Archive for the ‘Portraits’ Category

Getting Home: Day 2

In Documentary work, Ethiopia, Giving Back, Portraits, Travel on December 4, 2010 at 3:15 am

This idea of journey seems to be the way things are here in Ethiopia. Everyone seems to be going some place. It’s not even obvious where they are going. People on bikes, walking with and without shoes, donkeys, horses, cows, goats, trucks, busses and the list goes on and on. Here I am with my two girls on our journey as well. We travel our way across the long dusty roads that make up the arteries of this country. We left the paved roads just as we started this second day. The Toyota bounces and sways like a boat in the middle of the ocean. I try to keep my eyes forward looking for on coming trucks so I can roll up the window before we get showered in dust. “roll em up”  then “roll em down” is how it’ goes.

The girls are really starting to open up today. Smiling and generally in a happy mood. They now know they are headed home. For the first few hours they were not really sure where we were going and if they would be heading back to the hospital. Breakfast was the usual continental style with coffee. They make the best coffee here. I have not been a big coffee drinker since college but I have jumped back in. Comparing the coffee here to the coffee in North America is like comparing Coke to milk. The flavor is amazing. Making coffee is not just turning on a machine in the morning while you read the paper. No, this is a ceremony in all its glory. They roast the beans by hand, then crush them in a mortar and pestle always stopping to smell the beans to make sure they are giving off the right amount of aroma. The coffee is then put into the boiling water and poured in to these cool little clay cups. Absolutely no milk to be found here though. You may find honey or salt though.

Lunch is at this little hole in the wall place or maybe I should say it’s a place with many holes in the wall!. In fact there are not much in the way of walls at all.  It’s just another building that is basically half built. It seems like concrete is in short supply here. As a result buildings seem to start and then stop without being completed. The landscape is littered with these half made structures. Also lacking is scaffolding but in place of it you will see a birdcage worth of wood. It seems to working so who am I to judge.

With some time to kill after eating I take a walk across the street to find a bunch of guys stuffing green leafs down their mouths and in their gums it is called Khat but pronounced chat and seems to have the same effect as smoking pot.

It’s looking like we will make it to the village tomorrow to get the girls home. Long drives and dusty roads. Who knows what else is in store for us.

I’ve had some very generous gifts to help with the cause and I’m very appreciative of it. I feel like a PBS promo but I could still use a bit more help in raising money to offset the cost of getting these girls home. So please pass this blog on to anyone who might be interested.

Here is the link for donating to PayPal

Here is the link for the SocialWish donating page


Getting Home Day 1

In Documentary work, Ethiopia, Giving Back, Portraits, Travel on November 30, 2010 at 10:00 am

I woke up early today to start this trip. The driver and interpreter arrived at the hotel around 7 am for what we were told was going to be a 400km drive to BELTO  but it’s so small that it does not even show up on the map and since I never checked the map in the first place I just assumed that was the distance. A woman from the SalaamGarage trip will also be joining me, her name is Ponzi Black she is a multi media consultant who will be posting her point of view with photos, blogging and video.  We take the short drive over to the Hamlin Fistula Hospital to pick up Kedira and Kemeru. They are waiting for us in the driveway with just the few possessions they showed up with over a month ago. Of course they are wearing their traditional clothing.

Kedira on the left was the one that first thought I was one of the missionaries who was going to bring her home. Well not quite but I guess not too far off either. Kemeru on the right often has a stoic look on her face, or at least that is all I have seen so far. We all pile into the Toyota with the Yousef our interpreter and our driver whose name I never really got. The ride out of Addis was slow even at that early time of day. The roads are always congested and it seems we are constantly stopping and starting but not because of the normal traffic issues. No we are stopped because goats, or horses are busy crossing the street. The air is thick with pollution as environmental concerns are just not on the radar yet. Black smoke pours out of the trucks as I hold my breath. Coughing has been a big problem for me for the better part of a month since I started getting my shots and is not made any easier with the air in this city. There are no traffic lights here so the cars move at a slow steady dance getting close but not quite colliding. We ease out of town and hit the highway. As I look to either side of the car I see people, so many people just walking one place or the other.

It seems like we are on the road for only a few hours when Yousef says we will stop for lunch. No problem I say but honestly it seems kind of soon. Maybe this guy is union and he has his scheduled coffee breaks. Coffee, that is something that is going to play a MAJOR part it turns out. Our lunch stop is at this beautiful place called Dreamland and it has a great view of a lake view out back. To my surprise they actually have the Wifi’s so I sign on and check my email.

Back on the road after lunch. The girls did not feel comfortable sitting in the restaurant so they went back to the truck. It was an uneventful day with tons of driving. I seemed to have to pee a thousand times and nobody else does. Am I that old? We finally arrived at the Awash National Park to sleep in a hotel. Yousef says that Ponzi and I could stay there but the girls and the driver as well as him would stay at a less expensive place.  I didn’t care where they stayed but as far as I was concerned the girls would be staying at the hotel. After all it amounted to all of about $18.00 for the night. They may never sleep in a bed like that again I told myself.

A man of his word

In Documentary work, Portraits on November 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

What are we if not men of our words?. I know I always try to be a man of my word. If I say it I try hard as hell to do it. Bob Simon of 60 Minutes is a man of his word. First off he said he would allow me to a photograph of him when I met him in late spring of 2010 and good to his word he did.  Of course one portrait is never enough for me so I asked if he could get me to anyone else at 60 Min, namely Morley Safer. A few weeks ago I received an email from Bob that said Morley was game. Wow I was so happy. I wanted to be cool and not call right away and look too eager, I dutifully waited 5 minutes then called. His assistant answered and after I introduced myself and told her that Bob gave me the number she passed me right to Morley. Next thing I know I’m talking to Morley Safer and man does he sound like Morley Safer from 60 Min. I explained what I wanted to do and we agreed on a date. Simple and straight to the point. The following week I show up to the 60 Min office with my gear and some great help from Diego. Unfortunately the room that I had used to photograph Bob was not available. I was a bit worried but after having a look at Morley’s office it was very clear to me that the office was much better then the unavailable room. Morley is from Toronto like me so we spoke of our home town and what we thought about some of the architecture in the city. Then I did some portraits in the hallway. I think we had it all done in about 40 min including lighting two sets and tearing it all down. I’m hoping to get to some other people and with Morley’s help I may just be able to do that. Here are a few of the shots.


In Documentary work, Giving Back, Portraits on October 14, 2010 at 3:22 pm

So this is some big news. I will be going to Ethiopia in late Nov until early Dec to do some documentary photography covering Obstetric Fisutla. What is Obstetric Fistula: An obstetric fistula is an injury that happens to a mother during childbirth.  It occurs when the baby’s head gets stuck during labor. Essentially the baby is too big to be born through the vagina. The constant pressure of the head in the birth canal causes a tear or hole to form either between the bladder and vagina, the rectum and vagina, or both. As a result, the woman is rendered totally incontinent of urine and/or feces.  This condition does not heal on it’s own, surgery is the only option. I will be going with a great group of citizen journalists called Salaam Garage.  My trip has been made possible thanks to a generous gift from the The Fludzinski Foundation. I will be keeping up a blog on this as best as i can as I prepare and once I’m there. So follow along read, learn and contribute if you can. Here is a great little movie to watch if you are interested. It is a bit sad but well worth the time. It’s called  A Walk To Beautiful. So with that here is the first photo of what hopefully will be a great project, it’s of my Ethiopian Visa. Click here if you want to “meet” the rest of the team.

Bob Simon (60 Minutes)

In Portraits on August 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm

A few months ago I was lucky to be invited to an amazing lecture series at the MOMA in NYC sponsored by The Americas Business Council Foundation. Here is a link The lecture featured some amazing people talking about things in their lives that were deemed to of required courage. Included in the lecture series was Richard Branson, Philippe Petit, Bob Simon. As well as many others. They spoke of standing up for their rights to drug dealers and politicians, of being kidnapped or trying to change the future of a whole city. I was inspired to say the least. During one of the breaks I managed to introduce myself to Bob Simon. I had not really known too much about him other then he was a host on 60 Min. I found out that he had been a hostage in the first gulf war and that thanks to that fact Google was not around at the time his life was most likely spared due to some of his political leanings. I introduced myself to him and like I do often I asked if he would be open to me doing some portraits of him. He agreed and about a month later I went up to the 60 minutes office to have a bit of a scout. After looking around the office I found a great room that I guess is used for some video work. We agreed to shoot the following week. He is a fascinating man who has seen his share of man’s ability to both build and destroy. I’m hoping this will be the start of a series of portraits of other journalists. Enjoy.

Eric Glomski & Maynard James Keenan’s new documentary: bloodintowine.com

In Portraits on January 19, 2010 at 12:47 am

I’m working on this lighting style and will be uploading them as I go.

This is Eric Glomski he and Maynard are both featured in a new documentary on Maynards vineyard in Arizona called Blood Into Wine  (bloodintowine.com). Eric owns Page Springs Cellars.  Maynard owns Caduceus Cellars.  They co-own Arizona Stronghold Vineyards.

Maynard James Keenan’s wine documentary “Blood into Wine”

In Musicians, Portraits on December 1, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Since this site is new to me I will start uploading some interesting images I’ve got kicking around. This first one is of Maynard James Keenan of Tool, A Perfect Circle and Pucifer. He was in NY doing some press for his vineyard Caduceus that he runs in Arizona.