1978, Ladakh, India
Plate 01, 27x18
These two girls were standing in the courtyard outside Hemis Monastery, the world's highest. When I first saw them, I was touched by the contrast between their simple dress, which was somewhat worn and dusty, and their beautiful olive skin and large dark, questioning eyes - the most beautiful I had ever seen. I asked Nima, my Sherpa, if he would inquire if I might take their picture. The older girl said yes immediately, and the little girl simply smiled. The two girls were holding hands at the time that they agreed to the photo, and I asked that they stand near a low wall. The older girl was so anxious to get on with things that as she turned quickly towards the wall the little girl, unaware and quite a bit shorter, went a full half foot off the ground. After the turn and her return to the firmness of the earth, I remember saying to myself, "I have never seen a more awestruck, inquiring expression in my life."
They moved quickly, yet so effortlessly, they seemed to glide from place to place. You would look away and then look up and see them at the other end of the courtyard. The two girls had a beauty and a grace, an eagerness and an interest that seemed almost magical, that seemed to come silently from the depth of the soul - the outer world being so sparse, so devoid of the material elements that I had always had available to me. They didn't have them from the outside. Even the air had only a fraction of the oxygen in it, compared to my air at sea level. The two girls had a beauty without much help from their environment, which at this altitude was very sparse. The color of their eyes and hair were so vivid as to seem almost iridescent.
Plate 02, 27x18
This photo was taken on my 1983 trek in Bhutan. This small kingdom is removed from our world but beautiful in its natural charm, a wilderness in which a people have blended into the environment, built, altered and amended it in a way that nature was proud to accommodate. The elderly woman in this photo built a very small fire in a corner area of the shrine, either for warmth or as part of the ritual. The shrine was just alongside a path that I also used, so we saw each other a number of times. She was old, a mass of loose wrinkled skin. Her clothes were old and tired. God may have come and gone, yet she waited and waited.
As we met, I spent a little more time each visit - I on the outside, she wedged in near to the stove, covered in suet. Somehow from her features it was not hard to divine the beauty that might have been hers at a younger age, before the harshness of beautiful Bhutan caused wrinkles, stole the exactitude of sight, took away the energy and left her only the promise of salvation, wherever and whenever she arrived at it. I remember her, as I believe you might also, a beautiful young woman from another day, dreaming.
Plate 03, 18x27
The Buddhist calendar calls for many celebrations. Some are done in parades and some in pilgrimages to neighboring villages. Few took notice of me or my camera, but this young man did, though he could not leave the group. He simply acknowledged me by his arm and by looking at me. After this shot was taken and the parade moved past me, he still looked back at me for so long he was almost walking backwards.
The airiness of these affairs was touching - the colors, the music and the musicians, the laughter and the chanting. It was like Mardi Gras in an ancient kingdom. One might glean a view of their society's value system, since these frequent celebrations must be quite disruptive to the routine of their communities.
Some in the West work for accomplishments set down by the society, but it seemed to me that here things were more motivated by the needs and desires of the individual.
Plate 04, 18x27
These youngsters were unique, and the picture does not convey at all what had happened just before the shutter clicked. They were interested in the photo, and they arranged themselves on their own. The two boys who were wearing Keds sneakers took the end positions, I believe, to show their shoes. The boy centered in the back of the group gives such balance to their placement. I was later told that a group of Europeans had come through and had given the boys several gifts, among which were the sneakers.
Bhutan is beautiful, yet very remote. The architecture and the quality of the buildings are unbelievably fine. The way the boys arranged themselves reveals the feeling of harmony and the joy nestled in a rough, tough environment and leads me to reflect on the question, where does our joy and goodness come from, and who gets to keep it?
What part of their inner being allowed them to so set up the shot that it was as well set up as if done by actors at Paramount Studios in Hollywood? Where did the skill come from, for they live in the most remote part of the Earth? They might have felt it, but they would have no way of learning it as a skill.
Plate 05, 18x27
The Himalayas are home to many groups of people. These folks with their reaction were at a small festival, and they seemed happy to be allowed to witness it and to enjoy the small quantity of food provided by those few people that brought the festival.
Was it going out? Was it going to town? Was it going to be seen? For there really was no town and there were almost no other people. Thankfulness and joy must come from an inner space, received by simply being content, by having your “magic moment in the sun.”
1983, Thessaly, Greece
Plate 06, 18x27
The monastery at Mateora represented a world within a world. Access was provided by a basket pulled up by a monk. The monks had their own justice system, hospital and administration. None of what was done or not done was subject to the Greek government at that time. I was allowed to take a picture through an opening in the door of the room containing hundreds and hundreds of human skulls that were set on wooden shelving from floor to ceiling. This underscores just how remote we were. It was a small city complete to the finest detail.
The Greek government has recently required that a narrow causeway be built to a nearby public road. Before this, I am told, the ride up in the basket was an out of this world experience. Some fruits and vegetables were grown, but I did not see any animals. There are few people living there now, but the structures remain as they were. It gave me a feeling of being in a place that no longer fit its destiny. It now seemed so out of place. Yet those that were still there were serious and dynamic, with the energy to keep the place alive. It seemed it might never completely die.
On reflection, I began to wonder about the few young people leaving our world and entering into this world. What was their feeling - one of deliverance or abandonment? What were they finding that the world was overlooking?
Plate 07, 18x27
This large group of monks in a remote monastery in northern Bhutan was vibrant. During my visit there in 1983, they gave me the impression of much activity, a lot going on. People were walking, smiling, and chattering.
About mid-day, almost all of the inhabitants danced in the large enclosed courtyard. Each danced solo, yet in complete harmony with all the other dancers, and the accompanying music was a small group of men playing cymbals. The scene and the sound were of another world. The odd yet pleasant music was from a place beyond our space and time, yet so connected that I was mesmerized both by the sound and the dance.
1988, Khumjung, Nepal
Plate 08, 18x27
Since some of our party wanted some film at this most remote enclave, they paid to have dance and music scenes performed. We computed sometime later that the performers, even though in a place as remote as can be, had requested or required what would be union wages if computed in the cost of living in each society.
After the bargaining and the settling of the compensation, things became more lyrical by far. It all played out in rather small groups. The two players in this photo were augmented by several dance groups and several other two-person musical groups. It was like being at Disneyland, with a number of groups performing at the same time and yet by some miracle not overshadowing one another, each getting his needed space.
Out of curiosity, I tried hard to find out where the elaborate costumes and musical instruments were stored for the harsh winters. They seemed older but in pristine condition as I looked at them closely.
1988, Khumjung, Nepal
Plate 09, 27x18
Thyangboche monastery - an old Nepalese structure that has sheltered many a soul from the weather, from despair, from aloneness - is large and impressive, yet with so much fine detail. Set as if from Shangri-La in James Hilton's book Lost Horizons, it is protected by several mountains. It is accessible and dynamic but also secluded, ever shrouded in a heavy cloud cover. The thrill of taking the picture was the luck of catching the three mountains without total cloud cover. Even partially, and for only a moment in time, the peaks set up the shot. When I looked back a moment later, one of the peaks was already gone from sight.
What was so amazing for me was being with people that were smiling, animated and dynamic in a well-crafted complex of buildings. It seemed to me that this was life - little if anything was missing - and it was capped off with rhythmic, melodic, ever-present chanting. I was feeling far away, but if I were far away, what was I far away
from that did not have its equal right here? All was a work of art — the people, the land, the mountain, the building, the chant, the quiet. One might reach up and touch the very gates of heaven but seldom had the urge to do so.
The magic of being there truly took the picture. I only held the camera.
Plate 10, 27x18
These three monks represent a vastly different world. They chatted warmly with my Sherpa before I took this portrait, and they asked to be allowed to tell my future and my fortune. This might well have been a way to say thank you, although they did not ask for a copy of their picture, perhaps feeling that it would be too much of an imposition. From the whole endeavor, I sensed a keen feeling of both gratitude and sensitivity. Having allowed time for their fortune telling, they chatted again with my Sherpa then retreated into the structure and closed the door. Again, they reappeared and asked once again for permission to tell my fortune, seemingly less than satisfied with the first result. This was done, and a little while later, the same scene occurred and the same request to be allowed a third prediction. Upon their third return, they were buoyant, smiling and most animated, for the gods, it seemed, had given them their wished-for prognostication. Their third reappearance on the porch of the house, they were more jubilant and gleefully conveyed to my Sherpa that I was safe, to be healthy and secure on a very, very long path and that this time they were sure that things were right. We all rejoiced. I was delighted. Though I do not have much faith in predictions, this seemed as a series of three acts of warmth, of love and of affection for a far distant traveler.
1993, Los Angeles, California
Plate 11, 27x18
I met the Dalai Lama twice and found him a man devoted to the well-being of all humanity. He is a man of peace who understands that non-violence is the only path, that violence and conflict lead nowhere — a humble man of majestic stature, a quiet man whose words ring like church bells on a clear day.
1987, Kathmandu, Nepal
Plate 12, 27x18
All the men in this area of Nepal carried these same types of large knives. It seems to be more of a statement than a weapon. They are always visible, and on occasion, I have seen the owner touch it or move it about, but I never saw it drawn. From what I could learn, this is a way of saying that if I am attacked, I can and will fight back.
On the occasion of this photo, the man was just walking along with the boy. We asked if he would allow me to take a picture. What prompted me to ask was that he was typical—his build, his expression, his attitude. He was friendly enough and yet somewhat aloof or distant. All in all, he was somewhat as his mountains—beautiful, friendly, yet distant and rugged.
Plate 13, 27x18
This woodcutter would be up chopping very early each morning. His main task, however, was to locate the appropriate wood. After finding it, he needed to find out who owned the land and try to make a price. If it was on public land or the owner was unknown, this was another story. Perhaps he thought to take the wood with the hope that no one would see what was happening.
To accomplish his task, he ranged over a large and rugged area, carrying his find back to his shop on his back. I asked if he had ever used a donkey, but the language never allowed me a clear answer. I never saw an animal or cart near his place.
The remoteness could almost be felt, it was so cloaked in silence. It seemed you could hear a pin drop a thousand miles away.
His great ax cut the pieces he wanted in various lengths and widths almost by rote, so I would believe from this that his customers had different requirements. This is quite different from East Africa where I saw vast fields of exact-same-size pieces of firewood for sale in neat stacks, one size fits all. Whether he did this work from a feeling that it needed to be done or just to make a living, I do not know. His warm and friendly smile lead me to believe that at least part of his arduous struggle came from a true sense of duty to his community.
1983, Paro Valley, Bhutan
Plate 14, 27x18
There is no unused land in Bhutan, but usage is brought to a new meaning in this wide, beautiful valley. The fields are so close that the boundaries between plots blend into each other, every bit of land used. Peppers by the thousands and thousands are dried and stored on the roofs of the homes and buildings. Roads or paths are almost nonexistent. Better to walk and eat than to ride and go hungry! It seems as if the structures might have been dropped down upon the fields, not vice versa.
To be conscious of our peril is to allow us to survive. For thousands of years, these people have faced defeat and yet have survived on these rugged mountains - no beginning, no end, only endless time and determination. I have always wondered why they were not curious as to what other areas might offer them in terms of a livelihood, of a better or easier path of survival. Traveling any distance away from this home just did not happen.
1987, Central Nepal
Plate 15, 18x27
I stopped at this small oasis on my treks to Gosainkunda. It had a very great attribute in the form of a water pipe that was always open and always flowing, so sleeping there meant water the easy way. Some years ago, a Swiss company built a small cheese factory nearby to help the local economy. I believed that nothing here needed fixing, but the Swiss thought differently. I have sometimes wondered why the Swiss could not have been wise enough to hire some of the Nepalese to come to Switzerland to show them how to enhance their experience in the true richness of life — and leave Nepal as the example. Even after a great fire, started by lightning, the magic remained and the harmony flowed. Here the people did not change course. The cheese factory came and went. The fire came and went. The path of the inhabitants remained intact.
1982, Kashmir, India
Plate 16, 18x27
Compared with the rope merchant who had a vast inventory, Mr. Rashid at his shop in Kashmir was the opposite. He had cheese, some small boxes of crackers and a bit of tea. How he made a living was what I could not understand. Even if he sold his entire inventory each and every day he could not make it. I walked in, but Mr. Rashid seemed less than friendly, so I walked out. But the question went along with me: How do you make a living if you have almost nothing to sell? I walked back for a second try. He allowed me the shot but would not move more towards the middle of the store, nor would he sit or stand more upright. He would not cooperate but just allowed the picture. Yet by allowing the photograph, he was in fact very much cooperating.
1993, Nairobi, Kenya
Plate 17, 18x27
These students were happy, eager and cheerful. They were well dressed and quite well behaved. The school was in a slum area of Kenya, and in talking to this older group, what became quite clear was that all of them wanted to go to school. Partly it was to learn, for they were curious, but also because it was an easier life during the school years-even allowing that the staff at these schools seemed serious and formidable.
As we went along though, something became quite clear. There were almost no jobs available in which a student could use what he or she learned. One young graduate who was an electrician could not get work because there were so few electrical appliances or equipment or electrical lighting, even in the homes. It seemed that when they were laughing and smiling they were also forgetting. There were few smiles during those moments when they realized that the education led to very little improvement in their daily lives. An electrician without electricity, a plumber without water, a bookkeeper without a business - Africa seldom looked at more than a part of its own great picture. Without the larger picture, it was a wheel within a wheel, running in opposing directions.
1993, Nairobi, Kenya
Plate 18, 27x18
Africa is a place of contrast, but it seems quite impossible to see all the parts. The people living in this Kariobangi slum area of Kenya are poor, and their clothing is quite worn and frayed, yet the children always showed up at this school quite tidy and clean. In school the children seemed somewhat behaved, but as we saw them around the neighborhood, they seemed rowdy and loud, and the school clothes were not on display.
Africa is edging away from the indigenous old continent looking towards the Europeans, yet one small step at a time—no large leaps.
1982, Kashmir, India
Plate 19, 27x18
This man had a rope business in Kashmir. I took this picture of him in 1982. Here was a man that seemed to have truly found his destination. I went into his shop to ask if I might take a picture of him with his rope inventory as background. First, he wanted me to see his entire stock, and it was most amazing. It was a vast variety of both new and used rope of every kind and description. He knew each rope and how it would be best used. He was proud, and he was satisfied and wanted very much to share his world with me.
It reminded me of another time south of Paris. I had stopped to buy a bit of local cheese for lunch, and the woman that owned the shop, which contained over 100 different varieties, stopped to tell me their stories - where they came from, the name of the cheese maker, the name of the farmer. Both the French woman and the Kashmir man seemed to have found their dream and with it a contentment.
After we looked over the total rope inventory, he did something that subjects seldom do. It was he, not me, who checked over and over again where he should be placed in the photograph. At first, he placed himself further back in the store more together with his stock, but it was too dark so I asked him to use the spot you see in the picture. It was a great experience of Kashmir, a country that knows neither time nor urgency.
In this remote and ancient kingdom, this merchant knew to have a large inventory, to know the use of each item. Yet where did he learn this, and what urged his curiosity to create this style of business?
1984, Ahmedabad, India
Plate 20, 18x27
There was no ventilation in this textile dye house. I would not like to see this poor fellow's lungs. There was no fresh air, but there were very strong vapors. I had to go outside to clean the lens before the shot could be taken. What was so strange for me was that while I was on the verge of tears for him, he was quite cheerful and accommodating of me. What mystifies me is that it would cost so little for the factory owner to get air into this area and yet did not. It reminds me of the British East India Company that paid a small percentage less to their workers than the workers needed to live, and over time, the British lost it all. Humans may learn, but they learn slowly, very slowly. The factory functioned according to some current standards, as far as what it turned out in a finished product. Of the greatest importance was the skilled labor, yet this was the one item at total neglect.
1993, Delhi, India
Plate 21, 27x18
This little girl in rags was living in a poor slum area of Delhi. We had a full crew at this time in the area doing part of a movie for PBS, so it is possible that she sized up that something was afoot and went quickly to her home and changed into this colorful
dress. I have no way of telling for sure, but I felt more uneasy that she should have this fantasy and then in four or five hours drop back into the grime around her.
Devoid of hope or dream, the area where she lived was chaos, dirt beyond dirt, degradation on a large and ongoing basis. It was so bad that you would think that the people and their government were making an effort to accomplish this horror. In contrast to seeing her in her pretty dress and with her clear olive skin, you wonder what turn of destiny put her here and another child in Paris. What warped god had brought us this scene?
1984, Delhi, India
Plate 22, 18x27
She sat across the village square from where we were filming a documentary for public television. What intrigued me the most was her intense interest in what we were doing. I was sure she had never seen a movie being filmed before, yet she took her seat as we unloaded our gear and stayed the entire scene, including a brief lunch break. She was sitting in exactly the same spot as we left to eat. I could not help but wonder, not at what I was seeing but what she was seeing. After some time, I was so intrigued that I took a small handheld camera and photographed her.
These monkeys are very much on the move, and I had never seen one of them, especially this mature, who would sit and appear to be involved. Her interest in us seemed to transcend what might be their normal behavior.
I always questioned if she was so engrossed with a curiosity about us, why did our group seem to have so little curiosity for her and about her?
1980, Luxor, Egypt
Plate 23, 27x18
We were at Luxor in southern Egypt working with the University of California, who had provided us with a house and a cook. The produce man was Egyptian, but our cook was an American. To pick the produce order she would just point to what she wanted. However, this left the question of payment. To this day, I am not at all sure how they resolved that question.
We would see the produce man about three times each week. He was friendly but intent, and I would have much enjoyed talking to him since we were both merchants. His setting was in a distant land that had fallen behind Europe and America, yet his produce was select and the variety changed, at least partially, on each visit. He seemed to sense when the cook wanted to see him, and his prices were in line enough for her not to have to resort to buying everything that we needed in the local stores. He had all the trappings of a modern day merchant, yet in a thousand year old setting.
1982, Calcutta, India
Plate 24, 18x27
This is a scene of past British power, of days of glory, long gone - the old docks and freight station through which so many of the goods arrived and departed India. Abandoned after the British left, this frontage strip of road is now used by the rickshaw pullers to park their burdens. The shot wrenched me as I imagined the old days when this area must have been the most active and dynamic in the city, with new things coming in from Europe and Indian products going out to pay for them. That was an earlier day, now replaced by a location to park a symbol of a hopeless struggle - a cart to pull for a bit of rice so as to pull the cart another day - no hope, no salvation, no escape other than death.
I used a rickshaw once for about two city blocks to carry camera equipment, and I still remember the gyration of the muscles in the puller's back and how he could change continually his hand grips on the two long side rails. Always in the background of this simple shot is the picture of the busy docks of old, forgotten times, yet her people forever veiled in sweat and tears. I wondered what pushed it up to its glory. What dragged it down to its death?
Plate 25, 18x27
It would take more pictures than there are cameras to convey a picture of India - the old, the new, the necessary and the incidental - that of value, that of none. The boy was involved with some water, the elephant involved with his walk, the cyclist trying to make part of a living and the passenger just trying to fit until he reaches his destination. I do not believe that any of the four was aware that any or all of the others were in the scene.
1984, Ahmedabad, India
Plate 26, 18x27
This lady was sun-drying cloth in Ahmedabad, as it has been done since the days of the Egyptian Pharaohs. The large Korean and Japanese dyeing plants whisk through this same process at a rate as high as ten yards a minute. In watching the woman in the sunlight, she seemed quite content, unbelievably methodical and with an air of satisfaction that was beautiful to see.
She arranged the rows, as much as possible, to pick up the slight breeze. I would believe that the greatest part of her wage was not the money but the feeling of accomplishment in walking among these very high and long rows of hues and colors, to have the feeling of creation. Monet could do no better or might have done the same.
1984, Delhi, India
Plate 27, 18x27
Here in this old house in Delhi one may find some of India's secrets, some of the inner workings of this vast society. There is part of India in this building. No effort that I could see was ever made to repair and preserve it, to make the place more pleasant to live in.
The gloom and despair, the hopelessness and surrender were palpable. It seemed to me on my second visit, when the structure was in far worse shape, that the theme was resignation, karma, destiny, "We receive what we deserve." As the building deteriorated, the tenants simply lowered their standards.
There can be no hope, no effort, no determination either to throw out the English or to move life ahead or have a bright place to live unless the efforts are grounded in the roots of justice and fairness and in the feeling that, "It is due us, since we have earned it." Neither of these things was present. I never really understood why the tenants had not demanded what was due them, even if they could not get it.
Plate 28, 27x18
I have seldom seen a deal made or a contract signed where both parties knew that they had won. This shot was unique - two people, totally content but coming from opposite ends of commerce, one a buyer and the other a seller. The exchange had left them both satisfied, a simple exchange in a moment of time, but dynamic. One had knife, a melon and a pushcart. The other had a thirst and a few coins. What were the two of them involved in that possibly the larger merchants had missed?
1978, Leh, India
Plate 29, 27x18
This lady was the sister of the owner of the estate upon which we camped. The grace, understanding and kindness extended to us had in it a bit of mystery, since they came in contact with so very few strangers. The women wore most of their wealth, partly to protect it, partly to show. They were most anxious for me to photograph them, and since it was a large family, many individual and group pictures were taken. For a time, the courtyard seemed like a part of Warner Brothers' lot.
The lady's relatives stopped to have dinner with us one evening, and one could see a similarity in the number of pieces owned by a number of the women. They were all compatible. They were all graceful. They all seemed joyous at what they had and showed no indication that if another had the same or a similar piece, it was a comedown or an effrontery. It wasn't. It seemed that the similarity in the number of pieces was complementary and enriching of the other. Why not be happy?
Plate 30, 27x18
These places are bulging with despair - the people living beyond hope, beyond fairness, beyond understanding, beyond possibility, beyond justice. Every new day is delivered not in hope, but in hopeless despair. Each day is as the day before - the same - for nothing is allowed to improve. Nothing is allowed to develop or change for the better.
The hate and cruelty is not one race against another race, nor one group against another group. What this picture showed me so vividly that I almost cried was that humans can be horrible to each other within their own group, and it is not limited or guided by color or background. These were all Africans-the people living in the rubble and the people living in the two distant luxury towers. No slavery is as horrible as the kind we do not see. But the person that holds the whip and the person that is beaten both suffer - neither can truly escape.
Plate 31, 18x27
These two girls had been walking and suddenly went under the cart and pulled a little table in front of them. They seemed so happy, as if they had arrived somewhere, yet they simply had each other, the little table and the use of the cart until the carpenter came back for it.
Possibly they had something more — the imagination that they allowed themselves. Things were sparse. It was poor—very poor—but only if they said or believed it was. They seemed to say and act as if it was satisfying - just what they wanted, just what they had searched for. That made it rich, that made it good, that made them happy. In fact, they had arrived at their destination—where there need be no more searching, where Heaven and Earth meet and yield paradise.
1983, Paro Valley, Bhutan
Plate 32, 27x18
These two little boys were quite strange to me at first glance. Unlike most other encounters, there seemed to be almost nothing in common - their dress, the slowness with which they came over to where I was. Even when closer, their only query was the darting glances in their eyes, which very much carried the limited conversations. I mostly wanted the shot because they seemed so uninterested. They did not really pose, but rather slowed down. They showed no curiosity about me, or why I was in their backyard, or taking pictures, or in fact, if they knew what a camera did. It is one of very few times I have been in a far distant place and felt so unnoticed.
For a moment, I wondered what their feelings and possible reaction would be if they found themselves in the United States. Was I not interesting, or were they just not interested? The only note I took was that they lived in a remote setting, not near to a population center or even a crossroad, simply suspended in silence.
I have always been curious about these two boys because I was never able to see or analyze our meeting other than from my value system.
1982, Kashmir, India
Plate 33, 18x27
These friendly non-violent fellows are all over India. Some are eaten, but most get little notice. To see the size of the chain holding these two is to realize how complex India is to understand, even today. Someone nearby suggested that they may have been kept to eat, but how would I explain that there was no water for them near about?
To love India is first to admit that what we love is our illusion of the great country, not what we can break down and try to understand. This photo just seems to confirm that to experience India is a very individual endeavor. There is no rule book, no common standard or yardstick.
1993, Kerala, India
Plate 34, 18x27
These young children had watched me for a while before coming over to see what I was about - a stranger in their remote village. Their hair was wild and unkempt, yet their garments were fairly neat and in good condition. They had been playing across an open field when they noticed me, and I did not have the opportunity to ask them if I might take this picture before I took it. Nevertheless, they seemed to continue towards me, happy enough, and when they finally got within arm's reach, they seemed quite curious about the camera, asking for nothing and seeming to be quite comfortable with the fact that there were three of them and but one of me. The drawback was the language barrier. They could not understand me, and I could not understand them, verbally. However, there were many similarities
to be discovered between them and my own children back home. They were all out for a morning walk. The stick one girl was carrying seemed out of place, but only because my children would have had little occasion for carrying a stick on a morning walk. Yet in this remote environment, these young people evidently found a requirement big enough for them to carry this rather weighty item.
Their hair remained somewhat of a mystery to me. My children made a whole expression in combing and brushing and decorating their hair. These kids went to the other extreme and seemed to deliberately neglect and allow its own wildness. We visited only for a short while, and then they seemed to drift away, not formally bidding goodbye or taking their leave, but rather just moving away almost casually until they had put a fair distance between them and me.
1999, Gundlupet, India
Plate 35, 27x18
I shot this horror scene in Gundlupet, India in 1999. I did not want to take the shot, but I knew I must. I believe it to be wrong to kill anything that lives, so the picture is a great contradiction for me. What struck me, however, was that the man could hardly see. In fact, talking to him and seeing him move, I felt he must have been fully blind. I thought that at least he did not completely see what he was doing. The whole area was a kaleidoscope of different animals at different stages of death. At first, I walked past the shop, but I was called back by the noises, by the smell, by the agonies and the general disharmony. It all seemed wrong, for I could not find a pinch of harmony, of joy in the whole scene. How do we photograph death?
1993, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Plate 36, 27x18
How to be friendly while seeming to be ugly! This was a strange photo. She stayed still, even looked at the camera. She seemed to move only after I took the shot, as a model would. At first, this animal seemed laughable because by our standards, it is stiff and very ugly - no grace, no contour and no redemption - just deep down ugly. Yet, as we both worked to make this picture possible, another form of beauty started emerge. She was friendly. She was patient. She seemed anxious to pose if only she could understand where and for how long. Actually, after the photo was taken and as I walked on, I glanced back, and she still remained in roughly the same position as
during the shot. At the end of it all, I had to wonder if, truly, beauty is even skin deep. At the end of it all, I was willing to simply accept her as another living being.
1993, Ivory Coast
Plate 37, 27x18
It is not so much what this picture represents as what it contradicts and what it illuminates. I realized this when I passed a McDonald's at LAX Airport on my return home. It does not show us what we are used to - so many short order meals, prepared by so many workers; so detached, so captured, so bored and so dead.
This woman was one with her enterprise, and the enterprise was one with her. They knew each other. They helped each other. They made each other possible and worthwhile. Each morning she brought fresh ingredients, new oil, a steady supply of spices, a highly polished cooking pan, and that one magical thing that set it off by itself - a smile as big as life. She was happy because she had an opportunity to create and interact.
McDonald's owned the hamburger. McDonald's sold the hamburger. McDonald's got most of the money for the hamburger. What was shared with the workers was so small it went unnoticed. What McDonald's and Ford gave the people, they also took away - the pride of involvement. Of all the richest, by far, was this lady - the owner and operator of her kingdom.
1982, Kashmir, India
Plate 38, 18x27
Where and how do they buy the shoes, which ones do they reject and why—or do they buy all that come to market? If the people are still alive, how could they sell this one vital Item in a high mountain setting? Their customer might be one in a thousand for size and width, forget about color.
I did not speak the language so got no information for my question. I stayed around trying to learn how it worked and why. At first, I did not take the picture because it was so bewildering to me, but just before leaving, I snapped it. After much time, I choose to believe the customers bought the shoes they needed even if they fit poorly and were not really the color they might have wanted. I was most amazed at finding a volume shoe business in this remote place that seemed to work, though I could not understand how.
1984, Delhi, India
Plate 39, 18x27
India occupies a world of its own. Picture the old method of transport against the new manufacturing. Only India allows this to live in some sort of harmony. India adds and adds but throws out nothing, so it has become a gigantic bowl containing many, many people and many, many things. Nothing is organized, yet all is organized, for it functions enough for a billion people to call it home and refer to it as Mother India. This brings to mind that though they called her mother, her sons dominate, and the women allow and submit. I saw villages with women cracking stones into pieces and hauling them to a cement factory while the men sat. The men thought and thought and then started over and thought again.
1993, Beijing, China
Plate 40, 18x27
In the splendor of the world's most magnificent city, the contrast of the regal and the simple took this picture. This same situation in the photo happened to me once before in Honolulu in the shape of a government sale of surplus equipment. The man next to me bought a $16.00 motor scooter, and I bought a large lot of jackets and made enough money to start in business. Some are touched by the surrounding, by the environment, and others take no notice. The scooter in Honolulu had little value. The bicyclist crossing the Forbidden City with his sticks seemed to have missed the vision of the city. Yet they may have found a direct, intimate fulfillment that so many of us in our haste had missed. l am not sure.
Though both of these people did the opposite of me, I am not sure they did not find as much fulfillment in their lives as I ever did.
1993, Shanghai, China
Plate 41, 18x27
Here outside of Shanghai is the face of the new world - bright, young and attentive, anxious for the opportunity to move. The children were animated to the point they seemed iridescent. Each had a clean little uniform. Everything seemed to function. Everything seemed to move and all in an environment of harmony. It seemed that no child bumped into another child. It seemed that conflict was minimal, and it seemed that the animated smiles were everywhere. Should this be as it appears and should it be all over China, I think one might then say that the future heavily favors China for leadership. How they swept so swiftly to such an advanced society I don't know. Neither do I understand what the motivation was.
Plate 42, 18x27
These young people of Crete were more than part-time dancers. They were threads, ever so strong, that were deeply woven into the tapestry that is the Greek Islands and has been part of it for untold years.
They were graceful. They glided as from above, disciplined and exact in each step, guided by the thousand-year-old need to be Greek, to tell the Greek story over and over from before time began on this island suspended in Paradise.
Crete is a most modern society, and yet this experience was of a very different world, suspended in an azure sea, beyond sound and conflict.
Plate 43, 18x27
What was so strange was the idea of using simple, abundant sand to make a most beautiful garden that could be completely changed, simply by adjusting the grip on the handle of the rake. There was no limit of design or direction of the flow of its beauty. The garden could last for ageless time, or for a single day, with little work or expense to the owner. Value beyond measure, yet of no value at all. Never have I seen so much created from so little, and all this in a most advanced scientific society on Earth.
Plate 44, 18x27
This group of friends had engaged in many archery matches, and though they competed strenuously, smiling, chattering and good fellowship ran through the whole scene. The archery contests in this area were delineated by the age of the contestant. It was a universal sport, but it was more than a sport. It was a binding thread of their community and their social life into a more exquisite tapestry.
On the days of competition, everyone arrived early and showed joviality, warmth and eagerness. The eagerness seemed rooted in the sociability and the competition. It was almost as if they said, "I want to win, but I want to be your friend. I want to exchange." The bows for the older men were long, and as they struck the bow, they did not move a fraction of an inch from one end of the bow to the other. The eye, the grip, the strength was something I have never witnessed before in my life. The celebrating, upon being the best in any given contest, was done in a communal spirit, in a friendly almost neighborly manner, to the point where I am not sure if the defeated got less than the victors.
1993, Beijing, China
Plate 45, 27x18
This is the most beautiful city in China, and I believe, in the world. The structures are built exquisitely. The detail and materials are superb. What adds so much to this is the layout of the entire large complex. Every item fits with the others and each enriches the other. The inlay work of the mother of pearl in the ceiling of one house was remarkable. The screens and panels spread over so many of the buildings meant that the rulers had a grand and expansive view of themselves and their powers.
The modern Chinese seem to care little for environmental issues, however. Just a bit beyond the great wall of the city, they have built a large smelting mill. The air is so bad and the contrast so great. How can this magic city exist next to the contamination of the steel mill? The Forbidden City was a world beyond, a world within a world, floating in timeless space, far above and beyond this present reality.
1993, Shanghai, China
Plate 46, 18x27
It was a very overcast morning in China, and this pagoda just seemed to materialize through the mist. The walkers appeared on the left and disappeared to the right. The scene seemed to defy time or place. Before time began, man set his foot on an endless task, in ever enlarging circles, to touch the entire Earth's surface—a journey that would never end. And the search became his life, and his life became the search. The destination was the search itself.
1987, Kathmandu, Nepal
Plate 47, 18x27
In Nepal in 1987 I came upon this harvest. What brought magic to this shot was the apparent rhythm with which they accomplished their task and made it appear effortless. Another note need be taken. Where usually only women are involved, the men were very much involved. Winter survival at this altitude is almost completely dependent on these crops. If they don't grow, if they are not stored properly, there is no government to fill in. As to the neighbors, they have the same demands, so to take from them solves nothing. Up here every stroke, every sack is life itself.
1980, Luxor, Egypt
Plate 48, 18x27
In 1980 I was working in Luxor, southern Egypt. We lived on the West Bank, which had this little dock for our ferry. One evening as I returned from going over to the city, I saw this shipment of the most beautiful tomatoes, and mesmerized, I had to take this picture. They were a picture by both color and composition. How the hot dry bleached desert could yield this fruit I still do not fully understand. Even with irrigation from the Nile, it seemed that the yield exceeded the environment. What also made the shot was the design of the crate, built with very little material to do a very large job — a study in conservation, in beauty and in function in an ancient land. I have often wondered how they learned to produce and ship these crops.
1999, Ooty, India
Plate 49, 18x27
The Toda people living in Tamil Nadu treated us with much kindness during our stay. I would believe them to be the most gentle and caring group of people I have ever known. One afternoon several of them loaded into an old station wagon and asked if I would like to come along, so I did. What they did was unbelievable. They went to the two larger hotels in town and pulled into the back by the restaurant kitchen door. With the cook's help, they loaded three large containers of good food from yesterday's production. The same repeated at the other hotel, but we received only two cartons and a large basket of still-good fruits. This was all prearranged and happened every Tuesday and had been going on for years.
On Wednesday they set up a large table in the open, just off the main central square, and all those in need were welcome to eat, to talk, to be recognized, to again be made to feel human. "You may be poor, you may be down, but you are still one of us." This is a confirmation of the heart and soul of a people. The three people serving the poor each Wednesday were the town dentist, the head doctor at the local hospital, and a most beautiful young lady, the dentist's assistant. What gripped me in seeing the Wednesday meal was more than the eatable food served. Conversation was served, hope was served, wisdom was served, and a feeling of recognition was served. I have never before or since seen the rich and very poor get on more harmoniously. It was almost as if each fed the other. The scene seemed to say no rich, no poor, just people. What is better in a society than its ability to heal itself, to make itself grow?
Plate 50, 18x27
Usually these sweet, gentle monsters travel in large, long, single file groups and almost always are arranged in the order of age. This mother and newborn were roaming about on their own at the time. The baby was most anxious for the shade that the mother provided from the hot sunshine on her still somewhat delicate skin. She also seemed so very reassured as to her food supply, since to nurse she had only to turn slightly backwards.
The mother was somewhat unique, in that she did not seem that upset at not being in the group but was more preoccupied with her baby. I wonder if nursing took the place of some of the natural eagerness to be in the group with fifteen to twenty relatives and friends.
Plate 51, 27x18
This Israeli soldier told so much of the story. Bound by duty to his country, in need of the nurturing of his music, and seeing no conflict between the two, he brought them both. The finest of armies somewhat agreed and did not rebuff it at this time. This might be a step towards allowing combat to become obsolete and resolving conflict on the strings of a guitar.
Plate 52, 18x27
Tastes and customs may differ, but life is universal. We all have the same but in our own very personal way. This was holding her baby and balancing it with her fingertips, the baby holding its mother with its fingertips. Each appeared to have found a perfect place with the other.
I stayed in the hut for a bit of time. They watched me. They smiled. They made sounds that I really did not understand, but they seemed happy; poor, underprivileged, lacking our toys, lacking our studies, but finding what they wanted and what they needed and sharing it. I believe that is the feel of the natural world. Their needs were met - food. water, shelter, love. Do we need more on any scale?
1999, Ooty, India
Plate 53, 27x18
A walk together, mother and child - harmony, balance, contentment. The baby was not that heavy, but it put the parent somewhat off balance, which I could sense as she moved in her leaps. Yet her grace told a story of being where she most wanted to be - holding her baby and being held by her. All of life has so much in common - to be fed, to be loved, to be understood. All else in the life experience is a variable of the simple few basics.
1983, Paro, Bhutan
Plate 54, 27x18
The access to this "other world" was a fourteen-inch wide path from the middle left of the picture. It was secluded and difficult. There was silence, majesty, awe, but mostly mystery. There was art, there was construction skill, there was a feeling of security, but at the same time, I felt so alone. No one engaged. No one assisted. No one took note. Each and everyone was on a personal search and wanted to keep his path in view. To truly see the earth is to see it from above, looking down, not up. Bhutan gathered so much magic together in this exquisite setting - timeless, repetitive, yet ever so satisfying.
1993, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Plate 55, 18x27
What pushed me to take this shot was that the scene was so unexpected. It was so very colorful but presented the question as to how they kept the clothes separated. How did each owner know his goods? If he knew as he or she started, how did they know at the end of the wash? I noticed that some of the people would walk about and leave their original spot. How they found it again, I could not say; to each his skill, to each his experience, to each to learn that which was required to survive.
1993, Amboseli, Kenya
Plate 56, 18x27
These large and gentle creatures seemed to space themselves about in the shallow waters so that they could feed and bathe but had no inclination to get too close to their neighbor's province. There was no pushing, no pulling, no evaluating the other creature's arena. They showed respect and consideration by simply being good and sensitive neighbors. This not only went for the water buffalo but also went for the other smaller animals and birds in this idyllic scene of absolute harmony, tranquility, contentment and unbelievable beauty. The afternoon sun shed a golden hue on the whole scene.
One might question man's hostility and aggressiveness in relation to his frequent comment about wild beasts. I have never witnessed a scene on Wall Street as civilized as the hours I spent mesmerized in this picture of harmony as conveyed by nature through her wild beasts. If they are wild, my stockbroker is insane. What motivated these animals and yet denied man this righteous path - that pushed man on the path towards his own destruction?
Plate 57, 27x18
These dancers in a remote village of Nepal danced during the year, but I could not find exactly for what purpose. The costumes were magnificent and intricate beyond belief, each to its own theme. I noticed no two alike.
The only music was two pairs of cymbals, which kept the beat quite well. This afternoon was the first time I saw men dance or interplay with the women. The great impact on me was that it all took place in a large open field and the colorful and mysterious dancers seemed to float over the landscape, much as a ship on the sea.
Plate 58, 27x18
This beautiful giraffe is surely a beauty of which Africa might be most proud. Here she is, the most beautiful lady in Africa - charming, graceful and built to perfection. All of her was cloaked in an innocence possibly born of not being close to any human mischief. No one had hurt her or made her afraid, so several times she came up very close to me, within arm's length. She came so close I could touch her. She would move her lips to within a few inches of my face as if to whisper some message. The shot does not fully show the closeness that held us for at least fifteen minutes, with neither of us anxious to move away.
I have seen beautiful women. I have even photographed some gorgeous beyond belief. So much of a woman's beauty I find in her eyes. I have never seen eyes on any female that were more beautiful. As I later departed Africa and all its adventures, one of the most outstanding moments of it all was standing in that forest glade with this lady - perfection in beauty, in contentment and in her attitude towards me.
1987, Kathmandu, Nepal
Plate 59, 18x27
There is no place on Earth that so surely depends on its crops for their very life as do Nepal and Bhutan. During the harsh winters, without a store of rice and grains, would not survive. No help is available, so there must be a harvest, large or small, or life might well end. Migration would seem to be an option, and yet many of these villages seem to have been here before time began, and unable or unwilling to move, they remain with the harshness, the beauty and the silence.
1997, Kerala, India
Plate 60, 27x18
I did this shot in Kerala, in southern India. The skills of the people are quite amazing. These two friendly and cheerful woodcutters were making lengthwise cuts of a twenty-two foot tree. They allowed me to see some of the boards they cut, and I could not believe that they had not been cut at a sawmill. The thickness hardly varied from end to end, and they used a seven-foot handsaw, while one cutter was actually balanced on the log that they were cutting. Low tech tools-high tech men. Who is to say where such skill is found and from where it comes - for this, in this world, is truly genius.
1997, Kerala, India
Plate 61, 27x18
This graceful old boat just loomed up in front of me and seemed, by its antiquated grace and the blackness of its sun-drenched hull, to reach towards the heavens from a blue lake with filtered white clouds on a blue sky, the green vegetation far beyond green. The villagers here had fished in these wooden boats from ancient days and were complaining of the diminished catch that the fishermen were experiencing. Yet they continued to fish, for there was no other ready source of protein. So these fishermen, with little fish to catch, still took an array of beautifully designed and exquisitely constructed fishing boats of various lengths and manned by various sized crews out into the Indian Ocean, day after day and year after year after year.
Plate 62, 18x27
This fellow seems startling, powerful and very unique in this picture, mainly because he is the subject. Actually, many of these eight to nine foot crocodiles are quite common and not that out of sight in this part of Africa.
I will never really know for sure if he would have liked to be friends, or even that we might get to know each other a little bit. When he first saw me, he seemed to focus on me and my camera. He just stopped and seemed to study. He did not move away or even move around. He was not perfectly still, but he remained. He almost seemed content. He almost seemed interested.
1980, Luxor, Egypt
Plate 63, 27x18
Before time began the Nile flowed, and people used the great river to move produce and themselves from place to place. The main problem is that there is very little wind to move even the small boats. So long, long ago the people developed a type of sail, still in use today, which can be set down almost to the surface of the great river to pick up the slightest breeze, and the boats move. A thousand years ago, the people that sailed the Nile River developed this very unique design for the sails on their ships. Here was a very, very efficient design—to use every gram of wind.
1982, Kashmir, India
Plate 64, 18x27
I had been living on a houseboat on Dal Lake, in a rare remote world of enchantment, yet also of commerce. This picture is of harvesting the seaweed at dawn. To this day, I cannot say that the camera picked up more than part of that scene, for it was dynamic. It was motion, yet it was stillness. It was sound, yet it was silence. It was of spirit, yet it was of commerce. It somehow reminded me of going very early to Wall Street during winter in New York. It also was mystery and commerce dancing with each other.
1987, Gerlache Straits, Antarctica
Plate 65, 18x27
In 1987 I ventured to Antarctica and sailed on an Argentine navy ship through the Gerlache Straits into a land suspended in space, quiet, majesty; dynamic, silent, yet thundering in its power. The whiteness of the endless snows contrasted and danced with the deep perfect blueness of the waters. On occasion, there was a black sand beach between the blue sea and the white snow. You would be sure that Matisse had been here.
It was of such unbelievable, believable beauty that you felt it was not really there—but it is. There are in the Antarctic region different dynamics. There is silence that thunders, whiteness that defies white, blue that defies blue, vastness that feels intimate. The American outpost was overstocked with everything American. The Russian and Polish outpost was growing large red tomatoes in a hot house. And so it went in this silent land of enchantment.
1987, Antarctic Peninsula
Plate 66, 18x27
These perfect beings are able to swim fifteen hundred miles and land exactly on their target — all the guidance, all the instruments within themselves. They are able to give birth to their young in sub-zero temperatures and in winds that made me put a wool mask over my entire face. They are non-violent They do not attack other groups. They do not eat relatives.
All of the babies look exactly the same, and how the parents keep track of them I found a great mystery. On one rather dark day that was very windy, a baby became lost from its parents. As they realized the loss, they went out to find the little one, and within half an hour, they had retrieved it from a thousand babies, each looking the same. The local people suggest they do it by smell. Each baby smells different. What skills these penguins have: all natural, all non-violent, all to such perfection.
1987, Paradise Bay, Antarctica
Plate 67, 27x18
Man does not always react calmly and objectively to the long, long, dark silent nights of winter in Antarctica. The man that lived in this beautiful bright red cabin seems to have intentionally burned it down one winter. The one in the photo is the rebuild, not the original. Two other houses were burned but not rebuilt. Of them only the stone foundation remains. The long nights are arduous. One cannot move forward and cannot move backwards. You are just stuck with the darkness and its questions and most of all yourself.
1978, Ladakh, India
Plate 68, 18x27
The people at this high altitude seemed to do many of the things I did at home. There was a road between the tiny village and the series of stupas, and the people would walk, sometimes with their children. They only walked, and quite often there was more than one person.
What I found strange was that for the effort, they seemed not to do much. They brought little backfrom the village and on some trips never entered the stupas but sat outside. Yet in this land beyond sound, they all seemed to have found contentment. All had found harmony in a land beyond time.
It almost seemed that they had found happiness in the silent beauty, while we need to find possible the same happiness in sound.
Plate 69, 18x27
The Jains are absolutely non-violent - no aggression, no killing in any form - yet they are industrious and most accomplished. Their total number is less than ten million people. A Jain industrialist told me at dinner that the savings they enjoyed by not fighting, by not supporting violence, by negotiating, by compromise is used to push their business forward. "It is not that we have more than others. It is that we use it differently."
1988, London, England
Plate 70, 27x18
This is such a clear and permanent glimpse of the history of this great, great city. The lower third of the picture is the 1700s, the middle is the 1800s and the upper the 1900s. The beauty and the harmony set an environment that allows inquiry, search and exploration, as in few cities I have visited. Here one feels comfortable, safe, within a wealth of wisdom, a vast trove of history, as though yesterday never stopped but continues today, and I am sure, into tomorrows yet unborn.
1997, Kerala, India
Plate 71, 18x27
There are scenes upon this earth that are beyond words, and there are scenes upon this earth that I believe to be beyond picture — the camera itself being incapable of capturing what it sees. Such was the case in southern India seeing the gigantic net fishing done just before twilight. This method of fishing started in China and dates back some 2000 years. The nets are as thin and fine as a vapor and are stretched over unbelievably long polls. The whole assembly is raised, and as it goes up, it spreads out as if it were some gigantic prehistoric dragonfly, then it is dropped onto the surface of the waters and allowed to sink. The length of time that it is allowed under water is the exclusive domain of the fisherman. At an exact moment, the net is literally yanked away from the water and a great spray goes skyward in every direction, capturing the beauty and the colors.
When I first came upon this scene, I could not believe that something so commercial could at the same time be so breathtakingly beautiful. No picture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Louvre has ever better shown beauty as I saw it on that river in southern India—true magic in the twilight.
1993, Shanghai, China
Plate 72, 18x27
Along this Chinese river there were many merchant ships, and none seemed more weighed down with cargo than the one in the photo. He had not only the deck cargo, but he had also lashed a large group of logs to the side of the vessel, which made it drift a bit from its course. The eating and sleeping area was closely surrounded by logs.
The one revealing thing about the logs was the size. In Canada or the United States we would not cut such small trees, but I assume they needed them now, since tomorrow is not here yet — so, off to the sawmill. The man and his wife seemed pleasant but intense and enjoyed a small but efficient living space among the logs on the deck. I wondered from where he had brought the logs and in what form they would end up.
1978, Srinagar, India
Plate 73, 18x27
This Kashmir neighborhood of Dal Lake was unique because of the way they used the lake. So very, very many boats were used not to travel from here to over there, but rather to live on, to store merchandise, to sell and deliver things to customers. Either the customers came to the appropriate boat by inquiry or seeing the displays, or the boat went out to find the customer. I became curious as to why some stayed and why some moved about, and although I got a number of answers, I would believe it was mostly the attitude of the owner of the business.
This boat population seemed to lead reasonably complete lives. One evening, friends from another boat came over to our boat to visit and stayed for dinner. We had rented our boat as they had theirs. At the end of the stay, we paid a bit extra to our landlord - who had also become our cook. More exciting than his cooking, which was fairly good, was to go shopping with him. Since the boat was large and always rented out, he was a good customer. Most of the merchants sailed by and yelled or made noises so that he would notice them and order what he needed. When he needed an item and the merchant did not have it, he would fetch it sometimes. At other times, he would give the order to another merchant friend, and they would take it out to our boat. Dal Lake, Kashmir is a world unto itself.
1993, Beijing, China
Plate 74, 27x18
On this small river these two people traded town-to-town, city-to-city, to buy, to sell, to pick-up, to deliver, at a profit or at a loss, but always they were their own people, their own boss. They held little power, but what they had seemed so sweet.
1996, Santorini, Greece
Plate 75, 18x27
Santorini is one foot south of heaven, floating in an azure sea, beyond the constricts of time. Nothing pushes, nothing pulls, nothing urges and nothing judges. Life is as it was meant to be. I was prompted to take the shot only to make the point that there are no real barriers, only those we dream up. The gate divided nothing, for both sides were equally inviting.
1993, Amboseli, Kenya
Plate 76, 18x27
The magic of this scene was that it seemed as if nature had taken her very large hand and arbitrarily scattered a number of these beautiful flamingos on what now appears to be a loosely woven tapestry. There was a beauty both of color and motion, added to which was the gentle fragrance of Africa. Though they moved about, they seemed to move in their own circle, in their own sphere. They seemed not to bump into each other or push their neighbor for added ground. It was a most kind and gentle scene, one that I shall never forget. If there is a heaven, part of it must be as beautiful as this scene in Kenya.
Plate 77, 18x27
These two birds had separated themselves from the others in the flock, and they seemed only to be interested in enjoying this scene. They showed no haste, nor any apprehension at being by themselves. I still wonder if they were able to see their reflections in the shallow water. They seemed to me to be in a dream, beyond fear and seemingly without concern for the isolation that they brought on themselves by carelessness or by intent.
1982, Kashmir, India
Plate 78, 27x18
I passed two of these strong, devoted men trekking this frozen, unyielding earth in search of a bit of firewood, which they then cut and brought back to sell. I was never sure how much of the motivation for this cruel life was for making a living, and what part was devotion to their little group, their little village.
1999, Kerala, India
Plate 79, 27x18
Elephants are, again, a curiosity of India. This shot was taken in the eastern part of Kerala in an Indian national park set up for the protection of animals. The poaching in these preserves tells the story. With animals, India thinks and talks one way and lives in a totally different way. These great, gentle fellows did much work for India over many centuries. Most of the payback is a bullet in the head. Part of the work that had been done by the elephant is now done by machine, and yet a narrow meadow, a stream, a tree or two might be a more appropriate place for this gentle
friend of India to be retired.
I wonder the judgment of human and animal if nature would judge and not man; man organizing to kill and the animals eager only to live. Auschwitz was not about killing to eat. No animal brings forth an organized group with the sole and only task of imposing death on another group, much less his own group. Only humans have cast their nets so low.
The chain was to keep the elephant right there. Without the chain, they would wander and fall victim to poachers. This way it seems the killing of the gentle vegetarians was more organized, more efficient. In this sense, the chain did not do long term harm.
Plate 80, 18x27
This beautiful lady was so attentive and focused for so long I almost thought her an old friend. Being so close and spending extra time with her got me a reprimand from one of the Argentine sailors, who warned me that she had the capacity to kill a person with a simple flip of her large tail. If she reaches you, she may easily break your back. I immediately backed up, since I had wanted to pet her.
If there ever was a universal mother I would believe she was it.
1991, Dublin, Ireland
Plate 81, 27x18
Ireland is Ireland because it is Ireland, and the magic is so much of the uniqueness of this place. I found a spontaneity the likes of which I have never found anywhere else in the world. This young lady was setting up for a performance with several other young actors and actresses at a large party given by the Kodak Company for over a hundred Dublin schoolchildren. The motivation for this acting, this entertaining, this spreading of joy was their feeling for their country and for its people. Compensation or reward was not in the form of money but as participation, as a great singer sings, a great sculptor sculpts, a great painter paints.
They went from area to area. They went dressed in different costumes and bringing different music, but always they went, and when one looked carefully enough, one found beautiful threads of color, sound, love, understanding and communication woven by these folks into the very soul of Ireland.
1988, London, England
Plate 82, 27x18
Only England produces such an awesome collection of conflict. When I walked into the library, I was sure that I had stepped into another world - so many books and each so very accessible. Come one, come all and partake of man's great treasure, his memory. Yet, the conflict is that few actually had entered and read at the library.
Around the corner from this library, Karl Marx once lived in a small second floor walk-up apartment where he saw his daughter suffer sickness and malnutrition and die in central London for lack of a bit of charity. So the British build and add glory to the vision of empire, but few were allowed in to witness a book, and a little girl died for lack of pennies for treatment.
1980, Luxor, Egypt
Plate 83, 18x27
I was not able to meet and talk to anyone that ever seemed to understand Egypt, and this station seemed to beg the question. It was quite hot, and yet I just stood for some time trying to decide if I should take the picture; for it would answer nothing but add much to the questions of why Egypt is the way it is. On the train north from Luxor to Cairo, my second class car was so full of large hungry flies that one rail employee, seeing my fight for survival, took one great whack at the whole swarm using a large folder and then went to retrieve a newspaper from some prior wedge of history, which he gave to me to help me fight my battle. There was no cooling, no water or toilet paper, no vision of the countryside because of the dirt on the windows. The last time the windows were washed or even dusted might well have been prior to the arrival of the British.
Our day trip arrived several hours late, to be greeted by the smiling and jubilant Cairo crew. As I pulled myself off the train, I commented to one of the crew members that it seemed odd to have been this many hours off the time of arrival. Even if they just guessed at the arrival time, they should be a bit closer than this! This happy fellow replied with his bit of wisdom that I would have had to spend the time someplace or other, and whether on the train or in the city of Cairo, it was the same time. I felt no better, but I thought back on the picture and the question became even more confusing. Did they need a grand station, and if so was it the first priority? Of all the parts of the trip, the least amount of time I spent was to pick up the ticket and board the train. So most of the help goes where it is least needed, and Egypt goes forever on its own path.
1997, Indore, India
Plate 84, 27x18
The Jains are a non-violent, highly skilled group of over 7 million mostly living in India. This temple tells much of these wonderful people. The services are all performed by Jain lay people - all equal, no leader, no high priest, just their actual community members. How better to transmit wisdom than through each other? After the ceremony the members, not servants, did all of the cleanup and rearranging. There was a simple beauty to seeing a group of proud people doing what they felt needed to be done. The meal that followed was wonderful and contained no meat or animal products, but it did contain herbs and spices and much warmth, love, and understanding.
1980, Luxor, Egypt
Plate 85, 27x18
Here in this vast and quiet land, Egypt held closely some moments of history as clear today as if they were just created. This small tomb was simple but beautiful. It had many dimensions, yet each fit with the other. All were used wisely to make up its completeness. It was exciting. Thousands of years old, it seemed as if it had just been built to fill a very current need.
1993, Kerala, India
Plate 86, 18x27
These fishermen have been here in southern India since time began. Each year fewer fish, each year more effort. The boats are crude and most simple but adequate to the task. Therefore, they allow the fisherman a joy and contentment that comes from the realization that each boat was able to do its task. Each little vessel was the greatest thing afloat because it worked perfectly. The only revelation for me was the reluctance of the fishermen to consider some other work, to do anything else but fish to support themselves and their families.