MONDAY BACK FROM THE DEAD

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For months I’ve been a bad little blogger. Again. I’ve spent the last few months trying to sort out a visa for India, gone to Haiti(again), covered elections(again), and moved around the world(again). Throughout it all, I’ve neglected to blog. I started this thing to share my work and clear my head. Kind of like an online after action report. I’m still trying to work out the kinks and be more efficient with it. It’s a one of my New Year’s resolution. That and run in the New York City Triathlon. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway….. After half a year in I am off to a new city and new country. I am now in Beijing for the forseeable future. While I miss India, my firends, colleagues, and Diwali and want to go back more than I ever imagined,  I have had enough of being in j-visa limbo. I am still holding out hope and am planning a trip there in the spring but in the meantime I can find new bureaucrats to drive me nuts.  While I enjoyed my most recent time in New York but my heart is here in Asia. If I can’t be in one rapidly growing Asian country of 1 billion I guess I’ll have to settle for the other rapidly growing Asian country of 1 billion.

I’ve had  had the good fortune to work with Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal since getting to Beijing earlier this month. This week I got to work a story on farmers who are stockpiling their harvests of cotton in hopes that the prices will rise back to the record high from a few moths ago before a sharp drop just recently. With a year of inflation and higher costs for fertilzer and labor it’s easy to understand what motivates them. Growing up I spent my summers working on my grandparents’ farm, so I’ve always had a place in my heart for farmers. I can empathise with them on how much it costs to work the land especially in a season of drought. It’s been tough on them. Many of them seem hopefull that there will be a rebound in the coming months. In the mean time they are storing the stuff in backyard closets and even living rooms. Check out the WSJ Photo Journal piece here. If you want to read the story click here.

I’m adjusting to being here slowly but surely. I hate the cold and not knowing Mandarin but there’s good stories to be told. I am getting on to telling some of them.

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HEN NIGHT

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?
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SWEAT : MAKING THE WATER A COMFORT ZONE for NYT

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.



MAD MEN( AND WOMEN) TAKE TIMES SQUARE

Ahhh, the 1960’s. I’m talking the early 60’s when ladies in swanky dresses and guys in sharp hats, natty ties and suites were strolling the block. Last night there was screening of the 1960’s era show Mad Men in Times Square and it brought out the sharply dressed. It was probably the nicest night weather wise since I got back to New York so it added to the charm. It was a good night to get dressed up and take your girl to a show on the Great White Way. The tough part was framing an image with out a fat guy in cargo short and an Abercombie and Fitch t-shirt. How we came from suites and ties to that I’ll never know.

40

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)