Tag Archives: photographer

grandpa’s house

This might be my best photo essay ever. I love it.

I’m behind on the Sri Lanka stories, of course. Pattabhi Jois died on May 18. He was 93. I’m beginning to feel like the trip will fade out of memory if I don’t write it soon.

It’s not a matter of procrastination but a lack of time (as usual). Any free time I have outside of work, teaching, and teacher training has been spent culling over a hundred CDs worth of images—in the end over 9,000 files. They were burned over time so everything was in chronological order, and I wasn’t sure what exactly was there. Now everything is ordered by place and topic, so I can find it and I know what I have.

oomoot
photo from forgotten essay on Oomoot, a center for the elderly in kyrgyzstan

In the process, I found photos I’ve totally forgotten about. Essays shot but never edited. Because after the work day (and school, and whatever else keeps me busy), there was no time. I did manage to put this photo essay on my grandpa’s house up last week. Though the images are from scanned contact sheets in plastic sleeves—scratchy with imprecise exposures—the result might be my best essay ever.

When I was almost finished going through the images (I began in February, a few weeks before Sri Lanka), I blew out my OS by hitting the power cord while installing software updates last Friday. Lost all the info (it was backed up, of course—in more than one place) but it’s been a nightmare time wise. Googling “restore time machine” did not give me the info I needed once the OS is reinstalled.

grandpa's kitchen. barberton, ohio, 2001
grandpa’s kitchen. barberton, ohio, 2001

(To restore a full system that’s been backed up on time machine using Mac OS X Leopard, go into applications, find Utilities >> Migration Assistant >> restore from Time Machine >> then choose your date. The only info I could find was about booting from the utilities disk, which I did not have).

That’s not quite complete. Regardless, with no time on my hands and too many pet projects in the balance, I need to redesign and reorder my website. It’s become unwieldy. I need to reorganize it, create a new home page, and use blogging software for the blog. Once again, I am overwhelmed by how much I want to do and how little time I have to do it.

This theme has gone on for years (no time!) and my desire to give time to the right places begs, as ever, to be satiated. Oh, this I must do. But how to do it, and pay the rent, is a real question.

xoA

Next: (maybe) ashtangis and other guests

how i ended up a tour guide in central asia and iran: an honest explanation

Your lynx-eyes, Asia,
spy on my discontent;
they lure into the light
my buried self,
something the silence spawned,
no more to be endured
than the noonday heat of Termez.
It is as if into my consciousness
all of pre-memory
Like molten lava pours,
As if I were drinking my own tears
From the cupped palms of a stranger’s hands.

Anna Akhmatova
Tashkent

I was twenty-seven and a photographer. I’d just finished shooting a guide book (below) which required over one hundred and fifty shoots in only six weeks.

Exhausted, I made deadline, packed up my Queens apartment, and took off for Tashkent to start work as a tour guide in Central Asia.

Unhappy with freelance work in New York, I wanted to build my travel photography portfolio, and what better way to do that than all-expense paid travel as a guide? There are better ways.

How an American woman lands a job in Uzbekistan with an Australian travel firm is quite simple. I’d worked in Lithuania and traveled extensively in the European ex-Soviet Union; I’d also traveled and photographed a good deal in India and Pakistan. These regions are perfect preparation for Central Asia.

Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the tourists, not even my inconsistent Australian boyfriend, Mario.

Mario got me the job, of course. We know that in our world a person does not get a job on merit alone. Mario worked as a guide and recommended me to his boss. He would meet my flight in Tashkent, and show me around. Luckily, we would not work much together, but might see each other every few months. He was to train me, and then take off for a tour into Pakistan. At that time on the plane, I wasn’t sure how I felt about that—or about him for that matter. I knew on a very deep, quiet level that I was still unwilling to heed, that our relationship had ended a year earlier, not long after it began. On a very loud and demanding level, I knew that I was tired of freelancing and the super-trendy city life I never went in for, which was too much a part of my photo assignments. Clearly, I wanted this Uzbekistan job. And so, after months apart, when Mario suggested we get back together, I shut down the quiet little voice and agreed.

It does sound obnoxious, but I wasn’t consciously so mercenary; I did want to love him and make the relationship work.

[This was written in retrospect in 2004, but is posted here in chronological order of events.]

next: shakhimardan

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