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....

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“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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