Research, Plan & Execute Images
So I'll talk about technology but this one exemplifies that you know? This is a dark, kind of a dark shot early in the morning, there's a line of monks lining up for breakfast. They each have a little empty bowl and they get scoops of rice - this is in Myanmar recently, like last November. But to get a shot like that means depth of field. I want as many of those monks sharply focused, that means I need to be using new technology that enables me to use higher ISO's. So this photo is something I probably wouldn't have been able to get three, four years ago, but today I can get it. So candid shots. You know, I don't really wanna sneak a photo of a port... You know if I'm this close to you and I'm trying to shoot a portrait that you don't want me to shoot, I won't shoot it, because if somebody's angry that I'm taking a picture is not worth the negative energy. So whenever I'm shooting a portrait and you'll see a lot later on in this lecture, I've already kind of non-verbally asked and they...
see the camera, and they can either yes, smile at me, and that's an okay. So that's just the way I work. It is not worth having a photo of somebody that hates the fact that I'm taking their picture. But then I'm okay with shooting distant shots like this woman in Morocco. She doesn't know it's a candid shot, there's nobody to recognize so that's within the playing field. Likely that this guy coming into the grand mosque in Mali, Africa. Beautiful structure. I wouldn't have photographed it or traveled to Mali, Africa if I hadn't seen these grand mosques made out of adobe, and it's interesting that it looks beautiful in its whimsical shape, but it's also the patterns and the textures of the walls which are embedded with wood, so that they can climb the structure and reapply clay at the end of the monsoon season, otherwise the entire structure would just melt down into a big pile of mud. In the mountains of Mali there's the Dogon culture and they define, they figure out the future of the tribe based on what they read in these skulls and shell casing. So that's kind of the, what will be remarkable about an act of faith is looking at these cultures and how everybody's different. I'm celebrating the differences but also the commonality of the human spirit, and that's kind of the hallmark of my books. Most of my books, all of my books are not really controversial, they're not graphically horrible to look at. I show positive energy even if I'm in the most impoverish places of a country. I'm showing resilience and spirit rather than poverty and degradation. That's the way I'm wired because I've got to be able to get out of bed every morning and I thrive on positive energy. If I find people are embroiled in argument or shouting at each other, I'm more likely just to drift away, 'cause I don't wanna absorb that. This is (chuckles) in as was indicated I did that show called Travels to the Edge and so one of the countries we visited was Togo and Benin - two West African countries - voodoo culture is there, and it's a shocking thing you know to watch people eat fire. But this guy just sat in the fire for about three minutes and I'm thinking, he's cremating himself in front of me! What do I do? Do I pull him out? Do I walk away? In fact after three minutes he's got up and there wasn't even marks on his pants. So I don't even know how this happens. You know it's mind over matter, I have no idea but I was there taking the picture. One time I was in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, we were eating at an Indian restaurant early on, whole film crew, and people started showing up, and over the course of an hour, there was a full-scale riot - the first one in Mongolia in history - and they burned down the communist headquarters. That was right in front of us. So, you know, navigating through the religions for this book will be, being culturally sensitive to the customs. Where I'm traveling there's a lot of things that I would do normally that I wouldn't do as I travel through the Middle East. There's a lot things you have to be aware of so just as a matter of course I'm always staying abreast of the latest news, I'm reading international news more than what's happening in my own hometown. I could care less of what's happening in my own hometown because an accident on the freeway doesn't really change my life, but what's happening where I travel next, may. So I'm really always kept abreast, I have a real global sense at this point, I have friends all around the world. And so that's the way I look at myself. I'm born and raised in West Seattle, I live in Seattle, but I'm more of a global citizen if you will, and a month ago I was giving a talk between... Before 12 hundred people in South Germany and the audience feels like they know me because I've been giving lectures in Germany for the last 20 years.