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.