Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Side Trips

For those of us who are photographers, a visit to New York City entails a number of must-do side trips: The Modern Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, and the Leica Gallery are always high on my list.

Additionally, as a photographer/human of the Cameras Consumeras species, I simply have to spend a few hours in B&H Photo, the camera store equivalent of Paradise, in my humble opinion.

I was in NYC recently  (also called Juh Ci-tay by a four-year-old I met on the plane who cannot pronounce "New York, " and, for some reason, that hipster-ish name tickled me. ) I went to photograph one of the global celebrations of the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama, but I was so busy shooting that I didn't have time to gallery-hop and see the work of others. I did, however, find a few moments to stop at B&H Photo (it was only three blocks from the Javits Center, where the Dalai Lama event was held.) I shot a phone selfie (above) with a street photographer outside the store.

Once the two-day Dalai Lama celebration had concluded, a Tibetan lama friend and I also made a trip out to Long Island, where my friend gave a talk about meditation. The images below were shot that day.

I'm back in Seattle now, readjusting to life in the land where everyone carries a daypack, even suit-wearing lawyers headed to the office,  or cultured types on their way to a symphony concert.  But I must admit that I am kind of missing Juh City.

A return trip MUST be scheduled.

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Tenshug" in New York City

So here's kind of a surprise and something my Tibetan Buddhist friends might say is an "auspicious" way to start your week:

I wrote in my last post that Tibetans were excited because the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday was coming up; but what I didn't write was that I made a trip to New York last week to photograph one of two North American birthday parties held in his honor (another event was held in Los Angeles which would have been a shorter flight for me, but for a variety of reasons I opted to go to New York.)

I only got back to Seattle a matter of hours ago and I have not actually even downloaded my camera memory cards yet, so of course I have not done a thorough edit. But the images I'm posting here today are frames that jumped out at me as I reviewed my shoot on the camera LCD screens and on my iPad, and they are a few of what I emailed from New York to my Tibetan friends in Seattle to post on their Facebook page.

The New York "Tenshug" (Long Life Offering) was a two-day event, the first day being a teaching the Dalai Lama did on meditation (above,) while the second day was the celebratory birthday party. Sixteen thousand people filled the Javits Center in Manhattan for each event.

As you can see from these images, I witnessed unmistakable and overwhelming demonstrations of love and respect that people --  Tibetans and non-Tibetans alike -- obviously feel for this amazing 80-year-old.

It was quite an experience.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Dalai Lama's 80th Birthday

This is a festive (though bittersweet) week for the diaspora of Tibetans in exile throughout the world, and for Tibetans still living in their homeland. It is the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama and celebrations this week are a colorful culmination of a month of prayers that Tibetans have offered in honor of their spiritual leader.

I have been there with my friends from the Seattle Tibetan community as young and old have come together at their Tibetan Buddhist monastery for pre-birthday events. It's been quite a month and I have made more pictures than I can/should ever post here.

The bittersweet part of these gatherings is that I'm sure my Tibetan friends would rather that they and the Dalai Lama could be celebrating this birthday back in their homeland, rather than in exile.

Members of the Seattle Tibetan community tossed barley flour into the air Sunday (a festive Tibetan custom.) And there was a cake with candles (a birthday party tradition that Tibetans have adopted from their American friends.)  Of course, as is always the case when these devout people come together,  there were prayers.

The Dalai Lama, as one might guess, cannot possibly attend all the parties that Tibetans, worldwide, are holding for him, and he was not in Seattle as my friends celebrated.

The absence of the Guest of Honor did not stop my friends -- resilient in so many ways -- from honoring their leader.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

This, that, and the other thing

It seems to me that photography these days sometimes tends to be a trendy, flavor-of-the-week kind of thing. Last week my image-making brothers and sisters were shooting pictures with their cameras tilted crooked, trying, I guess,  to produce imagery that was "different" than the norm. This week maybe they are shooting everything with a wide lens, kind of half out of focus. Next week…well, who knows?

Last week we were sharing our work online using Flickr, this week it is Instagram, and next week…?

I say: Hooey!  None of the above really matters, does it? At least not to me.

What matters is this: Is my heart in an image I've made? Do you, as a viewer, sense even an inkling of any kind of soul in what I've shot?

Here is a sampling of a bunch of personal pictures I've shot fairly recently (they're "personal,"  in that no one paid me to do them.)  They're images I made because I was exercising my eyes, or I saw something that pleased me, or maybe I was just goofing around, playing. 

Will they last for me? Will I think the pictures are worthy a year from now, and do the pictures have visual staying power? I can't answer that because I don't know. Only time will tell.

I do hope the pictures aren't the result of me simply following a stylistic trend.

Above: Leah and I were invited to dinner at a friend's house, and it happened that they had a swimming pool ("it was here when we bought the house," my friend said, half-apologetically.) I liked the light near the diving board.

Below: Some friends stayed overnight at our house and I shot pictures of their child.

And I shot these pictures of the Tibetan prayer flags that hang in our way of remembering when the wisteria was in bloom, and sketching (with my camera) early-morning light.

And of course I'm forever shooting pictures of our Best Friend, Pax.

A friend and I did a hike last weekend on the north side of Mt. Rainier.

And, as I cut the grass near my strawberry garden, this little fellow hopped past the mower. I stopped the machine, carefully picked up Little Froggy, and moved him out of harm's way.