Tuesday, 26 January 2010

[ Peace ]

Some years back I was flying from Barcelona back to Portugal and I met a guy in the airplane that was just fascinated by the journal I was carelessly writing during the flight. He was spanish, 64 years old and a top executive in a wood transformation plant.

We talked about traveling, about cities we had both seen and how to know them, and we shared the same view of it: "I just love sitting outside a coffee house, having a drink, and watching the shoes of the beautiful ladies going by..." he said with a smile, "... and luckily I don't suffer from museitys...". When I asked him, he let out a loud laugh and explained "You know, that disease that makes you spend all your time abroad looking at things that dead people did a long time ago!"...

I was getting to know a bit more of Krakow last October, walking through the jewish neighborhood, stopping in the garden benches and looking at so many different people, and then I saw a little jewish graveyard that was vandalized during the Second World War, and that was rebuilt like a giant jigsaw. All the noises from the people walking on the street just next to it became suddenly silent when I went inside, like the sounds wouldn't dare to go in there...

Most people don't like graveyards, but there's no better place to get your ideas in order, and Peace was what I found when I was leaning against the wall covered in broken head stones pieced back together, peace brought from the silence, the smells, the colors of Fall settling in, with the sun peaking between the clouds... The atmosphere was so intense I still get goose bumps just by thinking of it...

Sunday, 24 January 2010

[ Walking to the sunset ]

How to define one day?

Can we define it by the moment it started, with the blue sky spotted with scattered white cotton like clouds?... Or should we wait for the sunset, where the sun hides behind what remains of a storm cloud?... Our sunset is someone else's sunrise, so what is the limit?

Today was defined by many thoughts, by a slow start, by a road trip, by accomplishments, by lot's of thinking, by some great tunes on the stereo, by what I made of it... It was defined by the way I looked into the sun going west, and thinking about the light it would bring to the other side of the globe, and thinking about what might happen if I just walked to it...

Walking to the sunset is a hard decision to make, the hardest one ever... But hard decisions is what life is about... And it all becomes easier if it comes from you heart, if you let your courage guide you, and if you know that someone is behind you.

I can define this day: hard decisions, happy thoughts, and light persisting at the end of the tunnel...

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

[ Smoke on ]

This is the first set of pictures taken last September 13th, at the Red Bull Air Race Show in Porto. Smoke on!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

[ Sadness ]

I miss Paris...

Sunday, 17 January 2010

[ Ray of light ]

Do you know those moments when you are struggling for inspiration, trying to write something, trying to get something done, trying to make a decision?

This photo is all about the persistence of light, even when the skies are clouded... And it's just there when you least expect, the Ray of light you were searching for!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

[ Explosion of red ]

You know does times when you are sitting somewhere, looking around, a bit distracted, and all of a sudden, your eyes stop in a small detail, something beautiful and unexpected? Maybe it's nothing, maybe it's just an illusion, but once in a while, you get to capture an Explosion of red.

Taken in June 27th 2009 in Viana do Castelo.

Monday, 11 January 2010

[ Sunlight ]

One my most extensive sets of photos is the one about sunrises and nightfalls, photos I've been collecting for years, just for the pleasure of looking at the gradients of color that natural sunlight produces.

This one is a nightfall in the Montego Bay airport in Jamaica taken last June.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

[ Light Persists ]

   In the midst of darkness, light persists.
   In the midst of untruth, truth persists.
   In the midst of death, life persists.
   Mahatma Gandhi

After a rough start in the New Year, with all the emotional turmoil brought from remembering what I saw in Poland, it's time for a little break from the serious stuff, and to give an explanation I promised earlier.

The lighthouse photo was taken last July when we went for a drink with a friend in Leça da Palmeira, long before I even imagined the name for my blog. I came up with Light Persists last November 16th (yes, the date of my first post), while taking a break from organizing my laptop (and my life) spent gathering some quotations on the web that might help me make a bit more sense of life and recent events.

This quotation from the great Gandhi stroked me like a lightning, and what better name for a photo blog? Light Persists, as a photo, as an image, as a reminder that, even in the darkest of times, even in the worst possible storm, a lighthouse will appear.

This is the year when it all happens, when it all changes, when Light will truly Persist.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

[ I will never forget ]

"The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again" George Santayana

While everyone is busy with new year resolutions, I had the great news that one of my photos was published in O Mundo da Fotografia Digital, December 2009 edition. It's called [ Halt! ], and it was taken in Auschwitz, last October, during a visit to Poland.

I was talking to my good friend Vlado afterwards, and discussing what a visit to the concentration camps might do for a person... I truly believe that everyone should visit them once in a lifetime so that you can understand what went on over there, how the gravest mistake mankind ever made took place, but I also must agree with Vlado: some images I really don't want to have in my mind.

The memorial to the victims of Auschwitz - Birkenau says "For ever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity, where the nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women, and children, mainly jews from various countries of Europe."

I wont state any of the statistics that can be found over the web about the atrocities committed, instead, I'll leave you with a set of pictures that I simply call [ I will never forget ]. In order, we have the rail track leading into Birkenau camp, which is about 6,0 km long and 4,5 km wide; one of the hall ways of one of the many (too many) buildings of Auschwitz (which is really small compared to Birkenau); Block 11, the block of death; and finally inside, two pictures from one the many corridors that are filled with the faces of the human beings that endured this dark episode of mankind...

This first set of pictures of the year is not intended to darken 2010, that will be a great year, I'm sure, but it was some of the reflections I made in this past days, together with the reviewing of The Pianist, that brought all of this back.

Vlado, you were right, but here it is: I will never forget...