With your hand on your heart, tell me you have never been moved by a photograph. Such is the power of photography. I am ashamed to say that despite spending over twelve years in the world of photography professionally (and many more as an amateur) I have never written about this art which means so much for me.
I took my Kodak Disk camera on a high school trip to the Soviet Union in 1983 (yes, I am old). The camera was not particularly good with its tiny negatives and tiny lens, but it exposed me (haha) to the magic of capturing powerful images. A couple of years later, I borrowed my sister’s Canon AE1 Program for a holiday in Greece and my passion for photography started in earnest. Back home, I permanently appropriated my dad’s Pentax ME Super (he never used it) and, as they say, the rest is history.
In 1991, I made my hobby into my job, when I got the opportunity to work as a sales manager for an English photo distributor in Spain. From there I entered the photo lab supply business and eventually started my own company supplying photo labs all over Spain. It was genuine fun until 2004 when everybody got a digital camera for Christmas and traditional photography as we knew it ended, overnight.
Needless to say, photography has remained my passion, although I gave all my equipment away to one of my students who was studying photography (3 different Pentax bodies, a bunch of lenses, and accessories – but I kept my Billingham bag!)
The other day I went to a History of Photography exhibit at the Fundación Juan March, and I was deeply moved by images I knew by heart: Man Ray, Mapplethorpe, Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï, Ansell Adams, Capa, and on and on. It was very emotional.
If you are in Madrid head over this exhibit, you are welcome.
Few things are as rewarding as finding an unexpected jewel. It might be a film, some material thing -including a jewel- but in my case it was a book.
Anthony de Mello’s The Prayer of the Frog has been on my to read list for years, but it is a long list so I don’t really worry too much about it. A few months ago, I found another book by Anthony de Mello on the Free Bookshelf at my school: Awareness.
Well, I finally picked it up and it gave me a big slap on the face! What an awakening!
The book (published posthumously; de Mello died in ’87 the book was published in ‘90) is basically a transcript of one of his conferences. He shakes you to wake up, to start really seeing, to really listen and observe, to be aware of what we do, including charity work, to not label things, including God. The book is really priceless, with quotes such as:
We see people and things not as they are, but as we are.
Anthony de Mello
De Mello urges the reader to simplify, to understand the difference between desires and preferences. He points to our understanding of the world through our conditioning. The whole book is full of wisdom and urgency. I read the almost 200 pages in a few sittings.
One never quarrels about reality; we only quarrel about opinions, about concepts, about judgements.
You have heard this sung a thousand times, but did you know it comes from Handel’s Messiah?
Thanks to a generous donor, I managed to get a ticket to see and hear the Palm Beach Symphony perform Handel’s Messiah, together with a group of students from my school.
Although this was a smaller production than the North Carolina Symphony, or the Naples Symphony, or others I have seen, the music is so amazing that it really does not matter so much. It is also a wonderful way to start the holiday season.
As an Enlightenment freak, I love how Handel pushes his Baroque style to the gates of the Enlightenment, of Classical music. Together with Bach (you can read my musings on him here), they make the Rococo obsolete before it is born, making it possible for Mozart, Haydn or early Beethoven to get a start on Classical music at the end of the 18th C.
In case you have not seen or heard this amazing work here is a YouTube recording. Enjoy. By the way, the Hallelujah is at 1:36…
The most important lessons in life you learnt as a child. One of those lessons was do your homework, do your work. There is no substitute. You might be able to get away without doing your homework once in a while. But if you want results, you have to do the work, put in the hours.
Last Spring, we lost the soccer game against our eternal foe, Miami’s St. John Vianney 3-4. This year we put in the work week after week. We practiced with dedication and enthusiasm, we even organized a scrimmage against a local team. We put in the work. The team was diligent and conscientious about practicing, not easy when you have a ridiculous grad-school workload, but they did it.
With only a few minutes to warm up and settle in after our drive to Miami (the referee, hired at the last minute had things to do, come on, this is Miami), our players -minus one of our forwards who suffered an accident travelling down (he is fine, just a sore neck)- jumped on to the turf field.
We won 0-6. Victory is sweet, revenge even better!
Congratulations to the team, Assistant Coach Josh, the faculty and staff that made the game possible, as well to our phenomenal photographer Dylan McKay!