Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
I’ve been in El Salvador for a month now and have experienced (photographed) so many fun events and adventures with both family and friends. Life is certainly meant to be lived to the fullest, and I can honestly say that’s what I’ve been doing since arriving here a month ago. What is really making this trip special over and above getting to spend time with my girlfriend Regina is the fact that my son Adam and daughter Andei are both here with me. We have not been all together for at least 3 years and I am enjoying a wonderful reunion with them both.
I have traveled to many countries around the world over the past 20 years and I must admit El Salvador has found a special place in my heart. The people here are incredibly friendly and there are so many unique and interesting things to do and places to photograph. Since retiring last July I’ve visited and photographed 9 counties in both Eastern Europe and Central America, (See previous blog posts). There is something very special about El Salvador that has captured my heart and inspired me photographically.
Just walking around the market in Santa Tecla, San Salvador for example is an enjoyable experience with lots of photographic opportunities at every corner. Being from the United States, I’m used to things being very different as far as daily living is concerned. What captures my eye photographically may be very normal and even mundane for the people who live here. So for a photographer this Central American country is rich with cultural flavor and an abundance of unique and interesting things (people and places) to photographically explore and investigate.
Being retired has opened up so many more opportunities for me both personally and professionally. I am no longer locked into a 9-5 job requiring me to show up at some institution each and every day, Teaching art and photography online has enabled me to travel and do the things I only dreamed of doing when I was working full time.
Forest Canopy Slide for Life
One of the first exciting adventures I got to share with my daughter Andei and girlfriend Regina was the “Slide for Life” through the forest Canopy on the outskirts of San Salvador. What an incredible adrenalin rush it was to zoom through the trees in a harness and trying to slow myself down by pulling down on the cable. Needless to say, it was a “Bucket list” quality adventure and even more special having my daughter share it with.
The weekend after our Canopy adventure we were all participating in Yoga in the Park.
My son Adam’s NGO ConTextos was a co-sponsor of the fundraiser event and yours truly Captain Color and Regina Canas aka Tia Bubu led an art activity for the children at the event. Needless to say it was great fun and everyone had a terrific time in addition to the kids getting paint all over themselves.
Yoga “and Art” in the Park
There are always things to do and photograph here in El Salvador whether it’s just taking a walk through a village like Panchimalco or enjoying an afternoon hike on the beach @ El Tunco.
I am never at a loss for an adventure in El Salvador no matter how big or small. I always find things to photograph and/or participate in. Regina got a call from an art school / studio in Panchimalco concerning a day of painting with children. Needless to say Captain Color grabbed his smock and paint brushes and we headed out the door to the event.
Painting with Miguel at “Casa Taller Encuentas” Panchimalco
Festival of Flowers in Panchimalco, El Salvador
This past weekend Andei, Regina and I went to the Flower Festival in Panchimalco, a small town outside the city of San Salvador. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. These are very spiritual events and ceremonies I just don’t get to experience or photograph in the states. What really amazes me is how open Salvadorians are to being photographed and not being phased or irritated by cameras snapping away as they go about their business. There is an honest and rare earthiness to this region and its people. I tried to capture it in my photographs below.
The culmination of over 4 years of photographing in and around El Salvador came to fruition this past weekend with a photographic exhibition reception for a show called Crossroads.
The initial concept behind this photography exhibition was to show how the ordinary becomes extraordinary in the eyes of a foreigner (like myself) when taking pictures. When you visit a country you’ve never been to before you notice things (little details) that most people who live their no longer see or appreciate. My El Salvadorian friend and photographic partner for this exhibition is El Salvadorian TV celebrity, actress and excellent photographer in her own right Regina Canas. Regina came to North Carolina this past February to visit me and photograph in and around eastern North Carolina.
She was amazed for example by the rustic old mailboxes strung along the side of the country roads and highways. I had to stop on more than one occasion to let her get out and make some pictures. I on the other hand am so used to seeing these old mailboxes I never thought seriously about photographing them. This in a nutshell is what this exhibition is all about. Seeing and photographing new environments with a fresh eye for details.
The reception was a great success and the show was received very positively by all who came to the opening. Below is a video news feature (in Spanish) of the opening night at the Teatro Luis Poma in San Salvador
The exhibition will be up until June 2nd, 2013.
I am here in El Salvador for 2 more weeks and then head back to North Carolina to teach a few classes for the summer. As Arnold Schwarzenegger says.…I’ll be back!