Whilst in Wadi Rum, not only did I sleep out under the open sky, under such an amazingly clear night sky I lost track of the amount of shooting stars I saw, but I also met some fantastic characters.
My heartfelt thanks go to Mohammed, our Bedouin guide and friend, who never failed to remind us to “think of the future”. In his company and rather rambunctiously transported by his old jeep, we explored this vast red desert. We were also lucky enough to share tea and stories with his friends and meet fellow local visitors, happy to spend a few hours in this beautiful place.
It is quite wonderful to see that the desert is still treasured today, by such a broad range of people. That said though, it is sad that the traditional way of life is dying out among Bedouins. It is easy to understand, the modern world offers many more lucrative and glamorous careers than goat herding, not to mention that nomadic lifestyles dwindle wherever capitalism and western values take root. However, perhaps there is some way to combine the best of both worlds. We can ever hope.
I was in Jordan recently and spent a wonderful night in the desert, telling stories and singing songs with bedouins. The desert is called Wadi Rum, which interestingly enough, is also where Lawrence of Arabia lived. If you ever go to Jordan, make sure you visit. It was such an amazing evening!
In terms of image editing, I wanted to keep these pictures quite simple. I wanted the eye to be drawn to the important features in the picture instead of being distracted by details. So I spent most of my time cutting out extraneous details and trying to clarify the story I wanted to tell.
The first of May is always chaos in Berlin. Police get flown in from all parts of Germany to try and control it, but historically this has only ever antagonised this city of wild children. The punks and rebels dressed in black provoke the police, bottles get thrown, police get heavy, the party kids hang just out of the way of the wandering demonstrations, all the while playing music and drinking from make shift drink stands which pop up on every corner. And who can blame them, it is a really fun day as long as you stay out of trouble (or not… if that’s what you’re into) and the weather was beautiful.
As I live in the centre of Kreuzberg, the beating heart of mayhem, it was important for me to get back home before dark. Normally, I don’t have a curfew, especially not one that begins with nightfall. But on this day it’s important as the demonstrators will battle wills, as they do every year, against the police and if I get caught on the wrong side of that picket line chances are strong that I will either get pepper sprayed in the face or I won’t be able to get home. That point was driven home for me as after I got home I looked out of my window to see a battle line of police and furiously barking dogs, refusing to let anyone pass down my street.
Last weekend I went to see some wonderful friends in Copenhagen. Amongst all the chats over coffee and wine, cycling and getting lost, theatre, walks and other general lovely times, we also went out for lunch at the food market on Papierøen (Paper Island).
It’s got a huge selection of food, from pad thai to pulled duck burgers and it’s packed at weekends. So not only can you get your fill of food, it’s also a great spot for people watching. Plus it’s on a tiny island, surrounded by water. Super cute.
I wasn’t originally planning on doing anything black and white with these pictures. But I when I searched google for great (street) photography images, it seems like that’s a pretty popular route to go down. And after playing around a bit, I feel like it really works! All that drama, contrast, chiaroscuro… yum. Almost as good as the food 😉
Generally, the heyday of the capital is considered to be the 1930s to 50s, back when American tourism was in full force and there was big business to be made here. The mafia had a strong hold, gambling was rampant and prostitution rife. Hemingway used to come on regular visits and even bought a house. It was the ‘place to be’ for Americans and other foreign tourists, and they brought their foreign wealth with them which allowed the capital to thrive.
After the 1959 revolution however, a lot of this changed. Not only did tourism decline, but Castro implemented policies which diverted wealth away from the capital and into the rural areas. He gave the rural people better access to healthcare, implemented literacy programs and sought to improve the lives of the common folk, which up to this point had generally been neglected.
However, as tourism and trade declined because of the blockade by the United States, the wealth that had once abounded in Cuba eventually dried up. Because of this, the buildings and architecture which were once so grand, couldn’t be repaired and were left to decay. You can see signs of this in every nook and cranny of the city. The design of many buildings are left as they were before the revolution, subject only to the passage of time.
Naturally these changes were also felt by the people, and as food became more scarce a food rationing system was implemented. Certain things are still hard to come by, for instance as I was there, I was told that milk was only available to children, retirees and tourists (which I suppose had to be bought on the black market). When eggs or other rationed goods became available, you could see large crowds of people waiting to buy as many as they could, just to tide them over until the next time they would become available again.
Graffiti by 2+2=5
Cuba has been a mixed bundle of emotions. From meeting some of the most wonderful and hospitable families I’ve ever met, to having to deal with some of the most overzealous and persistent men, it seems like a country with a huge breadth of human emotions. At the very least, you can say that these people care. They are warm. To a fault 😉
Here are the two photos for me, that best sum up my trip. The first is from Trinidad. There I stayed with a wonderful family, whose little girl had the most beautiful eyes and inquisitive nature. She really loved to play with the camera, (I truly hope to see her photographs in a gallery one day!) and her family were the kindest I met in my entire trip.
The second is from Havana, where I spent what seems like an eternity people watching and exploring the streets. You see so many contradictions there, so many larger than life characters, so many kind people, so many desperate people, so many people just trying to make ends meet. It’s a definite eye opener and more than a little intense at times. The juxtaposition of the dalmatian and the zebra caught my eye and somehow sums up the coexistence of so many different colours, derelict structures and characters.