Archive for November, 2005


Caption: Jordanian police guard the shattered entrance to the Grand Hyatt hotel in Amman, Jordan approximately an hour after a suicide bomb was detonated in a restaurant at the rear of the main lobby.

I had heard about the bombing one hour after it happened and rushed to grab my equipment and get to the Hyatt, which is about a 10 minute run from my apartment. At this point army and police personnel has blocked off an area of about two blocks surrounding the hotel. I needed to get closer to get photographs, so I took a back alley that led to the rear of the hotel and found few authorities there.
At this point I made my way around to the front and was blocked by a number of heavily armed officers. My heart was racing by now because of my disregard for the law in order to get closer, and I was worried they may arrest me or worse take my equipment.
In the chaos that continued I made my way close to the entrance of the hotel and made a few photographs before being noticed and removed. Annah had called me at this point and told me to be aware that the news reported the police were taking the film or digital cards of photographers. Luckily, after playing innocent, I was told to leave and was just sent on my way. So, I kept my distance.
Looking back on the night and my images, I realize the photographs were very reactive and impersonal. They showed my fear.


caption: Army personel rush around in front of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Amman, Jordan, where a bomb exploded in the main lobby.

Jordan has changed drastically for me in the past 36 hours. It’s a phenomenon I can’t quite understand, but when something of this magnitude occurs, there is a haze over life. Little things become irrelevant.
For the next couple days I will continue to post images from my work around the explosions. You will see these images and they may look like others you’ve seen before in the news, but know that behind every photograph innocent lives were lost, and I have for the first time seen the darkness of mankind.

Food for the Soul

Ramadan has ended here in Jordan and around the Muslim world. Some welcome the end and others say its sad to think this time only comes once a year and they will have to wait until next year for its return.
“We need spiritual time in our lives,” Omar, the storeowner down the street from me, said after I asked him about how he felt at the end of Ramadan. “There are three things that we have in life; our mind, our body and our soul. We don’t make time in our lives for our soul.”
For some the end of Ramadan means a trip to the southern city of Aqaba during Eid-al-Fitr, where families take in the warmer temperatures and all the Red Sea Coast has to offer.

Friday’s Market

Every Friday on the other side of the mountain/hill, or jebel in Arabic, a market sparks up from an empty bus station lot transforming a field of asphalt into a frenzy of human activity that, if viewed from high above, would closely resemble ants on an abandoned picnic.
Vegetables and clothing are plentiful and inexpensive. The last time we went to get tomatoes for a salad the guys refused to let us pay. We tried a number of times to hand him some sort of payment just short of throwing money at him, but he continually refused.
Just last night we had dinner with some friends and were talking about how hard it can be at times living in the Arab world. These friends were here for four months and found it hard trusting the average Jordanian. Every cab ride for them was a challenge. Some cab drivers would conveniently forget to reset their meter, others would claim the meter was broken. Every purchase at the store was a hassle, which usually ended in them getting charged double what Jordanians would pay.
The marketplace is an exercise in Arab commerce. There are those who are so overly generous one feels they must have some hidden motive. There are those who charge more for a single banana than you would pay at the counter of a convenient store in the States. But after a little practice with the language and the ways of doing business, the game of purchasing becomes almost fun.