November 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

In the summer of 2007, I met Cosette; an auspicious child, who is full of curiosity and life. Her poses are her own, as I did very little to direct her.  In between the moments of photographing her, she would often become jealous at the moment I stopped paying attention to her, and I started to photograph someone else.  She would subtly protest her displeasure of me photographing anyone but her: by looking through my camera bag, playing with my equipment, and photographing me as I was photographing other members of her family.

The light was harsh and not easy to contend with during these summer days, and the idea of returning at a later time did strike me on more than one occasion, yet it is not always an option for one reason or another.  The light, like Cosette’s personality, would seldom cooperate when you would like it to.  Despite these little nuances of uncooperative light and personalities, the best place for me to photograph her was between the door well of her home; where I had a little more control of the light, the shadows and the contrast, and a more confined space for her personality.  She spent more than an hour standing there, waiting, as I was waiting for that unexplainable movement of a slight gesture exposing a moment of her personality.

Since then, I have photographed her every year, watching her grow, change, and becoming older.  These changes are evident in the images, over the past two years, and this past year she has had corrective surgery of her spine that was twisting her body out of shape.  According to her doctors, the operation was a success, which has left Cosette in a lot pain.  Despite this though, Cosette, at times, is still herself by expressing her displeasure when I photograph anyone else.



November 15, 2009 § Leave a comment


Stumbling along the streets in Havana, carrying a 4×5 Speed Graphic on a tripod from one corner of their tightly, claustrophobic streets to the next, and blank stares of confusion. I was considered to be an oddity, transporting not only the camera, but all the miscellaneous photo-related equipment that is needed. I would often stop, set down the tripod placing it in front of the scene that I was only hoping to photograph, yet, to find, only moments later, my scene would not wait for me to be photographed. Often left in disappointment, moving on until another scene would unfold, setting my camera down once again, yet only to be disappointed once more. I would spend my days walking the streets, occasionally stopping to rest on the stoop of a step, looking at all the wonderful moments unfolding before my eyes, but discouraged by the speed of time these moments would unfold. After my rest, I once again gained consciousness to move forward looking for more scenes to possibly photograph. I walked by this complex of three boys playing-one boy was playing with a pair of homemade stilts made out of wood and rusty nails. I placed my tripod down once again, yet to be told they did not want their photograph to be taken. I packed up my equipment, yet again to walk in between the buildings that crumble and hold their breath, while looking for other moments to capture on film. Halfway down the block, the man-sitting in the top left corner of this image-with his broken english and my broken spanish, invited me back to photograph him, and the three boys. Elated, I jumped at the opportunity, holding back my enthusiasm, and setting down my tripod and camera once more. The three boys, including the one with stilts, were climbing up and down the stairs, and running around as if I weren’t there. The minute I was ready, the magic happened, all three boys and the man, who chased me halfway down the block, all sat down, without direction. I exposed two plates, before I realized all the other film holders I had pre-loaded for the day, have already been used. I then realized that these would be the only two exposures that I would be able to create of this moment. The first exposed plate went well with only a slight concern of the image being underexposed. The movement in this image, the second exposed plate, is a result from using a slow shutter speed, the people moving, and me bumping the camera. Once I processed the film and made my contact sheets, this image turned out to be the more interesting of the two. The rest of that evening was spent cooling off, and eating chinese in the Barrio de Chino District of Havana, before returning to my casa particular. On subsequent journeys, I have wondered the same streets looking for this complex, yet it seems to have vanished only to exist for this one moment, this one photograph.

Hotel Riviera

November 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

Hotel Riveria

My days of photographing had been long, walking the dusty, polluted streets with smells I couldn’t even recognize. Besides the heat and the sun beating down upon my soul, it was cooking all the left over items on the pavement. It had been days since I rested and experienced anything normal-a normal meal, a normal bottle of water, a normal bed. I had come down with another illness, nothing serious, but serious enough to wipe me out, and not having the motivation to photograph my normal scenes, avenues, or boulevards. My friend Arien even noticed I was different today, in the heat, not like times before. He suggested we rest that day, asking him where, he suggested the Hotel Riviera to relax by the pool; a large open space caught between a 1950’s postcard of the old Las Vegas strip, juxtaposed to 1970’s or 80’s Soviet architecture, and the Caribbean Sea on the other side. Drifting in and out of delirium, I was often confused by my surroundings, and kept asking Arien where we were. Maybe it was the heat, maybe the water I drank, or maybe the Soviet architecture; perhaps the combination of these things. After napping, and few dips in the pool, I came to senses once again, and able to photograph. This is one of a few images created that day. A peaceful, restful day, an oases of sorts, away from the garbage baking on the streets, and the roasting of unidentifiable odors.



November 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

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November 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

From The Project "Spirited-Away"

2009 Copyright Thomas Robinson

As I was waiting to receive my permits to travel to Eastern Tibet, I was told I was allowed to travel to Namtso Lake in Western Tibet. The Drive was difficult as we kept ascending in altitude. The evening we arrived, became a night of hell as the altitude sickness wreaked havoc on my body, dogs barking near the tent, and a snow storm, which caused the temperatures to plummet. The next day the ground was dusted in a light layer of snow, but quickly melted. I was still suffering from the altitude sickness and laying in bed for most of the day. By mid-afternoon, I finally felt better to walk around to photograph. I spent the better portion of the afternoon photographing before I came upon this scene. Originally, the horses were in completely different area of the lake; as I kept setting down my camera and tripod, the horses would change their position. Eventually, they relocated to this location in front of the prayer flags, and at the same time, a little ray of light pierced through the storm clouds allowing this exposure to happen. I exposed two frames, then the horses and the light went away.


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