Thursday, September 24, 2015

Regarding Ethics

Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Seattle this week and my former colleagues in the Seattle news media are giving a lot of coverage to the economic importance of trade between Washington state and China. Local and national political and business leaders are out in mass, literally rolling out a red carpet in welcome and smiling and hand-shaking with the visiting president.

The Chinese government's abuses of the human rights of its own people are getting less media attention. Though we in the US know that an everyday citizen in China can get tossed into jail for publicly expressing what the Chinese government deems a subversive opinion, we still appear to want/need to do business with that economic giant.

As human societies weigh considerations of values and ethics vs. business concerns and profit, I am sorry to say that, more often than not,  the scale seems to tip toward dollars.

The Tibetan communities from Seattle and Portland were out in the streets of downtown Seattle Wednesday, waving Tibetan flags (which are not permitted in China,) handing out informational leaflets,  and chanting protest slogans. The next day the Tibetans traveled to the Boeing plant in Everett and to the Microsoft campus in Redmond, again in an attempt to focus the public eye on matters of human rights abuses in China.

I spent both days photographing the events; and while I did see and document high-energy, passionate moments of the Tibetans shouting slogans with voices raised (above,)  I also was amazed by the peaceful, resolute convictions of the Pacific Northwest Tibetan Community. Tibetan Buddhist prayers were offered, and demonstrators joined together, again and again, in quietly singing the Tibetan national anthem.

I have been a professional photographer for nearly 40 years now and I help to keep a roof over our heads by taking pictures for money. Nevertheless, I turn away professional, income-producing shoots to make time for the volunteer photography I do of Tibetan events. For me, the personal ethics vs. profit issue is a no-brainer.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Bits 'n Pieces

I'm afraid I've gotten into a bad habit of using our dining room and table as a bit of a messy,  gear-organizing space and kind of catch-all. Cameras and lenses, assorted batteries and chargers, even running or hiking gear wind up there, waiting for their next trip out the door for work or play.

A couple of days ago I decided I owed it to my mate to de-clutter the table, so camera gear got packed away in the closet where it belongs and my hiking stuff got stowed in its proper place in the garage.

As I cleaned up I found a tiny insect wing,  and,  when I showed it to Leah,  she suggested I put it on the window sill in our kitchen -- a place where we keep little miracle-objects we collect from here and there.

The delicate wing now has a spot near a Buddha Eyes pendant we brought home from one of our trips to the Himalaya, and a small bird's egg we found in our yard.  There is also a length of string that came from I-can't-remember-where,  and a piece of red blessing cord from one of the Dalai Lama events I have photographed.

That evening, for no particular reason except perhaps to note the winding-down of summer, we turned on the "party lights"  that hang from the wisteria that grows on our front porch.

This winter, when it is chilly, dark and rainy here -- a season we happen to enjoy for its own qualities -- I suspect it will be nice to look at these pictures and remember the sweet summer.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Queen not-so-Mum

Once upon a time, in a long ago age, there was a phrase that was common and men far and wide quoted it to one another -- though, even back in those days of yore, men knew the phrase was an Untruth.

"A Man's Home is His Castle" was the phrase; and today, those words seem ancient and have the ring of some kind of Olde Joke.  In my home, for instance, I have no illusions that I'm Lorde of any Castle. I live in a house with three females: One of the human variety,  and two canines.  And I am most definitely Number Four in the line of succession to the throne.

Even Leah -- who is MY Faire Lady -- is not Queen of this castle.

No, the Royal Majesty here be Miss Pax, whose pictures I doth post today.

Everything revolves around Miss Pax, Queen of every rug that must be shed upon, every pile of bedding  that requires rearranging, every window that needs nose-smudging.

"Woo-woo-woo," proclaimeth the Queen.