Short Elegy for Anafi

Short Elegy for Anafi

 

The wind strikes the hillsides mercilessly and all the boats at the tiny port resemble carved pebbles. Late in the afternoon, a steep road pushes the travelers towards Chora, and as the sun sets behind the village, one can only see an outline: electricity pillars, TV antennas and a cluster of houses in front of the orange sky. It is a settlement stretching oblongly on the top of the island, resembling dice bestrewed after the only game played under that sky once upon a time. Hills swallowing one another wrapped with dry stacks – and down below, the sea.

A stripe of barren land amidst the sea: this is Anafi. A dozen Saints supervise the island from their churches, scattered guardhouses made by whitewash with a lonely window to the Aegean Sea. In the taverns of Chora, which in fact are just homes with welcoming courtyards, the talk of the locals always leads to some Saint who helped them in times of need. A woman is narrating how she survived while swimming: behind the high waves she saw the church of Agioi Anargiroi. If she could escape death that day, she promised to celebrate a liturgy. Tonight, she is narrating that story again, with her hands crossed tight upon her chest.

All those locals staring at the horizon narrate past stories about the waves and simultaneously observe the travelers. The elderly women, dressed in black, banish their mourning by looking at the linen clothes of the vacationers; their outfits betray middle-class salaries and a complicated life. All you need to say is “hello” in order to make the local heads turn the other way, and then one is free to cross the narrow alleys without being observed anymore. This word seems more than enough to eradicate the label of Stranger, in the exact same way the smoke of the slow boat that carried the same Stranger to Anafi is vanishing: like a doctrine that dies.

*

It doesn’t take that much time to get used to that settlement on the top of the rock and the initial indulgence soon transforms to insouciance. It is liberating to climb the stairs between walls that do not oppress you and at the same time act like a shelter from the howling wind. Up here, the trade is still in its archaic version and the feeling of being broke or petty is not a misfortune but a chance to gain access to whatever remains from life if you subtract all the norms: the sea, the soil and the bushes, with their peppery scent, stand there like an unripened summer.

At Klisidi, a broad beach full of tamarisk trees, an occasional crowd takes a breather next to the stormy sea. The bodies that got shaped through gyms and weight control prefer to lay down complacently ashore, their feet digging holes in the sand. All this life of maintenance and preservation has dried the sense of danger within them and the only ones swimming are the middle-aged, faces that have no illusions of perfection to lose. The desire to exist prevails against the desire to lessen the risk.

By contrast to the pretentious Santorini, the tacky trend of the sun-bed is non-existent here. One brings tomatoes, cheese and a bottle of water and tries to settle in beneath the tamarisk trees. You then have all the time in the world to see the sun following its orbit, to imagine the waves crashing at the Monolith, to observe the ants running in the hot sand, and to feel grateful for the breeze that visits the beach every now and then and cools down the salted skin. The rough sea bursts on the peaceful landscape, exactly as a man bursts when smothering from injustice. But, alas, you must know how to endure this prehuman rage: you don’t need berms against the sea. 

*

The curves of the white houses imitate the curves of the landscape. Those suspicious roofs have seen people migrating to distant cities and never return. The roofs know that a hundred and fifty heads will sleep there during the winter, people who won’t have the courage to leave the house when the wind will howl without mercy. They will expect a last dosage of hope from the boat that appears only twice a week, like a lost frame from a Visconti movie. It is the resurgence of the moral that keeps them alive though, not the supplies that the boat unloads.

All those hills that the old bus is daily traversing on a slow speed isolate Chora from the rest of the island. The rattlesnake roads seem to push away the Monolith, which stands all alone on the edge, with a monastery on top. One can gaze from the butte two islands with vivid names, Pachia and Makra, both of them always being the first to taste the weather’s mood. The hikers on the way to the Monolith look at each other with some sort of complicity. None is revealing his secret, none succumbs to the temptation of sharing his life with a stranger he met on the way to endlessness.

Like dots on an arid landscape, people hike towards the white rock as if they are sailing on a sea of traumas.

*

Later in the evening, the lanky girls sit on the pavement of the little square and the locals stare at their wet hair. It is a spot that the alley broadens and seems to be demarcated by the two mini-markets of the island. The men sit on the chairs of the coffeehouse and listen to the girls’ laughter for a while, before they once again sink into their talk about daily life. They talk about hunting, share thoughts about council tax, as well as ideas on how the water will reach the fields. They contemplate the future of the island’s accommodation facilities. They light cigarettes, they blow their smoke and, when the only thing left from them is the filter, they stub them out on the ashtray with fingers made of steel. They have already forgotten the girls in their summer clothes, and they are so engaged in their talk that they fail to remember a basic rule: in the ashtrays of Anafi there always rests a wet napkin, so that the ashes won’t disperse.

It’s not the people that let the night fall, but the square itself. The nights in Anafi have been identical for centuries: a luminous piping on the top of a rock and beneath it an unfathomable darkness. The talks seem to be recorded by a stenographer who’s using his last chalk. But humidity erases the words, and when the sun rises, no one remembers last night’s promises. This ritual is repeated continuously, without interruption, every night. Yet, the day that one embarks on the morning boat, he will see Anafi for one last time. Up there, on the top of the rock, Chora appears like a white, shaky line. It is, of course, drawn by chalk.

‘Tis a Jolly Grryo Christmas

‘Tis a Jolly Grryo Christmas

What does a Grryo Christmas look like? We asked each member of the Grryo Lead team to share their heartfelt experiences…

Romina’s story

For me, so much about the Christmas season is about the sacredness of time. As soon as December arrives, I am hit with an avalanche of farewell dinners, end-of-year concerts and school functions, all while manically trying to buy gifts for family and friends. Time speeds up, it would seem, and I often feel breathless from the sheer momentum of it all.

Time…

As I say goodbye to colleagues, watch my children graduate to a new school year and write cards to loved ones, I subconsciously whisper my thanks and farewell to the year that’s passed and to everything that has been.

And then, finally, time slows down again, as the rush draws to a close. I savour the gifts of cooking, chatting and laughing with family and friends before I turn my eyes to the time that lays ahead: a brand new beginning brimming with possibility.

Susanne’s story

I cherish all the light that Christmas brings to the darkest of the months.

When days are short and nights are long, we fill December with stars and candles. And then darkness no longer feels like an enemy.

Christmas means time spent with the family. We sleep longer, close our laptops and phones, bake gingerbread cookies, play board games and relish traditional Christmas food. My kids, especially the younger one, are looking forward to meeting Father Christmas again on the 24th, Christmas Eve. Father Christmas lives in Northern Finland, in Lapland, in a place called Korvatunturi (Ear Fell in English), where he has his secret toy and gift workshop.

Antonia’s story

In December my world is dark with city lights and rain. Christmas means too much office coffee and the sound of the city’s traffic on wet streets. It’s the time of the year when I am all caught up in my job while days are short and daylight is sparse. It produces a feeling of abstraction, like being a detached island in a sea of hectic gift buying, baking, cooking, traveling and doing all things Christmassy. I enjoy watching the circus and love to dip a toe in when I join the merry masses at Christmas markets and dinners with friends and colleagues.

city lights day light @tonivisual

When daylight is the city lights, and tires on wet concrete is the soundtrack. @tonivisual

Out there we fight the darkness with lights and sugar. The cities wear their Christmas markets like a scratchy, favorite winter garment. Renditions of jingle bells fill the air and the smell of Glühwein (hot spiced wine), anise, roasted almonds and melted chocolate lingers wherever you go.

Girls's night out on Christmas markets @tonivisual

Girls’s night out on Christmas markets @tonivisual

It even seeps down into the catacombs of the subway stations where commuters are joined by herds of shoppers and people dragging their live Christmas trees up the escalators.

On Christmas eve, I leave my island and join my family for cooking goose, the big Christmas tree with real wax candles and cozy nights with board games by the fire.

lone man in the subway station by @tonivisual

“lone man in the subway station” – the feeling when the season’s circus is all around but you’re not in it yet. @tonivisual

Tommy’s story

Every Christmas is different. Family changes. People grow older. Children grow up. A wedding takes place as two lives become one. A grandson will experience his first Christmas. My fourth Christmas with Grryo will be my last.

Every Christmas is the same. Family gathers. Friends share the joys of the past year while at the same time we always find something new to celebrate. We all experience some childlike wonder even though our hair starts to gray. And the richness of story, which is the core of Grryo’s purpose, stays with us always.

Merry Christmas!

George’s story

Around the Christmas table, I try to remember what have I lost and what have I gained during the past year. I tend to get extremely bored in family dinners and given the melancholy of the days I’m usually the one searching for excuses in order not to attend -the excuses always fail and I eventually attend the dinner. I avoid shooting photos with a camera or a smartphone and I only take instant photos with a Fuji Instax. The prints find their way straight into a box and I check them again after weeks or even months. There is a certain weight in religious celebrations that I am always unwilling to carry. The only fun thing is setting some goals for the coming year. There is usually an overload of goals and usually around February they vanish into thin air. I can’t give you any good advice regarding setting goals, but if I had to, I’d just say set a single goal for 2018 and try to achieve half of it; this seems already enough.

@exil_et_royaume

Berlin, 2017 @exil_et_royaume

Try to spend some quality time with your beloved ones. Even in the most boring dinners, there might be a sentence that will change you a bit. Use it as a chance to remember a day that for some reason everybody seems to appreciate. And remember your last year’s dinner and compare who was around and who might be absent. I am usually more happy about past year’s dinners than the coming ones. I remember the faces, the family table, the food. Last year it was the last Christmas dinner with the grandma; she won’t attend any of the future ones. Drink some wine, appreciate the presence of people and their presents too. And get slightly bored: this seems to me as the last shelter of creativity.

@exil_et_royaume

Berlin, 2017 @exil_et_royaume

Simran’s story

The word ‘Christmas’ fills our minds with snow, winter, Christmas decorations, joyful carols and various savored baked goodies. As it isn’t very Christmassy spirit on my side of the world, I choose to count my blessings as the festive season approaches and the year ends. Every year brings its challenges but we make the choice of whether we want to complain or appreciate our moments. Gratitude allows us to live in the present moment and continue to see the light by moving forward.

Borobudur Sunrise by @simranvues

Borobudur Sunrise @simranvues

It has been a good year for us at Grryo. We have started to grow slowly but surely with beautiful stories that keep us amazed at the huge talent that exists. As we share our Christmas stories at Grryo, where all of us live in various parts of the world, we celebrate it by making use of the digital world. It is remarkable what technology can do when used productively.

Colourful Christmas Decor by @simranvues

Colourful Christmas Decor @simranvues

The connections and relationships we have weaved together at Grryo, have made us feel like a family even if we have never met one another. I truly appreciate and value each one of them. It has been a great pleasure building friendships with all of them. Let us cheer for the jolly season and be hopeful for the blessings in the coming year ahead!

Sleek Architecture by @simranvues

Sleek Architecture @simranvues

The Grryo team would like to sincerely thank you for making 2017 a great year of stories shared! Whether you wrote stories or read them – or both! – a very big thank you for your continuous, amazing support. We wish you safe and happy holidays. Looking forward to more of your wonderful stories in 2018!

The Storytellers Vol. 16

The Storytellers Vol. 16

We feature a photo prompt each week in our Instagram account and ask our audience to share their stories to accompany the image.

 

We would love for you to join us and share what each photo says to you. In November we focused on wonderful photos by talented artists with stories that our followers contributed. So come and browse through this digest and let the stories move you to join us each week in December!

 

Photographer: aSa
Storyteller: @5luckydogsandabird

The staging area for the families was not supposed to look like the circus, or a street fair. But urgency won out over practicality as those still awaiting word of their loved ones fate needed a place away from the mayhem and the unceasing prying eyes of the press. Franklin Watson stood apart from the small groups made up of families talking in whispers to each other; quiet sobbing amongst the grandmothers. His grandchildren Evy and Martin had been in Sunday School.

Photographer: @samppa_kurjenpuu
Storyteller: Laura

They smiled, but to themselves only, because they knew one day they’d get their revenge, and revenge was sweet. But for now they parted ways as if strangers, no one the wiser to their scheme.

Photographer: Cedric
Storyteller: @dmreidmd

This is it!! I am never, ever, doing e-harmony again! She’s not coming, I know it. And all these other people know what’s up too. Jeez, how mortifying and how stupid! But she seemed real. We both liked bamboo, both of us lived with our relatives. She said she was ‘biggish’ which was no problem for me. There was some chemistry, I could feel it! Or not. She’s not showing, so maybe not. Oh well, I’m outta here. Probably dodged a bullet anyway. And next time, I’m not wearing this stupid backpack! Correction, there won’t be a next time!

Photographer: @drunadlerphotography
Text: @5luckydogsandbird

Seriously, Sheila, what’s with the side eye?

 

Newcastle Noir by Titika Røtkjær

Newcastle Noir by Titika Røtkjær

It was the dark season.
Days melted into nights:
We had to shine for each other.
Walking around late, I wanted to go home, when I saw him:
Reading a book under a street lamp.

Did he see me?
He closed the book and walked away.
The light followed him.
I followed him too.
And as he passed a bench, he dropped the book onto it.

Gifts and messages may arrive in unexpected forms, I thought,
and snatched the book, put it in my bag,
and went after him.

I nearly lost him. I ran. I stopped. I turned a corner.
There he was: heading for the river.
The River Tyne glistened and whispered with a cold breath.
I listened and stared into the surface.
It moved patiently.

He suddenly slowed down.
I looked up. I felt dizzy.
The earth tilted.
Secret songs from the universe
drowned the night in silence.

The light he radiated cracked the shadows, and expelled the darkness.
Sometimes far, sometimes close, he played with distance,
as if he was showing me that it was not real.

He stopped and stared directly at me,
everything around us became bright and peaceful.
Then: he disappeared!
I may have blinked? But I cannot explain.

The night overwhelmed me with clear sharp silence and frozen beauty.
No one in sight, no loneliness either:
A soft, yet intense energy lifted me.
All the past was gone
– except its beauty.
Nothing was left
– except a blessing.

I went home. The book.
My hands were shaking, and a letter fell from under its cover:

“Dear T.
Of course you would notice the man with the strange light.
And, my love, even though it was late and the town was empty
on your way back, you must have felt it:
We do not walk alone.
Yours, M.”

Pas de deux, part 2 by Christian Mondot

Pas de deux, part 2 by Christian Mondot

This is the second part of two articles re-assuming a relationship based on reciprocal admiration and a long conversation about the need for photography.

 

This story begins with two photographers: the first one, Christian, a Frenchman  living in Arcachon, a little town on the Ocean, 70 km away from Bordeaux. The second one, Valeria, an Italian living in Milan.

They have met by chance in the virtual land of an app called Instagram in 2013, and for the last four years they have been sharing their thoughts about photography through two other apps called Viber and Kik. They have never met in the real world until now, though they have been planning to do that sooner or later. As they share not only a love for photography but also the fact they don’t like talking about their personal work, they have decided to write about one another.

(Within dance the expression pas de deux refers to the number of dancers, men and/or women, performing together a sequence of a ballet or choreography.)

**********

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

My first time on Instagram was not that easy. Despite the kindness and the attention that every photographer seemed to pay to one another, the thought of facing the look of a huge community was embarrassing to me. So I quit. Then I came back and, as far as I can remember, Valeria Cammareri’s black and white work (@_soulkitchen_) was part of the work that just kind of helped me stay for good. Some weird, soft and hypnotizing charm coming out of the street moods and indoor shots attracted me.

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

And even today, though Valeria is too humble to agree with me, when I try to figure out how to define this peculiar charm, this silent evidence of talent, the only word coming to my mind is art. That is consequently why reading about Valeria’s work will probably lead you to find a new definition for the expression “writing a story” – or at least to reconsider it.

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

It’s not only because of her keen eye, which usually captures special moods and moments. It’s not only because she knows so much about people, their feelings, and could easily “write” about them with a camera. And it’s not only because this hypersensitive woman refuses to be considered an artist. It’s mainly because she will not accept or be easily satisfied with the other story she wants to tell you – the one that has been anonymously surrounding the shot. You have to follow Valeria’s invitation to the path.

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

This means you have to write your own story about it, about what you see and feel, and the way you see and feel it. And maybe the door will open at the end of the path. But there is more. Even when the first noticeable thing about her work is that quiet talent for composition that shows up in all of her shots, the evidence of a question appears and remains. Art is asking questions.

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Loneliness, people, fading or temporary situations, women, and urban life look like her daily companions on her inspiring journey. And I like to go along, knowing I will follow an invisible thread, surrounded by emotions and amazed by the composition, the shadows and the shapes.

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Should the answer lie somewhere between language and photography? Behind this hidden game with the viewer? Whatever. I’m not afraid to say I admire Valeria’s work. I do like the idea of feeling like I’m somehow part of the light, somehow part of the mood inside the shot. As if I could hear something coming out of it. Music, once more. Do not some silences sound like familiar music sometimes?

There is no search for perfection here. No taste for showing off any technical ability. No need for any reference to a big name in photography or quoting anyone to justify her work : Valeria knows exactly where she stands.

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

I have also been amazed by her use of color. There, again, don’t go looking for any imitation or sophistication – you would be disappointed. Once more photography is used as a means of translation for the chosen instant.  Another kind of language, somewhere beyond the sound of words. You are back on the path. Picture after picture, Valeria keeps you close to her, the invisible passenger, as life flows on. Somewhere beside reality.

 

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

This photograph (one my favorites, definitely) is a genuine example of Valeria’s ambiguous game between reality and life. The shape of a woman’s body shared with her own shadow. The closed door that both hides and reveals just a few touches of her shape. The balance of our mind. Where does real life stand? Here/There. A suggested beauty, an unwanted sensual pose within a so-close/so-far effect that strikes the eye.

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Looking at her pictures may also make you realize how much time or remembrance can both lose their significance. As if they did not have any influence upon your thoughts. You will let your mind enter the image, just the way she lets things pass her by, without again considering reality but letting it write its own parallel slow story.

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

So if time does not matter, duration, past or future, whether it is vintage colored or black and white, instants are quite valuable to her. Any instant has its own nature. It is just the eye that knows how to catch it that makes the difference, creating situations, inventing moods. Maybe that is the reason why every time I wander through her feed on Instagram, I am just expecting to find something new. And why I do find it every time.

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Her stunning game with light and space has always been something noticeable to me since I discovered her amazing work back in 2013. As in the picture above, driving us to some place beside the place with a man in a room, reflecting in a mirror and looking at a new place from what must be a window. Life is a frame.

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Part of her work features static situations. More exactly unknown people or friends but generally posing, either sitting or standing. I know she rather shoots isolated persons or will crop the image to focus on one person alone. But I also know how much she enjoys “stolen” moments, shooting as she walks along the city streets.

I love the way she shoots women, definitely. With this real sensation of being close to the situation, part of it, but without disturbing, tip-toeing. I have always been fascinated by the expression of the loneliness appearing through some of her pictures. Human condition and life, or beside life, again.

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Photo by Valeria Cammareri

Unobtrusive and quite invisible, Valeria catches situations in their very essence. Just as if they were the multiple and various parts of a unique secret. And suddenly our everyday life becomes a vehicle on which she is the passenger. Silently capturing the daily journey with her eye, simply showing what we did not notice but was there actually, just beside us.

Just sit away from any noisy mood, like you usually do to enjoy reading your favorite book, and let yourself slowly drift away. Soon you will be writing your own story from her images.

Christian’s work has been published in Shooter magazine, Art of Mob blog, and received honorable mention at the Mobile Photography Awards in 2013 and 2016. Christian says, “I’m not a photographer. I’m only an artist working with sounds, light and words. As a child, I started composing music, playing with a camera and writing. Some kind of compulsive practices, based on my relationship with the idea of time, remain and are related to my inner space, between light and shadow.”

You can find Christian’s work on Instagram and on his website.

For more of Valeria’s work, visit Instagram.

 

 

How to Succeed in Smartphone Photography Competitions

How to Succeed in Smartphone Photography Competitions

An Interview with Brendan Ó Sé

The Mobile Photography Awards are currently receiving submissions for their 7th annual competition. The iPhone Photography Awards have a call for entries through March of 2018 and the Mira Mobile Prize winner was recently awarded for 2017. These are just a few of the photography competitions available for smartphone photographers throughout the world. When other contests are added, locally and globally, then photo enthusiasts shooting with smartphones have numerous opportunities to submit their creative work for an opportunity to rise to the top.

In the past few years I’ve submitted my own work to these and other contests, on a local and global scale. I’ve experienced the rush of having pieces selected as winners and honorable mentions and the disappointment of rejection. I wondered, as I prepared my entries for yet another contest, if I could gain some insight from someone who has experienced these competitions from two different perspectives. Brendan Ó Sé immediately came to mind, so I caught up with him to see if he would offer a couple of thoughts. An interview ensued which I’m gladly passing on to you.

A word about Brendan before we begin. He is a highly recognized photographer throughout the world with top photos in all of the aforementioned competitions and many more. Brendan was part of the original Apple World Gallery of images shot on the iPhone 6 in 2015. His photography was showcased on billboards and posters in major cities around the world. He has also served on the juror panel of the Mobile Photo Awards and will enjoy that role yet again this year. For readers to gain a greater understanding of his talents I will be including a link to his website and social media connections at the conclusion of this interview.

Apple World Gallery – Brendan Ó Sé

Brendan, I want to thank you for this opportunity. Will you briefly describe your involvement in mobile photography contests?

I’ve been a judge on a number of them now over the past few years. It’s great to be on the other side of things after previously being an entrant. I guess having been fortunate enough to have won in the major mobile photography competitions (MPAs, iPhone Photography Awards and Mira Mobile Prize), the organizers invited me to judge in these competitions. It’s been a great experience, and also one that comes with responsibility to ensure the best images get the recognition they deserve.

Brendan Ó Sé

Would there be any advantage to try to guess what a certain juror is looking for and submit photos according to his/her tastes?

From my own experience I know how hard it is to put together a series of images to enter a competition. The selecting part is easy. The hard part is deselecting. The thing about the MPAs is that Dan Berman (founder) assigns categories randomly to judges. So, it is very unlikely that I would get the Street Photography category. Also, speaking personally – though I am sure it is the same for most judges – I would be hesitant to select an image which people might feel was very similar to my own style of photography, unless it was a stellar shot that could not be ignored.

I probably will repeat myself in this interview, but I really believe you’ve got to go with your instinct on these things and not be guided by what you think judges might like. I know I have entered competitions thinking a particular judge likes a particular style, and entering accordingly. It never works out.

Brendan Ó Sé

How important is the storytelling aspect of submitted photos in contests?

Photos are springboards for stories. Strong images will connect in a way that the viewer can enter the image and allow his or her imagination to build on what is presented.

How does composition figure into selecting a photo for submission?

Hugely. A technically perfect photograph cannot compensate for a poor composition, but conversely a dynamic and engaging composition can overcome technical flaws. For me, photography is always about composition, story and the moment.

Brendan Ó Sé

How daring should a photographer be when it comes to originality? Should all caution be thrown to the wind or is it good to exercise discipline according to the “rules” of photography?

I am not really one for rules. Rules can stymie creativity. Again it comes back to trusting yourself. If you are an experimental photographer and entering the MPAs, there are categories there just for you, like Digital Art/Photo Illustration, Visual Effects and The Darkness.

I think it is a good idea to check the winning shots in the different categories from previous years to get an idea of the types of images that can fit.

Brendan Ó Sé

What do you find are the most common mistakes people make when entering smartphone photography competitions?

Well, the biggest mistake, one which surprisingly does happen, is to enter an image that is not shot and edited on a smartphone.

Other mistakes would be when you have three killer shots of the same person or the same location, but they are all in essence just variations of the same. Don’t enter the three. You are diluting your chances, as all three will not be selected.

Take some time to check previous winning shots in the different categories to see if your shot is a match in type. Often entrants will post photos that just do not fit the category. In saying that, I must commend Dan for ensuring high-quality images entered in the wrong category do not get looked over.

Brendan Ó Sé

Do you believe it is helpful to get second opinions about what to enter?

Definitely, but ultimately you’ve got to trust yourself.  

Brendan Ó Sé

So let’s say I go to someone for confirmation about my photo selection. Who would you recommend I seek out?

I have a couple of people who I would trust. My wife is probably the best judge. A simple nod or shake of the head does it for me with her. I would say to reach out to a photographer friend who will be honest with you, but ultimately go with your guts and enter what you feel are your best shots.

Brendan Ó Sé

Brendan, you’ve been extremely helpful. To finish up, if there is one most important tip you could give someone entering a smartphone photography contest, what would it be?

Prepare for disappointment. You probably are not going to win. I know that sounds harsh, but it is the truth.

But here’s the thing. If you enter a competition, you want to win. You want all others to come after you. There is no other motivation. When you don’t win, you can feel despondent. You examine your work. You hold it up to that of the winners. You cast an overly-critical eye on it and wonder where the hell you are going in your photographic journey. But, this feeling passes. And it passes because the endeavour, the hobby, the passion you have for it cannot be diminished by the choices of a judge or judges. No, the passion, the desire to show what you see and to show how you see it surfaces and you get out and you shoot again. And you enjoy it. You get back to looking at others’ photos and they inspire you and the whole things kicks off again. You want to learn. You want to sharpen and sensitise that eye to see better. And you begin to dream that next time will be your time. You’ll win.

I guess what I am saying is competitions are great if you do well, but they sure do suck if you don’t. Photography should not be a competitive pursuit.

My advice to anyone entering a competition, be it photography or not, is to always get back to why you do it. You will find that the answer is because it’s fun. If it’s not, then give up. Find another hobby.

Brendan, I want to thank you for giving us all a better idea of how we can remain passionate about our smartphone photography and remain focused on what is important at the same time. I know I’ve certainly learned so much from you in this interview and I’m sure many others have as well.

Learn more about Brendan through his website and following his social media on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Tommy Wallace is a smartphone photographer based in central Arkansas with life experiences branching as far as the Pacific Island of Guam. Locally he photographs the people and places of Arkansas and participates in photo competitions close to home as well as internationally. Follow his insights on smartphone photography through his SmartPhotos Blog where this interview first appeared.

Love Turns to Rust

Love Turns to Rust

My love for photography turned to rust, quite literally, on April 6, 2014.

I remember the moment well. It was mid-morning on a frosty Sunday and I was standing on a muddy driveway that led toward McLean’s Auto Wreckers in Rockwood, Ontario, about an hour northwest of Toronto. McLean’s has become somewhat of a Mecca for photographers who can’t get enough of that perfect blend of light and rust.

This was my first intentional photo shoot – an initial attempt to create a series of images based on a singular subject. It was also the first time I had ventured out with a group of fellow photographers I didn’t even know.

Given it was April, the hectares of automotive carcasses I was about to immerse myself in were still knee-deep in snow. The challenges didn’t stop there. It was also a brilliant sunny day that made for tough light conditions for even the most experienced shooter.

The group started walking through the fields and I couldn’t wait to see what I would find.

I didn’t have to walk far to discover this adorable robotic creature keeping watch over an old construction tractor. I thought I heard it say, “Go ahead, I dare ya, take your best shot!”

I couldn’t resist. All of its majestic pipes, rubber tubes, lights and peeling paint made me rise to the challenge. I was rewarded with a comical, quizzical look through its myopic eye. Beauty can be strange, and the strange can be beautiful.

I couldn’t walk ten feet without finding another tempting scene. This lengthy old trailer, when framed in this manner, reminded me of a giant caterpillar slinking its way through the frozen fields. Its iridescent yellows and oranges seemed to go on forever in harmony with its prevalent brown rust.

The magic of McLean’s was beginning to reveal itself. And I, the naïve, awestruck participant, couldn’t wait to discover what other painterly pleasures lay in wait.

And then…a fire truck. Every man-child’s dream!

All shiny chrome and faded red with its control levers and hose attachments intact. I must have shot nearly every angle I could of this beauty. Rusty and worn, but sitting there extremely proud of its glory days of fighting fires and saving lives. It knew it was the real hero of the junkyard and I knew I had to preserve, through my lens, its heroic gifts.

I trekked for a while through a small grove of cedar trees. When I emerged out the other side, I came upon a field full of VW carcasses. I found a gutted Beetle that, immediately upon seeing it, took me back to when I was 16 years old and learning to drive in my mother’s 1963 VW Beetle. I recalled with fondness the graphic on the slide-out ashtray that helped me immensely as a new driver because it showed you the correct placement of the stick shift for each of the forward gears and reverse.

Junkyards, like photographs, are full of magnificent memories. Seeing, smelling and touching this “old folks’ wagon” took me right back to driving up north on the highway on a warm summer’s day, listening, for the very first time, to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety on the 8-track player I had installed in our Beetle. And then I shivered as I remembered scraping the layer of wintery frost from the inside of the windshield that would build up while driving home after a day of downhill skiing!

The irony for me in finding this Beetle lay in the fact that the year stamped on the Ontario license plate was 1973, the same year I was 16 years old and experiencing all these distant memories. Coincidence? Perhaps. I like to believe it was fate.

Mother Nature shows herself as a powerful creative force when she sets her mind to working on man-made objects of steel coated in layers of paint. She’s a true artist. Her medium is rust. Her palette is the rainbow.

It may take her years to complete, but if you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of her work along the way, it can have a profound effect on your soul.

Which brings me to my favourite shot of that day in the junkyard. The back left taillight of this utility trailer, surrounded by an irresistible exhibition of colour and corrosion. I like to believe that I came upon this particular work by Mother Nature at its peak; the peeling yellow and blue paint, the streaking orange stains, the all-knowing, all-seeing red lens framed by rusty pockmarked steel. Painterly perfection! Incidentally, this image was the very first photography that I sold in a gallery. It may have had my name on it, but Mother Nature gets all the credit.

 

A Night with the Queens by Shamik Ganguly

A Night with the Queens by Shamik Ganguly

A look into the Latino LGBT nightlife of Queens, New York City

Queens is often called the “World’s Borough.” It truly is one of the most culturally diverse urban areas of the world, and Jackson Heights may very well be its heart.

Step off the Roosevelt Avenue subway stop and you will immediately be greeted by taco stalls, ethnic grocery stores, a smattering of Tibetan/Himalayan/Asian food joints, and a whole host of Latino eateries catering to a diverse mix of people from all across South America. This stretch of Roosevelt Avenue is also home to a thriving and vibrant Latino LGBT community.

The recent political climate in the U.S. and events like the one in Orlando have shoved some of the issues of the LGBT community into our national conversation. This is especially true for the transgender community – bathroom laws, acceptance in military, gender identity – you name it…every aspect of their identity has been politicized. A recent Huffington Post article highlights over 100 Anti LGBT bills pending at the state level.

Photo by Sandy Gennrich

Photo by Shamik Ganguly

All this media attention has also had some positive effect. More people are talking about LGBT issues today than perhaps ever before. Shows like Amazon’s excellent Transparent would have been unthinkable a few years ago. It has also made folks like me, who has had very little to no interaction with the transgender community, more curious about learning about their struggles. A recent, most excellent, heart-wrenching and powerful episode of HBO’s Vice “Trans Youth,” really opened my eyes to the issue of Transgender rights and their struggles. I strongly urge anyone interested to watch this episode where Vice correspondent Gianna Toboni provides an intimate look into their lives.

Photo by Shamik Ganguly

Colombian photographer Joana Toro has been documenting the vibrant Latino queer community in New York for years, and over time she has cultivated personal friendships with many of its members. So, when she offered to take a few of us to experience the nightlife, I jumped on it.

Being straight and having never been to a gay bar, let alone a gay nightclub, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Frankly, I was a little nervous about the whole thing. The evening started with three of us having a late but sumptuous dinner of steamed Momos and Thenthuk at a Tibetan restaurant before meeting up with Joana. After dinner, Sandy, Susan and I met up with Joana who took us on a mini walk of Roosevelt Avenue. It was getting close to midnight on a Sunday night and the vibe and energy on this stretch of Roosevelt Avenue was just starting to pick up. Music streamed out of the many bars and clubs that dot this diverse neighborhood. People lined up for late-night tacos. The occasional drunk stumbled by. The corner grocery store was still serving customers even though it was past midnight. We passed a pair of dressed-up Trans women ready to start the night’s festivities, while the girl on the corner was still working the streets.

Photo by Shamik Ganguly

To get into the spirit of the evening, we stopped at a bar for a drink and listened to a Colombian jazz band play some amazing music. We were told by Joana that we had a surprise coming. The club we were about to visit had a Miss Colombia Beauty Contest planned for the night and we were in for a treat. As we headed into the nightclub, I realized how underdressed I was – jeans, sneakers and a casual shirt with a big camera hanging around my neck.

Photo by Sandy Gennrich

Inside, it was a different world. The Latin dance music was blistering loud. Strobes flashed and the smoke machine created shadows that danced on their own. Bare chested bartenders served Corona Extra in buckets with their hair gelled to almost ‘Chihuly Glass’ perfection. Everyone had their sexy on. As the clock pushed closer to 1 am, the scene picked up with a few people taking to the dance floor, some couples more intimate than others. Some of the clientele gave us curious, amused looks. I realized all three of us were a minority here.

Photo by Sandy Gennrich

A little past one in the morning, I suddenly noticed heads turning towards the entrance of the club. The queens had started to make their way into the club. It was a sight like none I had experienced before. Surreal.

Photo by Sandy Gennrich

The parade of beauty contestants filed in and took their time with the finishing touches. Lipstick applied to the light of a mobile phone while others crowded (or hogged) the bathrooms. I never thought that the party would just be starting up if I showed up at 1 o’clock in the morning, on a Sunday night.

Photo by Sandy Gennrich

The contest kicked off with all the contestants coming forward, gleaming from head to toe in sparkling, skin-tight gowns, decked in stiletto heels, and with make-up and hair (or wigs) so remarkable for their perfection. Each contestant wore a sash with the name of a city in Colombia. This Miss Colombia Beauty Contest is like no other beauty contest in the world. The winner isn’t picked based on popular vote, or on some criteria of beauty. No, this contest’s winner is decided differently. The emcee for the night introduced the contest and started the elimination round quickly by drawing a ping pong ball out of a bag bearing the name of a city in Colombia that matched a name on a sash. The poor soul who’s city/sash was drawn came forward, the emcee said words about the contestant in Spanish and whipped the ping pong ball across the floor with a flourish. Contestant eliminated.

Photo by Sandy Gennrich

A few ping pong ball eliminations later, there was a break for a solo singing performance by a Diva. The lights went down and the spotlight honed in on her. She was pitch perfect, belting out what I can only assume were ballads of heartbreak in Spanish. The power of her performance and the raw emotion she wore on her face gave me goosebumps. She might as well be a Broadway star. The crowd was awestruck and started showering her with money. Soon, the floor was strewn with dollar bills all around. And all along her voice soared (don’t tell anyone that she was lip syncing).

Photo by Shamik Ganguly

At this moment, I realized how much members of this community support each other. And I realized that they have to. They don’t have a choice. Everyone rooted for every contestant. There was genuine love and support. I told one of the contestants that she looked beautiful. Her eyes lit up as she thanked me profusely and gave me a hug and posed for pictures. Looking at the faces of the contestants and the divas made me wonder, what kind of life are they hiding behind that perfect makeup? What kind of struggles do they go through every day?

Photo by Shamik Ganguly

Outside these walls, they may be a fringe minority – judged and misunderstood. A pawn in some politicians’ gender identity games. A subject of bathroom politics. But inside these walls, it is their Happy Place. Safe Place. They can be their own. Live their fantasies. Support each other. Love each other.

In here love trumps hate.

Photo by Shamik Ganguly

It was late – almost 3 am. Decision time was near. Stay for round two of the beauty contest, or head home for a few hours of sleep before the reality of showing up for work was near. The party supposedly goes on till 5-6 am, even on a Sunday night. Energized, excited and smiling we headed home, buzzing about this new world that Joana introduced to us. Hello hangover.

Story by Shamik Ganguly in collaboration with Sandy Gennrich.

A version on this post first appeared in The Light Diaries.

Looking for the Third Eye by Ramón Cruz

Looking for the Third Eye by Ramón Cruz

Since childhood I have considered myself an observer of everything that surrounds me and excites me. Photography has given me the ability to return to those important moments through images, and I’ve always found this fascinating. I’m more aware of it now, this possibility to go back and remember. I still recall with emotion when my grandparents gave me their Kodak INSTAMATIC X-15 for taking pictures. From that moment on I was held captive by anything that would appear in the viewfinder. Nowadays, I feel it’s essential to take photos daily, as it’s a visual and very personal record of everyday life.

This has evolved, in such a way that the traditional consumer of images has now become a “prosumer”, generating and offering their perspective on social networks. As a reference, let’s consider the scope of mobile photography, which has become a powerful tool for telling stories. Personally, it has allowed me to meet interesting characters on the streets and made it easier for me to approach the issues relevant to my environment.

In my pictures I try to capture the contrasts of light and the details of the characters, silhouettes and objects. I think that the best light to do this in is daylight; I only need to go for a walk with a pair of comfortable shoes and my cell phone fully charged. On the streets, a certain look can be intriguing. You can stop, get closer to your subject, or respect their anonymity and take a picture without them noticing and just thank them afterwards. The streets are pure emotion, that is where the stories are.

Personally, I’ve never liked to capture misery or the degrading condition of the human being; this has never caught my attention. On the other hand, shadows, contrasts and the characters that emerge from them, spontaneous symmetry and natural gestures, these are more interesting to me for generating my visual discourse.

Chihuahua city is located in the north of Mexico and, being close to the border, we have an interesting cultural mix. This has caught my attention and led me to title one of my projects: Puro Norte. In it I present urban portraits of individuals with expressions and in activities denoting the identity, clothing, instruments and poses of the urban cowboy, in costumes from a western film.

Go out, walk and be alert, but don’t stop enjoying the ride and the experience. This is where objects and people have something to say, have made their own history and are waiting to be seen. It’s all about going out to look for them in order to find them.

I prefer to document my own environment without expectations and tell the tales of what I see in my own way, though pictures. I don’t ask for poses and often I don’t ask for permission, but I watch and wait for the moment instead. Photography has given me the opportunity to meet some unique characters; it’s just a matter of approaching people with respect and making my intention clear when necessary, as in the case of a portrait.

I am constantly on the hunt, defining my style and reinventing it. This is evolving more and more, allowing me to expand to other networks and find various platforms for experimenting with an image. This is part of the process and the evolution of photography. It changes on a daily basis and requires you to be a curious person.

In my photographs I try to present my vision – what I have to tell – by using certain angles and editing processes. For some time, a quote has accompanied me and it’s by one of my favourite photographers of all time, Lola Álvarez Bravo: “I seek the essence of beings and things, their spirit, their reality. Interest, personal experience, ethical and aesthetic commitment form the photographer’s third eye”. I hope to some day find this, I am still looking for it, but so far I think I’m getting closer.

About the author: Ramón Cruz is a college professor and photographer based in Chihuahua, México. Documentary, portraiture and street photography are his areas of focus. He is currently a member of 1415 Mobile Photographers.

You can see more of his work here:

Instagram
14&15 Mobile Photographers
Twitter
Flickr

The Flaneur – On the art of exploring a city

The Flaneur – On the art of exploring a city

We’re rushing through streets nearly every day, trying to get from A to B in the fastest way possible. This is especially the case when you’re living in bigger cities like Berlin, for example. Hectic is our constant companion on our day-to-day tours, causing stress, exhaustion and sometimes even anxiety, with no remorse. As we’re speeding through urban canyons, desperately trying to avoid any unwanted physical contact with one another, we become increasingly detached from our surroundings, and sometimes even from ourselves. We feel the need to hurry – possibly being late for work or for an appointment is indeed one of many reasons to do so – even though most of the time we don’t really need to; we just want to get it over and done with.

When I was a young boy, around 10 or so, my father always suggested we walk slowly in places we visited during our family holidays, reasoning that if I walked in a more moderate speed I would be able to soak up the beauty of the things around me, and thus have a truly enriching experience no matter where we were. Of course, as a 10-year-old boy, I couldn’t even imagine what he was talking about let alone comprehend his teachings, so I rejected his advice and kept on rushing. I continued this behavior until a while ago, but my childish reasons from back then – excitingly wanting to see as many things as possible in the least amount of time – weren’t really applicable anymore. Instead of curiously soaking up the world around me, I was more and more concerned about being where I wanted to be, as fast as I could, without any distractions whatsoever. In a way, I had shut myself off from the world surrounding me.

Up until one very particular day in my life, I was a dedicated jaywalker, always careful and attentive, and quick to respond to speeding obstacles. That was until I was forced to wait at a seemingly random and dreadfully busy intersection, which I had to cross. Acting out of a strange mixture of boredom and stress, I decided to take a deep breath and feel a bit more comfortable with the situation I was in. Turning my head left and right, I started noticing many different things, the details of my surroundings. For a few seconds I opened up, if you will, guiding my attention towards a beautiful dress worn by a kind-looking elderly woman across the street; the color arrangements of a middle-aged man standing in front of a corner shop (lilac, he was wearing clothes in different shades of lilac, even his tablet was covered in lilac too); the interesting height differences between a man and two Great Danes he’d taken out for a walk; the scent of beer and pizza, and coffee and cigarettes, coming from various sides…transforming this usually uncomfortable moment of forced waiting into something unique and special.

Upon crossing the street and continuing my course – the green light indicated its allowance to do so – a subtle smile appeared on my face: had I just shared an intimate moment of patience with complete strangers at an intersection?

On my way forth towards my destination I felt unusually light and present, noticing all kinds of patterns, shapes, and colors. Rays of light bounced off various surfaces, creating plenty of shadows and generating an overabundance of beautiful light situations in return. All this within only a couple of hundred meters. I suddenly remembered how my father used to tell me to slow down and pay attention to my surroundings. I also remembered that after years of trying, he eventually gave up. Who would have thought that about twenty years later, his teachings would not only come to fruition but also unintentionally lay the groundwork for both a great photographic practice and an exciting way to widen general perception and strengthen the skill of patience?

Historically, the Sunday stroll was always vital to the well-being of the majority of people: the obligatory walk to church on the only labour-free day of the week, used for recreation, quality time with the family, meeting friends and listening to the Word of God – a truly social experience, if you will. Even artists, writers and, later, photographers have devoted their craft to telling the art of strolling – Henri Cartier-Bresson is a perfect example of that. Nowadays, however, it is quite uncommon to just slowly stroll around, observe and pay attention to life happening around you, especially in places usually not frequented by travelers or tourists.

People witnessing me appear to be puzzled by both my slow walking speed and my intense and curious way of looking. Although I agree with Franz Hessel’s claim that you, the flaneur, do look somewhat suspicious, I would rather say interesting. Adding the fact that most of the time I don’t carry a camera with me and am solely photographing with my smartphone, mostly in unusual places, seems to be sufficient enough to be approached by a few irritated, yet interested people, striking up a conversation in an attempt to find out my intentions. A classic, neck dangling camera, however, appears to be the only visible indicator of intent, allowing the general public to decide whether to dismiss or welcome you upon first sight without the need to interact with you.

Usually, those conversations end in smiles, sometimes spontaneous coffee dates, and on rare occasions even turn into long-term contacts. Anxious at first about being approached by strangers – somehow I always felt the need to explain myself – I quickly adapted and became more confident with time. I now see the good in irritating people – it just means that there is something new happening and they don’t know how to properly react to it, which mostly leads to a conversation, and that is always a good thing.

Today, I see the slow stroll not only as a great photographic practice – as it allows you to habituate a certain way of seeing and perceiving things – but also as a way of easing your mind. Having to stop at a red light is no longer only an aspect of obedience, but a welcomed invitation to just pause for a moment and let your eyes and thoughts wander around. If you remove the debatable necessity of speed and are willing to open yourself up emotionally, you will start catching up the vibes around you, thus training your sensitivity towards your surroundings and your empathy towards others, eventually finding yourself calmer, more content, and confident during unforeseen circumstances.

When I told my father about my past experiences, he warmly replied: “You see, that’s exactly what I was trying to teach you all those years ago. Sometimes it’s not bad at all to just listen and take someone’s advice, is it?”

All Images © Alexandre Kurek, 2017 / shot & edited on iPhone using VSCO

 

The Storytellers Vol. 14

The Storytellers Vol. 14

After a lengthy vacation, our popular, Storytellers Circle has been revived in GRRYO’s Instagram account. We feature a photo prompt each Monday and ask our audience to share their stories to accompany the image. We would love for you to join us and share what each photo says to you. In September we focused on wonderful photos by talented artists with stories that our followers contributed. So come and browse through this digest and let the stories move you to join us each Monday in October!

 

 

Photo Credit: Ayhan
Story Credit: Leslie

 

“Look”, Agnes. “That man is buck naked!” “I’ve seen better”, she sniffed, “much better”.

 

 

Photo Credit: Fabrice
Story Credit: Ariana

 

On days when the air hit a certain percentage of humidity she couldn’t erase the image of the scar upon his back. The starched shirts, the fine suits, the fancy accessories were not enough … he would joke with the kids about the march and the days without food, make it seem like a cartoon- tom and jerry, wile e. coyote … all double takes and hi-jinx. But she knew the truth, had felt the raised skin underneath her fingertips for years. She had felt the tightness of his jaw, the grinding of his teeth and the quiet sound of his despair. She hated these days, when the sun was like a knife.

 

 

Photo Credit: Ali
Story Credit: dmreidmd

 

Ok, yes, I know, I’m old. I don’t look it, call me Dorian Gray. But I am old. 70 is old! And tired. Tired. I miss Lois, may she rest In peace. And Jimmy, God bless that little rascal. My knees hurt, I can’t fly more than five feet off the ground. Super? No more. But I’ll keep showing up, the world needs me. The world needs a Superman.

 

Photo Credit: Daniel
Story Credit: Tommy

 

“Hmmm . . . the newest in spring fashions for the grand reopening of Atkins Department Store and the lineup of boring afternoon soaps on the local TV stations,” thought Roger as he squinted at the tossed aside newsprint. He’d been hanging out at the warehouse for 3 days now looking for any scrap of a clue that might help him to wise up to the mystery of Lucid’s disappearance. He would stay as long as it took if he had to. He loved that girl and there was no way he would give in to the heat, sweat, and misery of searching until he found her. And found her alive. She had to be alive.

Join us each Monday to share your stories with photo prompts in Storytellers Circle. If your story is selected it will appear on our website like those above.

Forest for the Trees

Forest for the Trees

worship
adoring reverence or regard

Deference. If asked, “What is your house of worship? Where do you find comfort and solace?”, my answer would be, “The forest.” I have always felt sheltered and present in the woods. Dysphoria melts into mindfulness. I am happily lost in the presence of such grandeur.

enduring
lasting; permanent

Perennial Questions. The strength of root and branch, the ability to bow and give to nature’s force, what is this balance? How does the constant weight of snow, the perpetual force of the wind shape trunk and limb? You are over a century old, will you live another?

root
the fundamental or essential part

Foundation. Root over rock, here my seed alighted and here I must stay. Granite and flora, a stark contrast between the inert and the living – an inspiration to adapt, remain steadfast, to prosper. I am awed by the energy it takes to root oneself.

community
an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location

Collective Ownership. Below the forest canopy, below the forest understory is a vast network of fungal connections known as the mycorrhizal network. These filaments of fungi, growing in amongst the roots, are the interlacing connections that bond each individual tree into an integrated system – transferring information and nutrients back and forth. Point in fact, a dying tree will share its stored supply of food with neighbors. Perhaps a last act of altruism to support the forest community.

path
a way or track laid down for walking or made by continual treading

Succession. There is something special about winding through a wooded area following the footsteps of strangers. The path becomes a metaphor for a journey, a culmination of all who have passed.

mystical
mystic; of or relating to supernatural agencies, affairs, occurrences, etc.

Metamorphosis. The magic of the woods is ever present – forms fading and thrusting forward, some geometric, some anthropomorphic. How can imaginary beings not exist?
I remember as a child, walking home at dusk. As the light faded and the katydids’ and peepers’ rhythmic drone filled my ears, the scrub pines of Cape Cod would transform into gnarled and wicked shapes. I would try to look straight ahead and tell myself not to run, for evil smells fear. Once I was through the woods, I would bolt for safety and the glowing lights of home.

ephemeral
lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory

Fleeting Moments. Left with a nagging sense of responsibility to record the moment, transience has always unnerved me. If not captured, the moment may never have existed. The forest has taught me to slow down and observe. I have learned that the celebration of ephemera is an everlasting practice. And, if you happen to record the moment, that is simply a bonus.

lucent
marked by clarity or translucence

Light. In the woods, I feel transparent.
Not invisible, but in a sense porous,
as if the light could pass through my skin and bones.
Forest shadows reaching toward me,
I half expect, when I turn around,
to see a continuation of their shapes
and not mine.

frame
something composed of parts fitted together and united

Acknowledgment. How noble these trees,
how they display the vista, pulling its
likeness between them into balance.
I return to this spot season after season,
hoping these trees will outlive me,
hoping this frame is never altered.

death
the act of dying; the end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism

Mortal Wish. When I die, I wish a thousand living things will sprout from my corpse.

 

 

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