Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I have re-written this post at least half a dozen times. I can't seem to find the words that best say what's on my mind. But here goes. Funny story. I am covering the Afghan elections in Mazar-E-Sharif . I shoot a man coming by in okay light riding a donkey. Not the greatest picture but a I was really trying to make a scene setter that says "Hey everybody, I'm in Afghanistan." Watching me do this is a member of the Afghan National Police. He nods at me and asks if I like donkeys in a tone reminiscent of a friend convincing me of an ill advised trip to Mexico. I say "sure, kinda". He then asks if they have donkey's where I come from. I reply yes. He smiles and nods again before replying, "Here donkey like truck". I laugh. He laughs. I'm laughing right now. It's probably a lot funnier to me than anyone else. The point of this is that I was recently told by a friend newly dear to my heart that I am sentimental. I doubt it was meant as an insult. It was more like half critique and half compliment. At least that's how my sentimental self remembers it.

I'll own up to it, I am sentimental. I think it makes me a better photographer and a better person. For me sentiment is the fact I laugh out loud when I remember my own stories even when no one is around. Sentiment is remembering the taste of a good meal or a delicious wine and what song was playing when it happened. I have this soundtrack playing in my head no matter where I go. Sentiment is not being able to let go of a friend despite constant arguments and an inability to communicate. Sentiment has taken me all the way around the world to places I never thought I would see, to people I never would have met because I told my mother I would before she died. Sentiment calls me home sometimes to long absent friend and a distant family when I hit the wall here. Sentiment is seeing, color, shape, light, and those moments that make my pictures special to me. Sometimes my pictures wind up being special to others and that is the best sentimental feeling of all.

I am trying to focus those sentimental feelings into the energy I need to push forward in what, despite having gone through some hardships, has been the best year of my life. I usually finish the final months of my year with a bang. I produce my best work in that time. Sentiment tells me that this year will be no different.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


As always I am rambling with my thoughts here going in no particular direction. I have been here for almost a week and as a dark cloud started to cover my heart I go to meet Atta Ullah. The short version is he is a rug seller that has taken a shine to my friend, colleague, Delhi drinking buddy, and all around cool chick Line Wolf Nielsen. She introduced me to him when I mentioned I needed help with as story. Like I said, she's cool like that. He took me out showed me the market, introduced me to migrant day laborers, had tea with me, and when we parted ways he hugged me and kissed my cheeks as if I was his own son.This may have been the best day here so far. I keep saying that I'm a decent photographer but my best skill is making friends. No matter where I go people look out for me. I am trying to continue my efforts to pay the kindness forward. It's the epitome of wishful thinking to hope that the rest of my days are like this. I have a little over a week and a half until the election is behind me(more wishful thinking). Til then I'm keeping my head down and my wits about me. More later.

Atta Ullah being his charming self.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


I am out of Delhi and away from my usual downtime shenanigans. I'm back to work on my third election in the last year. I have landed in Kabul and will be in Afghanistan for the elections until August 25th at the earliest. If any of my favorite editors need an assignment covered please give a ring to either of my Afghan numbers: +93-799-244-383(primary) or +93-787-598-436(what self respecting international photojournalist only has one) or email at I am checking it a few times a day.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Note: I wrote this a week ago. I just could not post it until the NYT story ran.

In rare display of in flight lucidity I am awake through a haze of scotch and Xanax. One prescribed and one not recommend with the other. Usually I am not a happy flier. This time I find myself awake, charming and a just a bit flirty as my air hostess hands me a glass of wine and my in flight meal over my reporter as we glide along mid-way between Colombo and Delhi. I managed to pull out a few hours of sleep from my pharmaceutical induced coma before being awakened by Ritika asking if I would like wine with my dinner. Why yes my dear I would like a glass of wine. It was been a trying twelve days and a glass of wine and your pretty smile would certainly wash away some of my aches, pains, and frustrations for a trip that was only partially successful. After several days of asking we were finally given the go ahead to visit the IDP camps that house the nearly 300,000 people displaced by the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers. We spent roughly 11 hours of travel by car and five hours of waiting before being escorted by a military press handler for a little over an hour of time spent in the camp. Below is some of what I made as the aforementioned press guys screams at me to only make positive pictures. Lovely. For a better idea of the situation see Lydia Polgreen's story here. She's a pleasure to work with it, a much better writer and delivers more insight than I do. I am after all sleepy and enamored with my air hostess.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I am in Sri Lanka for the next week or so on assignment. I have been dying to make my way back here since 2006. It's been well worth the wait. I can be reached at +94 .77 . 663 .5339. I am not sure what the week after brings. If a gig comes through I will be in Southern Punjab until the end of the month. We will see.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I may be the world's worst blogger. After three weeks my Sunday is over. I took a little more time off than I intended and have been spending my time drinking, partying, eating rich food, hanging out with friends, and looking a pretty girls. To say the least I have not been shooting much. It's the polar opposite to being in a funk. I have just been letting myself live a little(okay a lot). All I have I shot recently a little more on kushti. Despite the fact that is is fun and kind of interesting I think I am moving away from it for a while. I'll revisit it later but for now my heart is telling me to get to work on something of greater substance. A long Sunday has been nice but I think it may finally be Monday and I need to get back to work.

Monday, May 18, 2009


photo by Sanjit Das

I have had a pretty busy couple of weeks. I have been to an different state every week since the start of the elections here and I am really tired. A few days ago I helped my friend Sanjit light portrait of a CEO for a matrimonial website where this picture was taken. I look like such a man of leisure lounging on his estate in this picture. The sad part is it only reminded me of how tired I am. Since I don't have an estate of my own with a pool to lounge by I did the next best thing an exhausted photojournalist could do. I took the day off. Keep in mind it is 110(f) here. II went to the pool, took a swimming class, flirted with a pretty blonde, grocery shopped for a dinner party, and had several beers and dinner with Sanjit and Suzanne.I pretty much fucked off the entire day. No archiving, no editing, no shooting, no research, just an day off. After weeks of politicians, rock throwing, flash bangs and tear gas, writing, archiving, researching, shooting, early mornings, and late nights, I think I earned a little break. Tomorrow I am back to work. Today can be my Sunday.