After overtaking Japan to become the number two economy in the world, it seems it’s time for China to set it’s sites on it’s next conquest. Producing this year’s winner of the Ms Universe contest. Apparently winning the Donald’s beauty contest is such a priority, a training camp was set up to teach contenders to walk, talk, smile, use make up, and have that killer instinct one needs to win this coveted crown. It’s hard not to be tongue and cheek about it when I kind of felt like I was in boot camp. A perfumed, lip glossy kind, but still a sort of boot camp.
- Tsuyako Ito, 84, a geisha since she was 14, sits in the rubble next to her home inKamaishi, Iwate prefecture, Japan, Thursday, April 7, 2011. Mrs. Ito was forced to flee her home as she was carried on the back of a fan after the March 11 tsunami and earthquake that devastated northern Japan. Photo by Keith Bedford for Stern
- A woman walks past a by destroyed tanker ship March 22, 2011 in Kesennuma, Japan. Eleven days after the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan that left thousands dead with still many missing. Presently the country is struggling to contain a potential nuclear meltdown after the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant was seriously damaged from the quake
- Rescue workers remove bodies from a washed out motorway in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, Japan more than a week after the area was hit by a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, Sunday, March 20, 2011. With over 1700 people missing and over 400 dead, Rikuzentakata, having the greatest human loss in the prefecture with nearly 10% of it's population, has an active body search and recovery mission.
- Residents warm themselves by a fire at an evacuation center in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, Japan more than a week after the area was hit by a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, Monday, March 21, 2011. With over 1700 people missing and over 400 dead, Rikuzentakata, having the greatest human loss in the prefecture with nearly 10% of it's population, has an active body search and recovery mission.
- The remains of a house floats in the river March 22, 2011 in Kesennuma, Japan. Eleven days after the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan that left thousands dead with still many missing. Presently the country is struggling to contain a potential nuclear meltdown after the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant was seriously damaged from the quake.
- Families and relatives of the dead cry as they identify their family members at a temporary burial ground March 25, 2011 in Higashi Matsushima , Japan. Under Japanese Buddhist practice a cremation is the expected traditional way of dealing with the dead but now with the death toll so high crematoriums are overwhelmed and there is a shortage of fuel to burn them. Local municipalities are forced to dig mass graves as a temporary solution. Two weeks after the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan the death toll has risen to 10,000 dead with still thousands missing and the expectation is that it will end up well over 20,000.
Since being back in New York I rarely go anywhere without my camera. I get mocked for it all the time since I usually wind up dragging my whole kit(laptop, the works) with me. It sucks but it's worth it to have my stuff at my fingertips. The other night I was out drowning my sorrows with friend and fellow photog Holly Picket at a karaoke bar when we came across drunk girls ushering one of their own from the single life to marriage. All off key but happy as clams. What better way to celebrate one of life's milestones than to drink until the sun comes up and sing off key for complete strangers?
Since being back in New York I am struggling to not only do good work but do work that does good for the community here. I got to do a piece for the NYT on a swim class for juvenile offenders. As the class instructor put it, these are the kids that need the most TLC. Not a bad afternoon of shooting. I had the added challenge of make pix with out identifying any of the students for legal reasons. Hopefully I've managed to do that and won't be taking any awkward calls from the Department of Juvenile Detention.
I turned 40 the other day and to my surprise it didn’t hurt a bit. I put on my Converse All Stars and they were still my favorite pair of shoes. I put on my Ipod and found out I still like rock, rap, and punk music. I put my cameras to my eyes and realized that people pay me to do something I would do for free and that’s exactly what I did with the day. Since I am in Bangkok for a short break to change my visa I celebrated the day by shooting protesters trying to force new elections. No point in being idle(see above). It feels good to be young.(I also stayed out til 4AM and partied with new friends. All work and no …..well you know)
I am shooting a feature on coal mining in the state of Jharkhand and to my surprise I lost my phone. Sort of. For those that know me this is far from a surprise. It’s an expectation. In two years I have gone through five blackberries, an Iphone, and half a dozen misc. gateway phones. Every few months I a scurry about trying to recover phone numbers as I can never remember to back up my phone book. At least this time I’ve done that. It’s been nearly 24 hours that I have been untethered to the world outside of my current surroundings. It’s the longest I have been without a phone since I was a teenager. It’s weirdly relaxing to know that no one can reach me(other than by Skype, email, or AIM that is and only when I am at the hotel) for the next two days. I am spending my time wandering open coal fields and meeting nice people as I learn about life in Jharkand where nearly 400,000 people are supposed to be moved off of land that sits on top of burning coal fields. I’m not looking to see if I missed a call or a text. I’m taking my time to make pictures and not stressing about my visa or where my next assignment is coming from. I am focused on my surrounding and realizing how lucky I am not to have to live like this. My issues with visas, work, money, and my future are pretty trivial in comparison. I tend to take for granted that I am loved, nurtured, and get to do what I’ve wanted to do since I was 10 years old. I just wish I did not loose another phone to remind me of that. As we wander around the question is posed to Rajan our fixer about toilet and sanitation issues facing the village we are shooting. What he says me makes me chuckle since he delivers his answer so sweetly and matter-of-factly. It turns out one person’s bath room is another’s blog title.