Salud! Comrade Pablo Neruda!

It’s been 40 years since legend Don Pablo (Pablo Neruda) took his last breath. But still his poems have been inspiring boys & men to be dipped in love, girl & women to be felt appreciated and desired.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines...” have been a silent partner in my saddest times. Or when I read from his sonnet XVII,

…where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

it’s like a feeling that only he can transcend into words. Probably that’s the reason artist/poet like him comes few in every century or so. His writings have been iconic throughout last century and may it last till the end of centuries to come. Salud! Comrade!

From Pablo Neruda’s Sonnet XXVII:

“Naked, you are simple as one of your hands, 
Smooth, earthy, small, transparent, round: 
You have moonlines, applepathways: 
Naked, you are slender as a naked grain of wheat.

Naked, you are blue as the night in Cuba; 
You have vines and stars in your hair; 
Naked, you are spacious and yellow 
As summer in a golden church.

Naked, you are tiny as one of your nails, 
Curved, subtle, rosy, till the day is born 
And you withdraw to the underground world,

as if down a long tunnel of clothing and of chores:
Your clear light dims, gets dressed, drops its leaves,
And becomes a naked hand again. “

Here is a clip from the movie Il Postino (The Postman) which has a part of his sonnet xxvii (written above):

A tribute to Masahisa Fukase

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I was stunned…

I was overwhelmed.

They crushed my soul ….

How can some “mere” set of pixels, combination of gray dots do such a thing! I had no idea! I just kept looking at the photographs. They more I looked, the more I saw and the emptier I felt. Fukase’s “ravens” seem to have that sublime yet strong reaction.

Japanese photographer Masahisa Fukase‘s (1934-2012) book “Solitude of Ravens” is a collection of 62 black and white photographs. He started taking these photographs after he got divorced from a 12 year marriage.He was coming back to his birthplace, Hokkaido, to deal with his psychological situation. But Fukase found a subject that reflected his darkening vision, and he pursued it with obsessive relentlessness. He started photographing ravens from running trains, buses, at different stops etc.In Japanese mythology, ravens are disruptive presences and harbingers of dark and dangerous times His photographs of ravens were published as a book for the first time in 1986, photos edited by Akira Hasegawa. He says, “masahisa fukase’s work can be deemed to have reached its supreme height; it can also be said to have fallen to its greatest depth. the solitude revealed in this collection of images is sometimes so painful that we want to avert our eyes from it.” According to British Journal of Photography, his book remains the best photo-book in last 25 years (1986-2011).

He got remarried to someone else and divorced again. But he was still in ruins from his lost love. During one evening of 1992 he was too drunk, he fell down and had severe brain injury. He had been in coma for last 20 years until June 9,2012 when his body finally gave up.

During these days, Yoko, his lost love, looked after him. She says,“He remains part of my identity; that’s why I still visit him.”

Some good reads about Fukase:

claxtonprojects | reflets de lumiere | avesnoir

Dr. Basma Moussa : The Wonder Woman

Portrait of Dr. Basma Moussa- Baha'i Activist

“Hi, I have heard about your contribution toward Baha’i community in Egypt and I am doing a photographic project on that. Can we meet and talk about it?” , I asked. She made some adjustments with schedule and said, “Do you know the Cairo Opera House?”. “Well, I don’t know exactly but I do have google map in my phone and I can surely find it.”, I replied.

 That’s how our first conversation started and with time we became wonderful friends. She, with her strong yet charming personality, with her hospitality and her vast knowledge about everything(!) earned my respect in no time. But what amazed me most, was her dedication to her society, nation and mankind as a whole! I couldn’t help asking her once, “Is your day made of 48 hours?”

I won’t be exaggerating, if I say, she made my first attempt with the project and stay at Egypt worthwhile. I have been quite busy after coming back from Egypt and it’s high time to pay respect to the one that I owe most. This post is to convey that I feel honoured to meet her. And I hope to visit her again, soon. And, of course, I am eagerly waiting to see her mother & daughter as well. These three are three wonders from three generations.

This is a link to her blog where she has been writing for last 6 years. It’s practically an Encyclopaedia- not only about Baha’i faith but also about life and humanity as a whole.

All my Baha’i friends in Egypt whether senior or junior were the people who were the reason behind me going on with this project and having a decent start. Mr. Abdel Baset & his family, Mr. Bahaa Abdel Rahman, my friend Bahaa & his family, Osama & his family- they accepted me as their dear ones and it’s been a great honor to be with you all. Alaa Sami – buddy will see you soon too and of course Shady Samir for being a wonderful help. Ciao.

Misr Memoir: Cairo Streets

First few days in Cairo were hectic. New country, unknown language, everything in exaggerated size ( i mean food of course) and what not! But as the days passed, we learnt what to do and what not to do. This is during that transition phase while we tried to get used to the streets of Cairo. This is the first outcome of the workshop or I may say “the warm up”s edited by our workshop instructors Philip Blenkinsop & Max Pam.

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Misr Memoir: Workshop Habibi-s

During the workshop which was being organized at Cairo, Egypt by the collective effort of CIC (Contemporary Image Collective)-Egypt, OUC (Oslo University College)- Norway and Pathshala- South Asian Media Institute- Bangladesh 30 enthusiast photographers from different school of thought emerged in one common platform and shared their views and ideas.

I planned to take everyones photos in the form of a typological portrait series and put them in my blog. So, this is for my photomates of the workshop, for those HABIBIs.

P.S. : The photos have been arranged in alphabetical order of the names. Photos are from different films (Kodak Gold 400, Kodak Ektar 100 & Kodak Portra NC 400) & have been developed from different places, mostly from Egypt. Hence the difference in color tone.