Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sophs' reflections #1

My style is very different to everyone elses, and it's copied from my blog, but as I am enjoying writing the reflections I'll post them here as well....


“In his darkroom he is finally alone
with spools of suffering set out in ordered rows.
The only light is red and softly glows,
as though this were a church and he
a priest preparing to intone a Mass.
Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh. All flesh is grass.”

For the time I have been home, lines from a poem have kept running through my brain. Invading my thoughts, my dreams. Half forgotten lines keep summing up my feelings, as I remember sitting in a classroom several years and a million miles away, flicking through a GCSE text book and reading “War Photographer” by Carol Ann Duffy. For as long as I can remember I have yearned to travel to the broken places, to see people and to tell their stories. From an early age I would see images of a warzone on television and want to go there. For me, the poem War Photographer summed up those desires.

I was not really photographing a war, none of my photos are shocking images of suffering, but images of resiliance, of life despite the unofficial war happening around them. And I look at those images, at the children who asked me to take their photo, and remember the conversations, the words of welcome from strangers, in English and in Arabic. And I remember the pain I felt as I saw them living their lives, whist all this hate was going on around them.

“Rural England. Home again
to ordinary pain which simple weather can dispel”

And I am home again, and everything I thought was important has shifted somewhat, it is still important, but somehow telling the stories that run through my mind is more important. But it is also a near impossible task. There are so many memories, so many people I met, so many images I carry in my minds eye that I cannot express them all, and as such find it hard to tell any.

“Something is happening. A stranger's features
faintly start to twist before his eyes,
a half-formed ghost.”

Most of the pictures I took in Palestine were of the people, mostly of soldiers and children, Israeli soldiers, Palestinian children. And behind each picture is a story, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes a thousand words is needed to show the truth behind a picture

“From the aeroplane he stares impassively at where
he earns a living and they do not care.”

From the aeroplane I looked down across the darkening sky and saw the world from a new hight, I couldn't see the borders, the tanks, the bombs, the wars. But they were there, I could remember them. And I wanted people to care. And I’d like to tell my stories, but only if you'd like to listen.


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