Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Approaching light

A grim prospect is what we learn of the future once we touch base with reality. The biting bitterness of it chokes as it challenges us to at least try to live life one day at a time. To be underwhelmed instead of being caved in by the vastness of such tainted tapestry that lies barefaced before us--the inequality, the injustice, the wanton greed, the tolerability, the complicity, the cynicism of it all.

At 33, Kevin Carter (1961-1994) , took his own life months after winning the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for a haunting Sudan famine picture. In March 1993 Carter made a trip to southern Sudan with intentions of documenting the local rebel movement. However, upon arriving and witnessing the horror of the famine, Carter began to take photographs of starving victims.

The sound of soft, high-pitched whimpering near the village of Ayod attracted Carter to a young emaciated Sudanese toddler. The girl had stopped to rest while struggling to a feeding center, wherein a seemingly well-fed vulture had landed nearby. He said that he waited about 20 minutes, hoping that the vulture would spread its wings. It didn't. Carter snapped the haunting photograph and chased the vulture away. However, he also came under heavy criticism for just photographing — and not helping — the girl:

"The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering
might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene."

I may not share his detractors' criticism (who, sadly, may have uglier motives for the bile words) but what does not escape is the thin line drawn where our intolerance ends and where our complicity begins. The same photo would later inspire part of a more home-based painting by Joey Velasco. But whether its true message hit the spot, there's no telling. Sometimes, the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Still here...for now

"It's all downhill from there, baby. No more looking back."

Dead was something I sincerely promised I would be once I turned 33. Five months ahead and I would have reneged on that vow. Spoke to friends and some acquaintances, and it turned out I am not alone in this pilgrimage of sorts, a journey towards oblivion. Or to some of them, simply a fear of the unknown, or of being a virtual unknown.

But personally, it was simply embracing the inevitable.

You must be asking why. Try reaching 30 first.