Sunstar

DSC08398v1-XL

 

The first time I saw a natural forest was in the last elementary grade year. We, the classroom, went to Machu Picchu and it was thanks to a year of work. The economics were really bad those years in the country so we had to earn the travel.

It was a strange journey. We took the train from our city near the Titicaca Lake to the old Qosqo (Cusco or Cuzco is the wrong name given by the Spanish invaders, and the Titicaca’s real name is perhaps lost in time) We passed near a little volcano and in the night we saw Qosqo, I believed that it was the only magical city in Peru, even the night seemed populated by creatures like amarus (the equivalent of the European Ouroburos, the Chinese Long or Lung, and maybe also the mexican Quetzalcoatl) shaped with the points of the streetlights over the hills.

But when we took another train this time to Machu Picchu I wasn’t prepared to see a real forest. In our lands without many trees the jungle is really another world. Every tree seemed so dark like a mystery to discover, with lost cities under their copes waiting the right people to uncover them, or to see the birds with the most weird tone of red in their feathers. Although with the pass of time I’ve learnt that the most mysterious riddle is the human being, with our cities and everything we do.

Said that actually I wouldn’t live permanently in the jungle, there are a lot of mosquitos, insects and a lot of heat, lol.

A brick in the heaven

DSC09199v1-XL

I like to go upstairs and see the sky. It seems that there is not much people there, in their rooftops, seeing instead landscapes in internet or tv.

Thinking about that I don’t remember a customer that had asked me for a window to see the moon when it arises from the volcano, or not even a bedroom with a view to the sunrise (and that’s a healthier room by the way).

I guess that today the people windows aren’t that of crystal but screens in the room or even in the pocket. My understanding is that travelling is something marvelous, but not exclusively the one thing to discover a beautiful place.

The Garbage Manifesto

DSC08816v1-XL

 

Tonight I am writing about the garbage in landscape and my stance about it in photographs.

To me photography is something relatively new, I have taken photographs with cell phones, web cams and point and shots since four years ago, a superzoom two years ago and the last year I had the luck to find in internet a Sony R1 as an affordable way to play with quality raw files thus I can work on them to produce a photography closer to my perception.

I say closer to my perception and not closer to the reality because we are human beings, not machines. Our emotions and psyche modify what we are perceiving and at the same time we see the world we are changing it to our desires. For example the sun early in the morning to a happy man could mean just a signal or a medal of his good luck; but to another man in disgrace it can be the tenacious reminder of his penuries and torments. Could be that the reality is one (or could be not depending on our beliefs) but illusion or solid that reality is different for everyone.

However it is the garbage issue. I mean, today the technology allow us to manipulate this fiction so called photography. Etymologically we aren’t just writing with photons or light, but with pixels. It is a simple gesture modify the image of a girl to make her look like a Barbie (even with the plastic skin :S), rejuvenate actors and actresses of yore; even erase some dictator’s fallen in grace friends, and yes, cloning and healing to erase that uncomfortable garbage from our photos.

Months ago I discovered, using the trials of raw processors, to erase that bags, diapers, and tappers in the pretty landscapes. But I wondered if that wasn’t go to far in edit…

Let’s see this photograph, is a can in middle of the field. It was there recently cause its lack of oxide, it draw my attention because I didn’t remember an object reflecting the whole sky in its surface without interferences as buildings, poles, trees, people, cars, dogs, etcetera. So when I took the picture I tried to emphasize that idea (please, remember that I do this as a hobby, I am not a professional), I used a bit of fill flash to reduce the shadow intensity so it couldn’t compete with the can; I extended the zoom further so I couldn’t appear (contaminate) the blue surface in the can, with a camera with interchangeable lenses I couldn’t achieved that idea because the low flash synchronization, the shutter was set in 1/500 and with a fixed camera that’s a peace of cake, and after when I edited the raw file I tried to emphasize that idea: fine tuning contrast, highlights, saturation, etcetera, I am using photo ninja to edit my files, actually I chosen it in part because the files doesn’t look so artificial or manipulated but with a beautiful rendering that seems so natural, not film-like that also has an artificial, but different from digital, finish; and I choose it also because it has not tools to fake the reality upon is constructed the photograph.

So in my landscape photographs I decided to not erase the garbage, in part as a protest to the people who pollute just because they don’t live in the place they are making dirty. But also because I believe that the photography, although a subjective vision of our way of see the world, it has to tell anyway in base of the shared reality. And if something is erased I think it should be ethical to remark it.

This is a personal posture from the point of view of somebody who just likes to take photographs, I have no desire to be a professional photographer because if it were a work I don’t think it would be funny anymore. I don’t see nothing wrong if other people has another posture, in fact several photographs I like a lot are heavily modified (to me modified is different to just processed) But in my case I consider that erase anything, even something so disliking as garbage, in the borders of a photographs would be as lie to myself. Because I know that that wasn’t what I saw in first place.

By the way I used the healing and cloning tool of some programs. Firstly I took it with enthusiasm but after a couple of weeks I begun to feel that I had destroyed my photographs. After that I am happy with my editions, they are not far from I saw, in fact they are closer.

Distant borders

DSC08926v1-XL

 

Every day occurs a sunset and at the same time it’s never going to happens again.

When a child I tried to remember the details of the most extraordinary ones. I have some of them in my memory but they are things that are going to pass with oneself. There are things made to be created and after its culmination be forgotten because they are special, and in some situations I’d say they are sacral, in the human meaning; but also is true that there are things made to be shared, because would be a pity if those memories were lost in dust.

In this occasion I’d like to share this sunset with you.

Bluetheism

DSC08068-3-XL

 

I have been loved the blue colors (yep, colors) since I remember. But, like everything I try to not spend it using ad nauseam, so when I can I choose grey suits, or yellow walls, or red books, or black bags or lemon green cups. Is a haunting presage that some day I cannot see the blue with the same eyes again, see it as some ordinary color if I waste its colors in everything I could have.

I am not sure why I like it, maybe the old superman’s comics where the man, who could be the last inca, used a big electric blue costume; also there are the blues you can see when you live at 3800 meters above the sea: or who knows, could be that it was a scarce color in those days that industries has limitations and everything seemed an uniform and anonymous grey.

Heraclitus whispers to our ears that we are never going to step the same river again. Sure, but I’d love that that other river could always be blue ;-).

Valentine

DSC07367v1-XL

 

Today I went to downtown to pay a register, and noticed several couples in the street or girls going to meet their half oranges. I see that most people has some relief in celebrate this day cause is a predefined day to share some love. I haven’t a girlfriend now but at the same time I am grateful to not have a girlfriend today. Today I see as a day of compromise to obligatory do something special, although this “special” always is go to eat to some place, a red rose and the time to exhibit the (official) couple to the best places the pocket can endure.

I am not against that, in fact I understand the couples expect those rituals. But to me that ends in a never ending game of do some actions in some predetermined times and places without much heart or mind but a calendar reflex. That’s a reason to not have girlfriend today, (or to not be had for a girlfriend), like religions the custom kills the spirit.

Deckard

DSC08009-2-XL

 

It’s funny/tragic how the routine can make life long or very short in a city. If it is a big one it feels short, for example, the times to travel to a point to the other, they can last hours and ages; those periods are so long in middle of the traffic that we can dream a whole life to just forgotten it when the awakening comes.

Life can be long, but just if we can avoid the routine. The routine of wake up; eat (the same I mean); go to the work/university/institute/etcetera; if in one day we can create something, go to another place, think a moment in anything new, to know new people and discover something new in the old friends.

I don’t say that it is necessarily a requisite to be happy, I guess everyone has his/her way to be it. And even the routine can produce happiness if it coincide with an activity pleasurable to the desires. But I have the impression that the routine is an aspect that abbreviates our existence. Thus we can tell our time at school/university/work in a few sentences and perhaps two or three memorable stories.

I cannot bare so well the routine: honestly I am the type of guy that let the bus in the middle just to walk another route by myself. But actually I dislike the routine because I think is is a basic and geometrical mirror that corresponds another image more complex and complicated.

That ultimate image that appears reflected in our lives could be an illusion, actually we are free and words as destiny or doom are poor intents to justify our monotony; or could be a reality, a labyrinth triggered to grow and adapt to us, the work of inscrutable gods or an evolutive machinery.

What is the answer I don’t know, sometimes life is so short to even try to solve those questions.

Moonlight

 

DSC07355v1-XL

 

I think that to sense the architecture one needs at least two elements: light to have a spatial perception and a person to use it, not just to see it but really to use it.

The architecture is space sculpted with light. Without light is hard to have a spatial perception. And is a fact that the light changes its qualities in the day and is different at night. So the architecture is not an static mass, it moves with you across the time. I think that our reality would be more two dimensional without light, just measured by sounds and the world perceived by touch, a world of just one or two meters around us. Could be more creatures with more senses to who we are limited in our perception of the world? Right now require certain knowledge understand the real form of the universe.

And well, to this hobby to take photographs the human being give it scale, architecture without people is just something sad because sometimes it means that is a sepulture, or unfinished like an unclosed circle.

Pachamama

DSC09171v1-XL

 

In the old cultures that inhabit and populate several lands in recent and young countries as Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and parts of Argentina and Chile there are beliefs beyond any Spanish influence.

Some traditions are vanishing, for example the integration with the ecosystem, but others are stronger.

In the old days every village, town, big city or ayllu (ayllu is a group of related persons in a certain number and way of organization) was in a sacred place, not sacred in the form of a divinity because there was not the European concept of them, much less the middle east concept because our culture is at the same time matriarchal and patriarchal. Then this sacred places were more like a dear ancestor, a grandfather or grandmother, not a creator divinity. That is the reason that Spanish people and the catholic church had problems to teach us the concept of a creator God. Even today I have to admit that I doesn’t understand very well the concept. To try to “solve” it they put crosses on the top of our Apus (sacred hills, actually our ancestors), so in those times the syncretism begun in the empire, or at least on the rests of once was the Inca empire.

But there was the Pachamama, there is the Pachamama. She is more or less the concept of Gaia or the Mother Earth, if I am not wrong the sea is the male principle. If you travel to here someday, and you see that the people before to drink a beer, chicha (the equivalent of Japanese sake or Russian vodka) or other drink, spill with care a bit, actually that’s a “pay” made with affection to the Pachamama. Always, before to drink, spill a bit respectfully is almost a rule of respect. Also in other occasions, when is realizing a deal, the two parts make a “challaki”, that is an equivalent of, let’s say, a toast with champagne, in this case the challaki consists in spill with respect a bit of the first drink to the earth in honor of the accomplished transaction. That was the way I bought my last camera.

There are some traditions vanishing in the old cultures of the old empires; but some of there are stronger…

Sentinel

DSC07979-XL

 

In one page from an infinite book Borges wrote that when young he preferred the sunset more than the sunrises; but when he grow older the sunrises, with the promise of the beginning of a new life, more life, were preferable to the former.

I am not sure of that division: I always preferred dawns even when I like the sunsets and I adore the night. I had a happy childhood, indeed every child is happy even in the worst contexts, but two specific conditions made me appreciate the sunrises: the latitude near the Ecuador in the highlands in the proximities of the Titicaca Lake and the eighty’s terrorists; the first condition means that the sunsets are at 5:30pm or 6:15 pm so the sunsets are earlier than other places (although perhaps is that the hour is set with the reference of the distant coast so the difference is totally noticeable) and the second condition means that the terrorist attacks let us without electric energy, so after the sunset there was a short period with candles and finally to sleep. That was pretty normal in those years and to me and the other children in the city that was part of the life, we played, laughed, and everything a child can do in those circumstances. Actually even today I enjoy periods, let’s say a month or two in the year, without light, music nor sounds.

So, although I was sleeping deep, the dawn has a significance of more time to play, and to see curious creatures, read encyclopedias, tales and to hunt cats (there were some feral kittens that I wanted to get as pets, but they were so fast!)