September 19, 2009 § 1 Comment
It has almost been six months since my last update, and as I mentioned in my last post, I was hoping to find more time to be able to update my blog on a regular basis. Where does the time go? I think it has to be one of those tasks, where you simply schedule yourself, to update your blog as part of your weekly routine; where you pick a day, once a week, to sit down, log into your blog, and discover something to write about. This is sometimes daunting task, especially for me, as the fear of not having anything to say, or anything of relevance or of real significance, begins to set in. So, here is my second attempt, maybe my third, or fourth ( I have lost count) of stating to myself that I am going to update my blog on a regular basis.
Since my last post, six months ago, I have had some incredible experiences, especially photographically. I spent a few weeks traveling once again to Mexico and the Caribbean, which is never an easy task. My flights are usually leaving in the middle night, arriving at 5 AM, taking an hour or more to pass through customs, six hour layovers until my next flight, and sometimes more connecting flights prior to reaching my final destination. Once arriving at the last airport, waiting for my luggage, passing through the final checkpoint, only to be detained at the airport, in small room, with two custom officials, for an additional two hours, searching through all of my luggage, and asking why I brought so many cameras, and so much film?
Despite these frustrations, my days of photographing, are always days of bliss, my playground of sorts, yet the harsh realities, set before my lens, are difficult to swallow at times. I see many familiar faces, and always greeted with open arms, hugs and kisses, yet the disparity for some is a difficult life, despite their smiles and their warmth. I have been photographing some of these people now for three years, becoming apart of their summer days, as our time brings conversations over coffee, while catching up with each others lives. The last days of my trip are always the most difficult though-walking around the neighborhoods, saying my goodbyes, and always being asked when I will return-it is because of them that I do return.
Recently, I have been involved in many projects, all at once, mostly in the organization of all of my negative files, processing film, printing in the darkroom, and now, because of a friend from college, through his kindness and generosity, he is helping me to scan my negatives every Sunday. We started this monumental task last week, and will continue until every last negative is scanned. The image posted above was our first test. It took nearly three hours just to get our first scan, as we were trying to figure out how to configure our computers, update the old software, and scan the images accordingly.
The image above was taken in 2005, while driving to the Sierra Maestra mountains in Cuba. I was traveling across the Island with my friend, Wilson, who I met that year. We spent three weeks driving from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, then to Baracoa, back to the Santiago, then to the Sierra Maestra Mountains, and then a 13 hour drive back to Havana. We were lost many times, driving in complete darkness, and being eaten alive by the mosquitoes. There was even fear of having to sleep, sitting upright, in the car, just because we couldn’t see the road. Our persistence of wanting to sleep in a room with air conditioning, two comfortable beds, and being free of insect bites was enough motivation for us to continue driving. Eventually, we arrived to the cities we were searching for, but not without long days of driving, stopping to photograph, and becoming lost. This is one of those images that I not only stopped to photograph, but where the film survived the heat, searches of our car, x-ray machines through the airports, and years of just sitting in the darkroom waiting to be processed. Often times the story behind the photograph is more about the journey; the people you meet, the hospitality you encounter, and the friendships that you establish.
One final note, I am delighted to be posting again, and recently discovered that there are three people following my blog. I did not realize this until this evening. So, I would like to thank those three people who are following this blog, despite my long postings, which gives me more motivation, to update it more often.