photography • field recordings • world music • subconscious
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About This Blog

Recording a binaural album of Ratan and Bittut in a small tabla shop ~ Gobindhagonj, northern Bangladesh. Photograph courtesy of Adnan Wahid

We all have passions. The magical part in this human equation…we can have many.

Primarily, the purpose and passion in this life is that I’m a photojournalist.

Additionally, I consider myself a humanist. An incessant traveler. A persistent musician. Frequent dabbler in carpentry. Spring and summertime, an organic farmer. Throughout the year, a caretaker with my wife Anastasia of 30 hens on a 150-year-old farm located in the hills of the southern Berkshires of Massachusetts. A father of three and a caregiver of two dogs.

Always boiling near the surface is a reclusive ethnomusicologist.

It’s the last in this somewhat long list that tends to drive my subconscious, and connects to the passions that pushes my purpose for social change and cultural understanding.

Images create sounds in the mind. Sounds creates images in the mind. Both are wonderful individually. Together, they can be profound.

In more than 25 years of working behind a camera, a vast majority of that time included a microphone in hand or in ears (binaural microphones). Legions of DAT tapes, cassette recordings — even micro-cassette tapes — piled up. Listening back, they have allowed the mind to wander long after I have been removed from the location, recreating the environment, re-immersing at times even deeper from the tranquil space of the home or studio. Such solitary moments not only meant I could revisit a location, reconnect to a person or re-experience historic events, this audible record often revealed parts of the surrounding which simply were not visual to the eye.

Never did I do a great deal with these hundreds of hours of field recordings other than listen, learn and dream.

Then came the Internet.

When connection speeds were a blistering 28.8 kbps, the notion of sharing these audible experiences began to simmer. In 1999, during the Asian Economic Crisis and the fall of Indonesia’s strongman, President Suharto, I emailed  Time magazine audio files along with the photographs from an assignment, producing what I believe might be one of the first online newsmagazine photography/audio presentations. Unfortunately, the audio is no longer accessible, but it is interesting to see how audio and photography have evolved from such early beginnings.

Over a decade has past and the audio archive is nearly as organized as my film.

Without further ado, here is to your eyes, ears and consciousness.

All My Best,

 

 

 

 

NOTE: I’m a digital numbskull. None of this could have come to fruition were it not for the astonishing guidance and talent of Yudhistira Dharma, who put this blog together. Yudhistira, along with Wayan Tilik, also spent many years helping me convert all the DAT tapes into digital files as well as assisted in organizing the photographic archive. Were it not for this weighted effort (especially the part of teaching how to update WordPress), none of this could be accessible beyond my studio walls.