Without The Frame

Jul 23rd

2007

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Without The Frame, VI

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Kathmandu, 2007.

This image is a result of pure dumb luck, as I am beginning to suspect the bulk of my images are. I was wandering the back alleys of Bhoda, just on the outskirts of Kathmandu, it was early morning, 6:30am, and the promised rainy season had just shown up. Truth be told I was in a funk – the kind that takes hold of me when I am in a place for an insanely short time and know that trying to feel-out the spirit of the place, let alone capture it in any meaningful way, is an insanely presumptuous task. It’s probably this very mindset that makes me manically search for the thing and which makes the thing itself so elusive. Trying too hard pushes the muse away.

Suddenly I looked up and saw this woman. Her fingers aren’t all there – there’re bits missing. You don’t have to look hard to see that life has been tough for her. She spent five minutes consumed by her devotion – lighting the butter lamps, swinging the incense, praying. She knew I was there, we acknowledged each other with a nod and a near-smile. I shot about 25 frames, my feet getting wet, no real sense of time. Mostly I just prayed she’d keep at her prayers long enough that my intrusion would result in an image that meant something, said something about her and her devotion.

You can’t plan these moments. They gobsmack you from your blindside. Slowly I am learning that creativity has its genesis in something, Someone, bigger than me – that it’s the process of seizing a small handful of convergent serendipitous elements the moment your muse taps you on the shoulder and says, “Hey! Wake-up! Look at that.” And in the in-between times when there is nothing to look at and you feel like your muse is off screwing around when she should be hard at work, those are the times when it’s natural to fret and stew about the images you’re currently NOT creating. But natural or not, that inclination has a tendency to stand in front of you, looming, and preventing you from seeing the moments that ARE there. Or that WILL be there, any moment, if we have eyes to see them.

It’s taken me a while, and I re-learn this lesson with each assignment, but the more I embrace the times when nothing is happening, and the more I stop searching for what isn’t there – the more I start seeing what IS there. And that’s the only thing you can photograph.

Jun 21st

2007

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Without The Frame, V

Agra, INDIA. January 2007. I shot this image at the Taj Mahal. It’s one of several hundred I shot there and one of the only ones I like. Shooting an icon like the Taj Mahal is tough. Shooting any icon is difficult, but the building reputed to be the “most photographed building in the world” […]

May 11th

2007

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Without The Frame, IV

I shot this image on my first assignment for World Vision Canada. It hangs large on my office wall and reminds me of a time in my life that will remain a peak in my memory forever. It was shot in Malawi after three days of travelling just to get where I was going. It […]

May 1st

2007

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Without The Frame, III

Varanasi, India, January 2007 This is one of my favourite images. It was taken on a day filled with frustration and in the middle of that day this moment of serenity and joy was injected. Varanasi is one of the holiest cities in India. It sits on the banks of the river Ganges, a holy […]

Apr 22nd

2007

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Without The Frame, II

Ecuador – February 2007. We were staying in Riobamba, spending most of our time somewhere between 12 and 14 thousand feet in altitude. At this altitude the sun burns you even when it’s out of sight for days at a time. On the other side of this image is a bald, sunburned, photographer looking like […]

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