Monday, November 25, 2013

Nine months in the making - Part 2

Maria Jose and Carlos

The miracle of life; it is fragile yet vibrant and robust.
Stefania decided to come early, at 7 months. I had planned to do a 'christmas theme' pregnancy shoot with the family, as part of my 'Nine months in the making' project but it was not to be :). Planning is only good if you prepare for the unplanned!

The lighting inside the hospital challenged my ISO, but I think the grain adds a nice texture to the photograph and the story. The name 'Stefania' originates from the old Greek, meaning 'crowned' or 'winning'; a beautiful and fitting name indeed :). She is growing strong everyday, and hopefully will be home with her family soon. Congratulations and thanks to the proud parents!

Newborn photography

Newborn photography

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Joy to the world

It's been a busy couple of weeks, with lots of work around the house, Maya's school transition program, colds and work (IT-related and photography)!
We have survived the beginning of the Christmas season and can't wait for what's left of it.

I was reading a Tamara Lackey post on joy: This resonated inside me, because I had already drafted the title of this post, with the intention of also writing about 'joy'. Last weekend I photographed my first wedding! It was indeed a joyous occasion for many, including myself, because it felt like the beginning of something special: evolution and growth.

However, I’ve discovered that, sometimes, the prelude to special moments like these can be many times the opposite, and can paralyse us with fear; blocking us from getting to what’s on the other side: joy and well-being.

In preparation for the wedding,  I visited the garden where the ceremony was to take place; to get an idea of the location and the position of the sun, etc. It was a beautiful sunny day and there was hardly anyone around. As I got out of the car and took my first picture using my point and shoot camera, I heard someone call out to me. It was a woman sitting to the left of the garden, saying something about me taking pictures. I told her I couldn’t hear her, so she walked up to me angrily telling me not to take pictures of her. She was way out my frame, so I just said ok. It felt quite threatening, as she walked off swearing under her breath. I wasn’t sure whether to keep going or leave. I decided to stay because I was determined to do what I was there to do. I made my way around the garden, without making her feel like she was in the frame, and was able to get the pictures I needed. I drove off a bit shaken by the experience.

Two weeks later, family and friends came together in the same place, to witness the marriage of two special people; an emotional and happy occasion of which I was lucky to be part of.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dia de los muertos

Today in Latin America we celebrate Dia de los muertos, the day of the dead. In Mexico, where the tradition originated, they have extensive and colourful celebrations. Back in El Salvador, I remember relatives and friends talking about the day when they go and clean the graves of loved ones. Cemeteries are a real buzz that day! My most vivid memory of a cemetery is from 1989, if my memory serves me correctly. It was Saturday 4th November, when, as part of our local choir we actually sang mass at the cemetery. This was in the metropolitan area of San Salvador, somewhere in Ciudad Delgado. A week later, on Saturday 11th November, the guerilla movement (FMLN) launched a major offensive against the government, which saw many cities such as Ciudad Delgado come under the control of the FMLN. My mum couldn't believe it, when the news came through, of what was unfolding - the many power outages was proof of the fact! To think that, just a week before, we had been walking through one of the areas most heavily affected by the conflict. Luckily for us, the local army base left the town as they had been warned, and as a result, the guerillas had no enemies to fight. We only suffered from lack of water and electricity. At a funeral service yesterday, the celebrant recited that one needs to hold on to our faith, of whatever denomination, to help the healing process. For me, it's important to hold on to the traditions of our ancestors, which are now part of our culture. Our culture gives me comfort and a sense of timelessness and heritage, that our children will inherit and be proud of.