Archive for October, 2005

In the Name of Vanity

A fashion among woman here in the city of Amman is a fierce and never ending battle with nature’s tendency towards chaos. Their hair is to be as straight as hot air and constant tugging will allow.
I watched as Annah’s beautiful curls were molded into the monotonous mane of conformity at our neighborhood salon. Our friend insisted, and the process took a good hour and a half.
Woman here endure this once a week indefinitely, or until fashion shifts. It is times like these when one wonder’s why woman sacrifice so much comfort and finance for vanity.

Tea Time

Tea is served more here than I would imagine in most parts of the world. This image was made from a window of the Fulbright office in Amman, Jordan.
Photographs like these are ways for me to record what I would paint at a later time. Not that I’m a painter, but if I were I think this is what I would paint. Some say phtography is “painting with light.”
Simple objects such as lemons next to a glass of tea, when placed in a certain context with the right amount of light, give a relaxed feeling when just looking at them. Potentially a photo brings the comfort and relaxation of a warm cup of tea and rays from the morning sun into the viewer’s body. At least this is the feeling the image gives me.

Babylonian Wedding

As much as most of us think of the Arab world as being Muslim, there is a large Christian population here in Jordan that peacefully coincides with the majority Muslim population.
This photograph was taken at a marriage in one of the most influential Christian families in Jordan, the Rabadis. The bride was a recent college graduate from Lebanon and the groom was a considerably older Jordanian.
The wealthy Christian weddings here are theatrical extravaganzas where money is not an issue. This particular wedding reception took place in one of the fanciest hotels in Jordan-Le Royal—which was built to resemble the Tower of Babylon (you know, the one that God destroyed?). There was a film crew that projected live footage from the whole celebration up on large screen around the reception hall. Going to the dance floor meant flaunting your moves in front of nearly 300 attendees, and these folks went to the dance floor. Dinner wasn’t served until midnight and supposedly the dancing goes all night long. We checked out just after dinner.

Sensual Beige

To give an example of the artwork from the region I picked one of my favorites. The composition and the empty space of muted beige is somehow soothing. The bare back and the body language of the woman is a bit sensual for this region, which is why I think I like it. Let me know what you think. Click here if you want to visit the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts. It’s a nice looking site.

Palette of Sand

According to some, civilization started in this part of the world. Humans evolved, if you can set aside the intelligent design propaganda, and began to quickly spread out around the globe. But from here it is said that it all started.
After thousands of years of human existence in this region and constant overuse of the land and its resources, we come to the present state of the Middle East; a dry and desolate region I would in places compare to astrological photographs from Mars.
The landscape is a mundane mix of browns. Sand if mixed enough with different parts worn soil can form a palette of monotonous earth tones. These earthy tones were inspiration for this photograph.
In the museums just down the street from my house there are paintings from around the region. It’s not hard to see that the only colors needed for the painters in this area are usually a good dark brown, some black to darken things up, and a bit of white to lighten the sand color. When you see this work you realize how important an environment is on the psyche of the individual.
For those interested in one a the real reasons this part of the world is in such a state of unrest, look into Daniel Hillel’s book on water shortages in the Middle East and who controls this precious resource. The books name is the “Rivers of Eden: The Struggle for Water and the Quest for Peace in the Middle East,” and it’s hard to find, but I happen to find it in the DC library.
If you learn the truth about the region it’s hard not to care.