Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fear Thru A Lens

Photo: Covering a feature story on Tsunami releif in Indonesia.

When you view life through a camera, your world changes. It twists and turns in a way that can never be mapped, never defined nor labeled. The camera becomes you, and you become it--a marriage of mind and glass, a symphony of light and magic.

As a photographer, I see the world in frames, in shadows and reflections. Sometimes, the images I capture within the moment I'm in gets engraved in my peripheral mind, plays back in slow motion replays and haunt me in my sleep. I get this when I cover wars, tragedy and despair.

I started packing today for an assignment that brings me to the precipice of war--a destination that sees life not for its beauty, but for its ability (or inability) to withstand the wrath of bullets, mortars and bombs. It's a world I'd hate to live in. A world you and I can only imagine.

But as I prepared my camera, checked its glass and wiped it clean, I saw in it a reflection of myself--a mirrored image of my life staring back at me. And as I sat there, I looked into my own eyes, saw fear in it, and heard my heart beating ever so loudly.

I'm scared--but it's a different kind of fear.

I fear not for the bullets that go astray or the mortars that ricochet off mountain walls of this forbidden land, but more so, for the people I will see, the faces I capture and the cries I'll hear. I fear for the children I will meet, the way they run to me, the way they hug me and befriend me. I fear for them because I know that they have no other choice but to be there, to live life amidst terror and tyranny. I fear for them--because I know that once I return home, its their beautiful faces that I'll remember, it's their laughter and smiles that I will cherish. I fear for them, because sometimes, when I lay myself to sleep, I constantly wonder if they're still alive.

Sometimes, when you live life through a camera, you see things in a twisted and demented way. I hope what I'm writing tonight makes sense to you. I'm not sure if even I can understand myself...

Four days to departure.


Dan Denardo said...

I hear you, man. And I understand. As always, my prayers will be with you, brother.

John said...

Take care bro, wherever u r heading to.

Chase said...

and thank you for the stories you share with us.

Hillbilly Duhn said...

That has got to be the most heart wrenching, yet heart warming feeling ever. I can understand only through your writings, which are always fabulous. But I could never imagine actually feeling the grief inside myself with every job I take. I think you're doing a fantastic job, including having some fantastic strength inside yourself to continue on, even though you know deep inside your belly that the harshness of the reality is only a heart beat away...

Good luck to you my friend.

Clelia said...

I am a journalist and sometime I fell the same when I meet people who experieced tragedy


Deboshree said...

Be careful and yes you do make perfect sense.
I can only imagine how heart wrenching it will be for you but you will be one who is there..so I can't even say I know how it feels.But somehow I understand.

Try to keep the best memories with you Ron. When you sleep at night, think of the smiling faces of the children and how for a moment you brought them happiness with your presence.As for their lives, I hope nothing bad happens to them.That's what we all can do. Have faith and hope.

Take care

Sarah, The New Girl said...

I can't say I know how you feel. But I can say that you make it easy to someone to try to understand your feelings. Be sure to take care no matter what, and hopefully those smiles and laughs also make you feel lucky sometimes, because you're allowing yourself to be impacted by so many different people.

Vera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vera said...

You write from the heart, which is rare indeed. Thanks for sharing. Sending you barrel loads of blessings to help you through the day ahead.

Desert Rat said...

I'm a sissy so by the end I was crying. I wish you the best...I hadn't been in the blog world for awhile but I think of what you are up to when I see photos.

I have something to make you laugh...my grandmother died (ok not funny but no worries she is not suffering anymore) well I'm cleaning out her room and found- in it's case-with a big "polaroid wink light" a Polaroid Camera model 80B. It's heavy as far as we are concerned these days but not as heavy as anything you carry of course. ;-) It comes with a hard cover book which details how to use it and it's this funny lens that pulls out like an accordion. I don't even think it's in color. :-)

I wish you the best Ron! Hugs

SearchingSoul said...

Ron, I felt the fear you were describing as I process each word in my mind. You are a real gem of a writer, a photographer and most of all, a human being.

The people you touch are all so fortunate because you tell their stories and you bring their lives to us.

I can only send you prayers for a safe and happy trip until you return.

Sebastian said...

Did you have any idea it would be this hard, this harrowing, when you first started...? :)

The Demigoddess said...

Dude,do you really have to go on this assignment? It sounds awfully foreboding and scary. Take care and we will be waiting to read about your experiences.