own surroundings. Emily was the first to pose for me, and she introduced me to Aurora who was also willing to sit for the project. Aurora works as a costume designer and splits her time between New York City and upstate. She was working on some gigantic wings for a client and was just finishing the project when I arrived. Feathers were everywhere.

I was able to capture some photos of her and her project and then some portraits. I'll look to post additional photos of her in the future on a new blog dedicated to this project. I hope you enjoy the theme and comments and questions are welcome.

This amazing old thread spool case with some of her materials in it.

As seen through the giant wings on the left of the first picture above. The vantage point actually gives the appearance that Aurora has a set of wings of her own.

Posing in her studio. Another set of wings in the background.

Portrait while Aurora puts up her hair.

Portrait in her studio.

Aurora sitting in the downstairs section of the house in which she works, tape measure draped around her neck.

Great afternoon light. Cool shadows. Beautiful model. Nice image.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Half Hour in Ireland - 3/29/11

This past week I traveled to Ireland for work (not photography related) and amid my busy schedule of meetings, flights and not so much sleep I was able to spend about a half an hour walking through the small seaside town of Crosshaven. I was lucky enough that the person I was meeting in Ireland, Caroline, was willing to drive me around on the way to the airport or else I wouldn't have seen much of anything. The village was exactly how I pictured it would be from my mental image of Ireland that has been constructed over the years of watching movies and seeing pictures.

I think my favorite memory of the entire trip though, was the smell of cow manure as we were getting off the plane in Cork. The airport only has five gates and is nestled amongst farms. So instead of the smell of concrete or gasoline, I was greeted in Ireland by the smell of farms. Then, my cab driver, who spoke in an accent so thick I had to fake understanding at points, had no problem squeezing in his, and the city of Cork's, entire history in the ten minute ride we shared together. When describing the economic troubles of Cork and the 14% jobless claims, he only said that he had to believe in the words of his parents, "The apples will grow again, they always do."

This photo, I think, describes some of the changes in Ireland. The man seems to be a quintessential Irishman, with his glasses, tweed cap and newspaper. He seems to belong on a small lane in a small village but here is surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a city that perhaps has grown up around him instantaneously.

My favorite. Many of the roads in Crosshaven were one only one lane. The double yellow line suggests that at some point these were two lane roads that houses covered when they fell from the sky.

Power lines are everywhere. So are TV antennas.

The Irish have the best pub signs. Each is a work of art.

Great lines and geometric shapes.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Detail of Alcatraz - 3/24/11

Last week, during a trip to San Francisco with friends, we took the ferry across the bay to the former maximum security prison, Alcatraz. The place is incredible, although small, and even though no prisoners have been incarcerated there for over 50 years, the place still seems to echo with the stories of life behind bars. I had my iPhone with me, and while taking the audio tour, tried to find small detail photographs that spoke to the larger theme of jail life. Comments and questions are always welcome. I hope you enjoy. Should be back with more environmental portraits in a few weeks time.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Emily - Environmental Portraits - 3/13/11

I've recently been looking to do more portrait work. My favorite type of portraiture is what photographers call environmental portraits, or images of people in surroundings that highlight the subjects personality or lifestyle.

Additionally, I've been struggling with the idea of body-image in today's media. It's very obvious that most of us men will never meet, date or marry a model from Victoria's Secret even though that image seems to be the basis for our idea of the perfect woman. But does that mean that the women we meet in the coffee shop or at the gym are any less perfect or attractive? No. And so this next project is all about the girl next door, and how beautiful she is, even though she doesn't grace the pages of a magazine.

Enter Emily.

Comments and questions are always welcome.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Images from Wandering - 2/6/11

I try to grab my camera and wander the streets of nyc as often as possible. You honestly can never predict what you'll encounter, who you'll meet or what images you will pass by. It seems every time I don't have a camera I'm wishing I did. The below images were taken during the last few months when I was lucky enough to have my equipment with me. I hope you enjoy.

Somewhere on the west side of Manhattan. This image reminds me of that American past-time of heading west into the unknown for adventure and fortune.

This is an image of an impromptu game of tag that broke out one weekend down on Wall Street, right outside of the Stock Exchange. The core group was inviting passers-by to join them and the game grew.

A Third Avenue doorway.

Detail of old records at an East Village music store.

After one of the large snowstorms we've been blessed with this 2011 winter, someone apparently lost a bag full of shoes.