Apr 15

New Images and Getting Caught Up

We have been on a bit of a whirlwind recently and lots of exciting things have been happening. First, our hard work as participants in the Richard Dischler Workshops has borne fruit. Both Christy and myself have exhibited our printed work and as a result a number of opportunities have presented themselves. Second, we both participated in a landscape photography workshop in Death Valley, more on that later.

Dick Dischler’s influence on my photography has been significant and done wonders to get me to see differently and recapture some of the magic that attracted me to photography in the first place. He has also gotten me to focus on how my images will look in their ultimate form as prints. Much of my time going forward will be spent not only creating work but mastering to art of printing. To that end we have a new Epson 3880, wish me luck.

Untitled. Hiroshima, 2014

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Aug 12

Crossing Kyrgyzstan, Closer to China

We arrived in Kyrgyzstan yesterday and it was a remarkable change from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Gone is the sweltering heat of the black and red sand deserts. Gone too are the soaring domes and spires of lapis and turquoise. Mountains surround the city of Bishkek and the streets are full of cars and commerce. Statues of Lenin, Marx and Engles stand proudly near the teetering carcasses of Soviet apartment blocks and the faces of the people tell us that we are much closer to China. We stop at a small neighborhood shop and the woman behind the counter uses an abacus to calculate the correct ammount. Small bits of cloth tied to pine boughs flutter in the wind for good fortune.

I came to Central Asia to trace what I could of the Silk Road and to try to understand this part of the world better. At first it felt like an alien land but I think I understand it a little better now. Central Asia is a land at a crossroads with a history of invasion after invasion, conquest after conquest. Hellenes, Romans, Parthians, Persians, Arabs, Seljuk Turks, Ghengis Khan, Tamerlane and even the Chinese have all left their indelible marks and blood in the sand. Pagans, Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and Moslems have all called it home. This is a place where desert sands, winter snows and the wind have always shifted and will continue to do so.

Today we begin our three day overland journey across the Pamir Mountains to Kashgar. I don’t know when I’ll be able to post again, it may be several days. In the meantime please enjoy the narrative, photos and video. Until next time.

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Aug 12

Back in Istanbul

We spent two incredible days on the western shore of Turkey and I finally made it to Ephesus. What a beautiful city. As a book lover, the facade of the ancient library was wonderful to see but I was completely surprised by the Roman terrace houses with their intricate mosaic floors and so very human frescoes.

When I visit ancient sites, one of my favorite questions to ask of the modern residents, is what is their connection to these people and cultures that vanished so many centuries age. Do they feel any connection or kinship at all? At almost every location the answer has been no, the monuments and ruins are viewed as piles of rocks that are only fit for tourists. On the occasional of my asking this question of our guide, she gave a very different impassioned response. She explained that all cultures learn from and stand upon each other, that no culture exists in a vacuum or stands alone. I could not agree more.

To my delight I learned that modern Bodrum is the location of ancient Halicarnassus, birthplace of Heroditus, father of history. Bodrum has such a long, rich history, it has it’s own underwater archaeology museum. The numerous exhibits include a bronze age ship wreck, the skeleton, sarcophagus and reconstructed likeness of a Carian Queen and an equisite exhibit of ancient amphora, many of which were found by local sponge divers. I have a video of this amphora exhibit I’ll upload when I’m able.

We were also fortunate enough to visit the village of Etrim where the traditional art of wool on wool carpet making continues. We met an amazing family in this village and I have video to share when we have faster, more reliable internet. In fact, I have have several videos waiting to be uploaded.

Tomorrow we leave for Turkmenistan so my ability to post may be uncertain for a while. In the mean time please enjoy the photos!

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