Once upon a time…when film was film

I have experienced so many profound things… and, I never wrote that story. I never became that professional photographer. I never found those words.  I never became the hero that I wanted to be. I couldn’t return to the townships in South Africa and say… Let’s play some music together again. I want to hit that drum with you again – join hands, transcend worlds…

So, here’s something from 2001.

Dear Woman, when the National Press Club notified me that I won the photo contest with your picture, I felt embarrassed. It took me a long time to find that smile you wore – to find it inside myself.

I could not afford to fly and see your image on the wall in the gallery. At the time, I could barely pay my rent. I wanted to see you again, not fly to Washington D.C. I needed the sunset and the sunrise to enter into my heart, just like it did when I could feel the whole jungle wake, as the funny monkeys stirred.

Old times, they do tug at my heart. People who I’ve met and exchanged with in depth of spirit, people on the journey. They moved on; we all just moved on.

Aloha.  Aloha. I love you. You have been in my heart all this time….

Your smile… is like no other I’ve ever seen. Here at Angkor Wat. Here at the temple where I continue to worship. The temple of shadows where smiles are forged from the hearts of connection. Where we don’t need things, or even hands, to smile.

Woman with smile_Angkor Wat

Dear Children, I want to see you free… free and free….

Children at home_Cambodia

11 thoughts on “Once upon a time…when film was film

    1. Oh! Now I understand what you meant, maybe. The photo you see in this post is a print.

      The 35mm negative may be lost.

      I have a huge backlog of projects, including writing more, and attending to archival retrieval. The print that I submitted was sent to the National Press Club. I received the print back (after the show at the gallery) but it got damaged during moves, and subsequently was tossed. Is that what you meant?

      ❤ Ka

      1. It was both of them that they kept. It was for a group exhibit called, “Through the Voyager’s Eyes.” Apparently aside from the National Press Club gallery in Washington, DC., the exhibit also toured Laguna Beach, Ca. Neither place was accessible to me at the time.

        So Cool!

        Thank you for clarifying your question!

        As a result, I’m happy to see that I was able to track down some more information, even if I’m not sure if it was one photo, or both, that were displayed.
        Actually, I am now remembering at the time this was an issue, because my letter doesn’t say which works they displayed. I think when I wrote this post, I was thinking it was only the one: the one of the woman with no hands.

        Nevertheless, they both share equal importance to me as a photographer! I suppose the other photo may have its own post written about it one day, or maybe it’s just time to move on, and/or both: move on and it gets its own post.

        Suffice it to say, I am potentially not a “realist” photographer like Jacob Riis. Or, hah! even a photographer at all…


        Do I have to be constantly taking pictures to be considered a photographer? I’m happy enough one of my photos was on a wall – even that made me pretty shy (like the way blogging makes me feel uncomfortably shy, but I do it anyways).

        I have the same questions about art. Am I still an artist because I made art for the first 15 years of my life? What do you think?

        I remember after touring the the world, I didn’t want to photograph anything. I used to feel that ‘photographing’ took me out of the situation, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to be more participatory. We shall see. Time to step back and see. 🙂 It’s just a way of being. Every season, turn turn…

      2. Once an artist always an artist. I painted and did craft projects for the first 45 or so years of my life. Now my creative energy all goes into photography and writing. If you consider yourself a photographer then you’re a photographer. And just because you’re not making art at the moment does not mean you’re not an artist. I’m only just beginning to consider myself a photographer and writer. I’m really conscious of the need to experience a situation as well as photograph it, though it’s not always possible. Kudos for even being part of a National Press Club selection.

      3. Thank you, Alison.

        Let me add, once a blogger, always a blogger. Once a photographer, always a photographer. Once a massage therapist, always a massage therapist. (and yes, therapist). Once a sculptor, always a sculptor. Once a writer, always a writer. Once an astrologer, always an astrologer. Once a teacher, always a teacher. Now a Chinese medical doctor-in-the- making, and sometimes reluctantly. Now a student.

        Now more alive than ever. Now everything is as perfect as it can be seen by the one who witnesses. Now sight. Now passion. Now devotion.

        I am grateful for your visit here. You have helped me tap into something 😉 Plus the pressure has been working me like a clarifying fire. I was able to pick up my guitar and play it like it was yesterday (without having to build up the necessary callouses). Once a musician, always a musician. And now I will enjoy nature, and now I will study.

        Namate _/1\_ Sister

Please drop me a petal from your beautiful self and let me know that you visited :)

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