I have generally been staying out of the elements during this extended Minnesota spring. However, one week ago the sun returned to the north country, warming us all, and Minneapolis took to the streets to welcome the change of seasons. The annual May Day Parade to Powderhorn Park found me in my element, shooting freely with the Black Label Bike Club and friends…here are a few of my favorites from the glorious day.
Minnesota Monthly’s new travel guide for summer 2013 features a number of my images…out on newsstands now!
Last autumn, I got a call from art director Jeremy Nelson of Minnesota Monthly to see if I would be interested in shooting a project for them called “Fall Drives” over the coming weeks. Essentially, the assignment was to travel throughout Minnesota along scenic routes and explore the splendor of fall…the winding roads, historic sites, small towns, restaurants and bars, and whatever caught my interest along the way. The journey that ensued provided freedom and time to get to know the state I call home, truly, for the first time in my life…from Lake Superior and the Iron Range in the north, to the Mississippi river valley, to Amish country in the south. This was my opportunity to connect with and see the land of 10,000 lakes anew. I slowed down to talk with people in main street cafes…took the time to drive to overlooks and walk in fields at harvest time…always aware of my place, the season, and the changing light. The story is out now, so please be sure to pick up a copy on the newsstands!
Geoffrey Hiller of Verve Photo recently featured an image from the “Oro Win” series…for the story, please take a look here.
Sun and warmth have brought forth new life here in Minneapolis…I’ve been enjoying the transition to summer and traveling on assignment with UNICEF in Mexico of late. As a matter of fact, work with NGOs and non-profits is one of my favorite realms in which I operate as a photographer. During this recent project in Mexico City, which was commissioned by UNICEF UK, the wonderful staff from UNICEF Mexico furnished me with some of the new printed materials they designed with my work since the last trip down. Here’s a sampling from the 2012 calendar, as well as the cover of the book they recently published…all photographs were created in Oaxaca and Chiapas…
Upon covering my head and washing my feet, I stepped through the threshold and was overcome by peace. There was a tranquility and reverence in the air, as the voices of priests resonated in Punjabi in waves from the loudspeaker. For Sikhs, the Golden Temple is the holiest place on Earth. Devout pilgrims arrive from all over the globe to bathe in the sacred waters of the “Pool of Nectar”, meditate on the parkarma, and prostrate in prayer while chanting mantras.
The white marble parkarma forms a walkway around the holy pool of water, Amrit Sarovar, in which the actual temple, Hari Mandir Sahib, rests at the center. The dome of the temple is said to be gilded with 750 kilograms gold. While the ornate architecture and décor are quite impressive, it appeared that something deeper was drawing the masses. Perhaps it was their hunger…on a number of levels.
All Sikh temples have Langar or free food, and the Golden Temple is no exception, preparing over 50,000 meals daily, often double that number during festivities. At all hours of the day, one can enjoy a meal of lentils, kheer, and chipati or cup of sweet hot tea. As I ate the nourishing and simple food with hundreds of others, sitting on the floor in rows, all equal, there was a very real sense of sharing, inclusiveness, and community.
As intended, everyone, irrespective of cast, creed or race is offered a place to seek spiritual solace and religious fulfillment…
My Grandmother and I have developed a wonderful friendship in recent years, a bond that I will cherish forever. Her acute mind, clever wit, humility and selflessness are aspects of her being which I hope to embody in my own life. She was dedicated to serving others, with love, in her speech, thoughts and actions.
Our conversations were always honest and never forced…there was a nice, natural, quality about sharing with one another. We would listen to old time music on the porch together and sip wine. We watched the Twins play baseball. We played card games. We dined around town. With age, she grew ever more open to life…
She talked about her years as a young woman, of life out on her own for the first time. Of meeting my grandfather. Of war and separation. And, of their move to St. Paul to begin a family and new life in Minnesota. It was as if these moments happened yesterday, they were crystal clear in her mind. I would tell her my ideas for stories and share my pictures of the world with her. She would tell me about what she had for lunch or her recent trip to the Goodwill (where she styled the models for the vintage fashion shows). I massaged her stiff, tired feet. She always helped me to get to the airplane on time. Oftentimes, we simply sat in silence, in the present, together.
These pictures from our days together come straight from my heart. Two weeks ago today, Louise left her body, in her own home, just how she would’ve wanted…surrounded by her family and much love. Click here to see the gallery on my website.