Dear Grryo friends, thanks for being part of this journey, our journey! It’s been a year full of wonderful stories, great photos, a lot of sharing and connecting with people all over the world through photography.
During this holiday season, it’s time to celebrate with family, friends and all your loved ones, to get that much-needed rest and inspiration and start the New Year full of energy and new projects. Grryo is also getting ready for a new beginning, but there is one thing that will never change: we are what we are thanks to you!
We’ve been captivated by your way of looking at the life around us behind your camera objective and we are looking forward to seeing what the new year will bring us all! Let’s do this together in 2019! Join us, with your camera, your stories, your comments, your visits… let’s continue making the Grryo family bigger and bigger!
There’s no other way to end a journey
than being consumed by the journey,
One way or another.
It’s a bittersweet mix of grief and relief;
A sense of being unmade
As much as being finally unconstrained.
So now I rest
My body on the emerald green grass,
Under the clear sky, breathing
As deeply as I can.
I see parts of me
Being carried away, swirling in the wind
Like old petals and leaves.
I’m alive and I dream
I have love and I’m grateful.
– L (Leandro Leme)
New beginnings are in the tiniest things.
– Antonia Baedt
Across the world are millions of selfless people who give without expectation, extend helping hands to strangers, who are kind and spread good humor.
Thank you to the people who devote their lives to improving the world. Those who use their skills in saving the environment, science, teaching, medicine, humanities, sharing information, speaking out against injustice, being brave, protecting the vulnerable… the list of unsung heroes is endless.
Sometimes too, it’s just a little act that has a big impact. The ones people do every day, that make people smile and feel whole.
To all of you wonderful people, a great big Thank You for making the world go around!
– Alexandra Preston
As Nagore beautifully expressed “We are what we are thanks to you” indeed we are truly grateful to all of you who have supported us throughout the years to make Grryo what it is today. During this end of year season, we also end our Grryo journey and prepare for a new fresh start to next year.
We turn over a new leaf with new beginnings, and articles for all of you. It has been quite an amazing journey for me after joining Grryo and helping to lead it. Seeing it stabilize and grow with the current team we have, makes me positive once again that we can take steps forward towards a brighter future for Grryo.
On this, the first day of spring, I pay homage to the Wonder of Winter.
At this point in the tropical year here in Canada, while I long for spring’s promise of hope eternal, my heart’s desire can be just as faithful to the frigid fallow and the embrace of winter’s rest and renewal.
Whether urban or rural, chaotic or orderly in nature, as spring beckons I take this moment to reflect back on the moments of pure clear light and misty murkiness that presented to me during the winter of my discontent.
It’s easy to run out into the swelter of summer and focus my lens on the colour and bounty of Mother Nature with nothing more than t-shirt and shorts adorning my body.
It’s quite another thing to don a parka, heavy boots, a hat and thick gloves and try to focus that same lens on the permeating permafrost.
So I dig deep, unafraid of the cold unknown, allowing the full extent of expression to come forth.
Cold. Sharp. Buried.
Winter offers my creative eye the unusual pairing of cold hands and warm promises.
I can choose to hibernate, hiding my thoughts and burying emotions, or I can embrace the harsh reality of winter’s dormancy and explore the “frozen” side of my art.
And when I do, bravery is rewarded.
There is nothing more satisfying to me than to capture the harsh, silent mystery of winter.
I cherish the times when I can escape the dull dampness of this season in the city with its grey, barren streets and brown snowless lawns, and head to the country where a mantle of white blankets the land in undisturbed splendor.
I feel a deep connection to nature in those rural moments.
O, the wonder of winter.
Listen. Can you hear it? It’s the sound of soft snowflakes falling through the branches to the forest floor.
It’s the sound of silence.
O, the wonder of winter.
Even the mundane can be beautiful if I take the time to see it while rushing from the car into the house.
My life is reflected in the tracks I leave behind in the snow (or the mud, pine needles and concrete I walk upon).
O, the wonder of winter.
There are, however, those moments in my winter of discontent when the city calls to me saying, “Come, David. Come capture the folly of fog as it settles across the valley in December.”
Bare trees. Black towers. Bleak expanse.
But how sublime is the subtlety of the pink sky born from the setting sun.
O, the wonder of winter.
And then the moment that makes it all worthwhile.
While I stand on an overpass freezing my butt off, having just taken that previous photo of the skyline, I spot something in the darkness below me.
The sun is at the perfect angle to reflect off the train tracks that run through the valley. Amidst the mist in the mystical forest emerge two filaments of light.
O, the wonder of winter.
Winter is poetry.
Ice is art.
Cold and darkness reveal light and playfulness.
Mother Nature provides sensual scenes for those willing to witness.
Sometimes it’s in your own backyard.
Sometimes it’s just down the road.
But always, the magic is there for you to capture in all its magnificence.
The labyrinthine streets spread like cracks on the downtown area of São Paulo. I walk shouldering my way through the crowd, keeping the man in my line of sight.
The street I chase him on is older than the very foundation of the city. It already was a path crossed by animals and natives along the forest, before the Society of Jesus forged a spiritual connection with the Madhat Pasha street in Damascus. São Paulo was meant to be the Heaven’s Capital on Earth — so it’s written on the letters exchanged between the Jesuits. Truth is, it became a kind of El Dorado of Brazil. Drifters from all over the country seeking fortune on this piece of land, mostly failing nowadays.
I’m trying to make some sense of my woolgathering. It comes with the job, I suppose.
The job isn’t new — you’ve already seen the story. Maybe you even took a part on it. It all comes down to someone wishing something one can’t have.
I could tell my client exactly how the story ends, but I wouldn’t get paid for playing Sherlock. The job has taught me that seeing is important. People are drawn to suffering like moths to lamps — a kind of messed up script hardwired in our brains.
I’m not a monk to delve into the philosophy about it, nor a scientist to prove it. I tell what I see, that’s all.
I wait for the man to exit the restaurant. He’s oblivious to me, although I’m a little too big to ignore. He’s alone, without the briefcase. I know where he’s headed to, so I decide to go somewhere else.
São Paulo was known as “the land of drizzle”. Things have changed during the last decades — for the worse, if you ask me.
It’s Autumn, but it doesn’t feel like it. This temperature could be Summer in any northern hemisphere country. I wonder if the heat loosen the reins of civility here, making people less patient, less good tempered.
Regardless, businessmen march with their dark suits and bright ties on the shadows of financial buildings. They march side by side with the ever growing homeless population, ignoring them behind their sun glasses, puffing on cigarettes and checking their phones. Billboard men on every corner wear plaques advertising gold and diamond brokers, shady attorney services, the sale of doctor’s notes for paid absent days at work. They have blank stares and tanned, cracked skin because of the sun. I wonder where their minds wonder.
I see the woman where I already knew she was. It’s a matter of pattern recognition. People are much more predictable than they think.
When she gets tired of waiting, I follow her. I debate for a moment about my options here. I decide to play by the rules of common sense.
She walks like a ghost, dragging invisible anchors and lost in her reveries. I wait by the old phone cabin as she takes a turn and faces the sun, as if this path could lead her to some kind of enlightenment. Or maybe it’s just me, seeing her story as mine. Pattern recognition.
She enters a small store and leaves with the bag. She wanders through the streets until we arrive at the site of the city’s foundation. I remember that before the Society of Jesus, this place was a cemetery for many indigenous tribes. They met here to bury their dead and to negotiate. Death and contracts seems to be always hand in hand in a twisted way.
The Imortal Glory stands tall, on the top of the stone column, as a guide for the lost. I write the time and place in my notepad and take one last shot as the woman walks to the bus stop.
Then I leave her, hearing the whispers of my own demons feeding on my thoughts. I debate again about my options here.
There are certain rules I promised to never break again – which doesn’t means it won’t happen. There are things much stronger than promises in this world.
This city is a spawn of such things. So is this job.
From all the stories about São Paulo, there’s one that seems like a prophecy for the dwellers of these dirty streets. An omen I constantly see between the lines in every case, like a signature of Fate, although few know about it.
There was a Portuguese pirate living on the coast, about 40 miles from where the Jesuits would settle. He was the most merciless Indian hunter at the time, killing most of the men and enslaving the women for his pleasure. But things suddenly changed.
History tells he was not only converted by the priests — joining their mission — but became a feverish believer and preacher among the native Indians. One day, when the Society of Jesus decided it was about time to expand their influence, it was the former pirate who picked the shortest straw.
He left towards the unknown landscapes beyond the Society’s settlement and crossed paths with warriors from a local tribe. And you can guess what happened next. A rain of arrows left him bleeding to death under the blazing sun.
One of the Jesuits later wrote in his letters that “the Lord would establish His Church, now that He had bathed the foundations with so glorious blood”.
A city founded by religious missionaries, with a promise of Heaven, consecrated by the murder and the blood of a former pirate.
This job has taught me that promises of light are bound to hard shadows. All the contracts signed with Fate have secret dark pages we can never read.
I feel a lot like this city.
The phone rings on my way back to the office. I see the client’s name on the screen and I ignore the call, but I know he will be waiting for me. Moths and lamps.
I keep walking aimlessly for a while collecting faces and silhouettes. The man lights the cigarette but seems like confessing on the sidewalk. Another man sees when I point the camera at him and leaves with a suspicious look. For a brief moment I almost can understand what I’m looking for. What is the purpose of this, what’s the story I’m living in.
When I meet my client, I show him everything I’ve got. I explain the case using the words as knives, twisting the blades a little more on each sentence.
I take no pleasure doing this, don’t get me wrong. I’m another kind of monster.
The job had taught me that such pain is the closure the clients seek — and I’m good at the the job.
He pays me and disappears behind the door. I hope I never meet him again.
Looking through the window I see the sun vanishing behind the buildings. The last rays of light ignite the polluted air on the horizon with the most beautiful red and orange tones. People cast long shadows down there on the streets.
I close the curtain and shut off the phone as the day slowly ends. In less than an hour there will be just shadows — the city’s true calling.
I open the bottle of bourbon and wait for the night and its truths, relieved by the distance from the promises of the day.