Archive for May, 2006

Good Ending to a Beginning

There are moments in life when the disappointment and trouble of getting ones point across becomes invisible.
As a photographer, there are times when it feels like no one is my audience, or times when the photographs I’m connected to go unnoticed too often.
At a recent exhibition of my work, the mayor of Amman, Jordan, chose to purchase an image I felt strongly about. It was an image that whispered. It spoke to me more than it would or does to others, or so I thought.

Invitation to Exhibit

Schools of Pigeons

Fish swim in schools that sway back and forth like the leaves of a tree in wind. It’s beautiful to watch and mesmerizing to think about why hundreds of fish move in unison in one direction, and then without seeming cause they switch and flow flawlessly in the reverse.
A friend and I watched today as a group of pigeons made their way like a school of fish across the sky. They would dart one way and then the next unpredictably. Who makes these decisions? Which bird sends the group flying in these directions? Does it make a sound? Does it tilt its wing and the rest quickly follow?

In the Order of Ants

In the ant farm-like disorder of Amman it can often be overwhelming walking down the street. Just down the way from my apartment a small piece of land looks across at the sprawling erratic placement of blocky, cement homes that roll out over the hills that compose this city. There’s something calming about this view. It’s like watching a thunderstorm pass by in a distant field.
An ever-smiling boy often greets me on my walks down the hill into town. His bright innocence and spark of life gives me hope every time I see him. This time he was hiding in the grass while trying to catch ladybugs.

Tax Free Tranquility

At times the turquoise blue waters of the Red Sea are as tranquil and warm as bath water. Dust from the nearby deserts hangs in the air and gives the scene an apocalyptic quality.
From where I stand looking down on the local’s horse sift through the sand, the beach is being cleared of tents that locals have erected to house tourists. The government is making way for, what they claimed as they removed us from our tents, “big hotels.”
Where the horse now stands in the shade, a European will one day soon sit beneath an umbrella sipping on an overpriced cocktail in a closed off beach area. The beaches will be the property of hotels like the Hilton, Movenpick and Intercontinental. Locals will have to pay $25 for access.
Aqaba, where this beach roles itself out along the coastline, is a tax free zone; it’s perfect for foreign investment. The government here, like in other developing countries where tourism is a temptation, says this will bring jobs and money into the Jordanian economy.
Hotel complexes being build here have already denied me access to photograph the builders because they are from Egypt (cheaper labor) and not Jordan.
If taxes are low or based only on a small percentage of profit and not property, if jobs are going to the lowest bidder, and if all these hotels are owned by foreign companies, how does this help locals?