humans across the world
This photographic exploration is a tightrope act, balancing the diverse complexity and unifying simplicity at the heart of the human condition. People live vastly different lives across the world, but the more so within one nation, region or group. Everywhere you find the same distinctions: optimists and pessimists, introverts and extroverts, folks lending hands and those using elbows, dreamers and doers, dreaming doers. Playdough in the hands of nature, nurture, and our own decision making, we are formed into all sorts of character shapes, steered by the same drives. These conspicuous similarities, our universal differences, unite us as one species of monkey merely disguised in a human wardrobe. In the same breath, our distinct experiences assemble unique minds, feelings and memories - our very own worlds.
These shots are in color. For a b/w people gallery click here.
The Observer Effect: Momentary Momentum
...the camera’s skill to freeze the momentary momentum in-between scenes is nothing short of miraculous and reminds me of a quirky phenomenon in the quantum realm: the observer effect. see more
what a fine blend we are
This collection is a blender, so watch out that you don’t end up in it one day. see more
Not Pity Poor: Grace of the Life Lottery's Runner Ups
fortitude and perseverance forged in a hard place
Pity is misplaced here; awareness is welcome and so is action. There are many ways to even out the chances of a slanted life lottery... see more
when your office isn’t anywhere near an office
...nobody robbed us of our freedom; it was an inside job we signed up for. Outside jobs, by contrast, are not always a deliberate choice and oftentimes the harder labor, but they come with a certain spatial freedom... see more
we all have one
...it isn’t just a tale; it is the very world we live in, inside our head, and as much as we can let others in, they will always see it with a different set of eyes. see more
That’s Funny – Humor Mirror
tickled by humor, genuineness surfaces
Only ever living in one head, our head, knowing what’s going on in another, is anyone’s guess. The best clue we’ll ever get is genuine emotion... see more
glimpse: FOOD FOR THOUGHT | Austerity is a narrow gateway. Most material possessions are too bulky to fit through. The flood of overindulgence is too wide to pass it whole. Merely a humble iota of societal diversions makes it to the other side and accompanies the Buddhist monk on his path to raw consciousness and spiritual enlightenment. Only after shaving off all distractions delivered by the senses, the innermost mind is sharpened into necessary focus for the journey toward awareness. But concentration can only voyage as long as the belly is fed. The blossoming mind can’t escape its organic roots. And so the monk’s quest is nourished by the alms giving lay people, who in return feed off good Karma and the Buddhist teachings. A mutual exchange of food for thought.
glimpse: SIPPING WARM GOLD | Now the sun poured warm gold over the azure Caribbean sky and turned those who sipped on it into silhouettes, living shadows etched into this slice of time. Tomorrow they’ll be gone, washed away by a wave of new arrivals, as the itsy bitsy Belizean island bubble Caye Caulker remains in perpetual inflate-burst-flux. The hedonistic pilgrimage of backpackers and suitcase vacationers is whisked together with laid back locals at the “Split," where, legend has it, hurricane Hattie sawed the island in half back in 1961. Bob Marley jams, folks are taking it belizy, every cold beer has a sun-and-fun-lover’s name on it – what’s a painful cliché for one, is an Edenic haven to the other.
glimpse: LIVELIHOOD | His skin was leather, witness to a noble life spent beneath the generous Ethiopian sun. He looked like 80, but was probably closer to 60 when deducting the dignifying furrows a career of arduous labor had left on his face. The wide-awake eyes gave it away. And at no point did the cruel Simien ascends seem to take a toll on him, while I paid plenty. His reticent demeanor expressed a polite indifference to my existence. And yet, somehow I felt like he would guard that existence with his if necessary. He exuded an air of loyalty to his responsibility as a scout, and at least by proxy to any wannabe adventurer in tow. All he carried with him into the mountains was a small rucksack, a quilted jacket, an umbrella, a shawl that inexplicably sufficed him as blanket throughout the relentless altitude nights, and the AK-47. Ka-lash-ni-kov, rat-tat-tat-tat – what a perfect last name to invent a rifle, I thought. The phonetics and connotation were a match made in Russia. What kind of machine gun would a “Wilson” or “Gonzales” be? But if the rifle made me feel any safer, it made me feel unsafer in at least equal measure. I disliked the tangible proximity of death the presence of the gun established, notwithstanding that this one was more livelihood than weapon – a tool of life and death that was just a tool. Some written or unwritten rule somewhere obliged him to carry it, and me to enter the park accompanied by an armed veteran. Wild animals or robbers are no real threat here, as I learned, but a family going hungry is.
glimpse: PUDDLE POOL | Accommodated by the darkest hour of a forgiving late summer night, hidden from their stalking eyes by the invisible back alley, encouraged by his bittersweet intoxication to hand over the reins to all inhibitions, guided by solitude to unlearn society’s teachings, he bathed and swum in the shallow puddle pool. Nothing was sad about this, or tragic, or fucked up. Just a human, at one with the elements around him, feeling the electrostatic air and the cooling water on, in, and beneath his skin, riding the crest until the comedown.
glimpse: FROZEN WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE | What if the water under the bridge was frozen? Would it change anything? Would it change you? Would you change anything? Would your choice become easier or more difficult with more time at hand? And would it matter at all if you were looking the other way? Would you prefer to keep going with the flow?
glimpse: GHOST | When the night is blue, the moon moody, the wall tall, and the street long and dark, fear not; for you are just a ghost passing through.
glimpse: SOUTH AFRICAN SUMMER | The sun had seized control over all life in the orphanage during these hot summer days and drove us down to the dam time and again. Only the cooling water could defy the burning reign and had us longing for more shelter as soon as we’d leave the watery bubble.
glimpse: HOLI FACE | Festivals are cultural routines, reoccurring rites that often follow long traces of ancient ancestral mysticism. Built on ephemerality, they aren’t supposed to last. Coming alive in a collective moment and dying with each individual going home, their existence is humble. Once the paint flakes off of a Holi face, it’s “so long, see you around next year.” The festive occasion derives meaningfulness and joy from being cyclic, not static; its short and intense presence must juxtapose a long absence to be cherished by the devotees. Even in our memories the recollection of a single event might get watered down in a blurry puddle of many a year. There is no clinging on to celebrations and that’s why they are truly moments of being in the moment.
glimpse: HOSTEL CREATURE | Hostels are anthropological petri dishes, in which all sorts of characters and stories mingle. Sure, many conversations stay at a superficial level along the lines of “where you from mate, sick dude, how long have you been traveling, where you headed?” But some people meet on the same wavelength and dive a little deeper, to more profound topics and even to the depths where lifelong friendships are molded. And then there are the occasional oddballs, refreshing palate cleansers with quirky demeanors and twisted plots. Like the kind of guy entering a dorm in Bishkek late at night with a stern face while insinuating something about a committed murder, but being all jovial and no longer hangry after a midnight snack, now casually clarifying that the murder victim was actually him, killed by a society that had not prevented his near starvation leading to strokes and nerve damage, and alleging that some Balinese villagers worship him and his wife as reincarnations of Hindu gods, before putting on his PJs and a Kermit sleeping mask.
That Candid Moment Before the Mask
perfect imperfection before the stage is set
...portrait candidness is the short lived obliviousness before the stage is set and it thrives on the imperfection of anticipating the "picture perfect" moment... see more
A Homage to Education
empowerer, character-builder, freedom fighter
...I think education empowers people to take agency, think critically, ask questions and have a choice in life. It is the key driver in a person’s intellectual development and, more importantly, character evolution... read more
Who Is That White Savior With the Complex?
Are Westerners trying to save the world on their terms?
...development assistance can be viable; unless it feeds into an individual or systemic White Savior Complex that results in the idea of one side helping the other and distracts people from the underlying issues and inequities. read more
Barcelona / Revolution in the Air, But Where?
people carry on ordinarily while the political stage is in flames
...yet, between these societal lines, where the quintessence of our life as human beings dwells, our situation remains largely the same, despite political turmoil... explore
Of Muslim Victims, White Terrorists and Faceless Strangers Perishing Unconsidered
how we overlook the real victims and perpetrators of terrorism
...after all we’re talking about human beings that are quite literally in a predicament between the devil and the deep blue sea... read more
human agency in the enslavement of nature
...equipped with consciousness we are quite possibly the only animal around that has a notion of tomorrow and certainly the only one capable of actively shaping our future days together... see more
They asked for water. When I turned back around, three shotgun muzzles were pointed at us. I would have cursed the map right then, but there was no time for clear thought now. read more
Ilha Grande / Distracting Convenience
outrunning comfort to create memorable moments
Alas, convenience wanted me back in its enclosing walls for the same reasons it always does – for all the wrong reasons, distracting us from the bigger picture... explore
countries | Middle East | UAE
Dubai / Dark Reality of a Playground for the Affluent – Drawing a Line
diverging gustoes or objective concern?
...the former fishing village wears but future on its amber desert-skin. But ever taller comes at a price beyond dollar bills... explore
And as long as shadows overcast my path, I know of a star in the skies above the voices in my head and solid ground ‘neath my jaded soles. And hadn’t I longed for the shade the more I had lived in the bright shallow sunlight, just as much as I curse it now lying in the dark? read more
I, Too, Blog Now
bloggers blogging blogs just to blog
...mind you ladies and gentlemen, coming through! Let me get in line for pouring out my long needed advice all over your poor brain, like platitude Bolognese on unquestioning Spaghetti... read more
Caye Caulker / Inflate-Burst-Flux of a Clichéd Island Bubble
the bond of a moment’s fun
...not much of you or anybody else can stay there, too little the ripple, too constant the stream. A moment’s fun is the bond and doesn’t ask for any more or less... explore
Rio de Janeiro / No Hard Feelings
distinguishing between place and experience
...my harshest criticism towards many travelers and especially the ones armed with blogs – that they don’t distinguish between a place and their experience there... explore
Tokyo / Lingering Alone
the difference of seeing a place and being in a place
...everybody is keen on seeing these picture-perfect places, but nobody seems interested in actually being there, in staying in these moments... explore