Gift 2 by J. Neil Garcia

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Lost in the sea’s
unforgiving blue,
I seek you.
Before me
the day unscrolls
its naked scripture:
sun, vision’s burning field,
islands, faint presences
crumbling in the distance,
water, the fickle immensities
life is made
constant by.
And it strikes me
I love the sea
because it borders
this suffering world
and the next:
the soul, it is said,
travels in a boat
from a winding inland river,
homing clear-eyed
toward the ocean–
which is the bottomless
beyond.
And I know:
here, upon this beach,
wash the crushed remains
of what was once mortal:
bone and kelp,
driftwood and tentacle,
porous red coral–
keepsakes
life leaves behind
before
dissolving
back to brine.
I am home here, then,
whom the world
never loved,
and from its torn edges
I can almost see
it all end:
an onrushing tide,
a radiant sea-swell
sweeping away all appearance,
gentle eddies
whittling the self
till it is no longer
even sand.
I think of you
landlocked and lost
in another element–
your body.
The sea teaches me
love is a wish
not for safety
but for destruction.
I am not ashamed
to admit it:
I love you
the way water loves.
Which is to say
I wish the world
were through with you,
so you could return to me
ravaged, upon this shore:
a shell
held tight
inside my palm.

A Curve in the Sky

Blog, Photography, Travel

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I left Lisbon almost suddenly. My lease was up in a week, and my internship at Terratreme had just finished. Winter was leaving. I knew it because I began to sweat profusely during my bike rides to work – that never happens in the winter. In winter, I’d bike in the biting cold morning. Eventually I felt the skin on my face break because the cold made it dry. I continued biking anyway, without moisturiser, I thought I was invincible, but a couple of weeks later when my skin broke, I had to buy some finally.

From Home

Blog, Photography

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This time a year ago, we graduated from our masters. It was a very swift two weeks moving from a DocNomad, to just Nomad. In the last week of our course, we all flew to Brussels for our graduation. I remember that week in Brussels so well, so much that I feel like not much has changed since then. But here we are– it has been a year! I had forgotten that I took my trusty film camera with me along for the ride, I got some prints done yesterday and to my surprise, found a roll of celluloid immortalising the last months of our masters.

A Portrait of Anna

Blog, Photography

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I met Anna two years ago, sometime in September 2015. She had knowledge of the discount tickets that you can purchase so you can go to Caiscais for an unlimited amount of trips for a week. I think it was a summer treat program. We became really good friends after that, until now.

This photograph was in the summer, in 2017. After our program had ended and we had decided to gather as many times as we can before we all flew to our next destinations — a destination that we will not share. It was summer, then, in the two ‘then’s that I describe.

As the sun start to set later and later, and the sunlight gets stronger and stronger, I realise that soon, it will be summer again. I wonder how many more Annas will I meet, Annas with knowledge of discount tickets that can bring you to Caiscais for an unlimited amount of instances within a period of 7 days.

New Homes

Blog, Photography

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Thiago visited from Bazil last weekend. His film will be in Clermont Ferrand. I just moved in to a new apartment with a shared balcony. I’ve always wanted a room with a balcony — since I was 7. Now that it’s here, I realise that I had not gone so far as to reach the edge of the balcony that I finally have. It’s winter and the farthest I’ve gone is two steps out the door.

Tomorrow, at first light, I will take the last three steps that will bring me to the edge of this balcony and do what I’ve always wanted to do with a room with a balcony — wake up early in the morning, storm out to the end of the balcony and rest my elbows on the edge as I watch people pass by.

Budapest is Waiting

Blog, Photography

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In January we moved to Budapest. It was winter and the first morning we spent in the city was one of the few days of snow. Winter was an exciting concept because I’ve never really experienced it but it was also very alien. It felt like the city was alien to me or, that I was an alien in it. When the sun started to show, I began taking photographs of strangers. This one, was of a man who just left the tram, I asked him for a photograph but he said:

“No.”

I tried ask again to make sure I understood correctly

“No..

..no. Not me..”

He opened his arms up to the sky, looked around and then finally  at me and said:

“Budapest is waiting for you.”

Since then I’ve been working hard to make sure that Budapest doesn’t wait too long, after all, we have barely a month left, and then we are on our way out again.

 

Why We Photograph

Blog, Photography

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July 2016

I went to Paris with my friend, Whammy in the summer. After breakfast, as we paid the bill, I noticed a man reading, with his full concentration on a book. I went up to him and said “Hello sir, do you speak english?” — “Yes.” — “May I take your photograph?”, I asked.

“What for?” he asked back.

I forgot what my answer was. I only remember being terribly shy, not knowing the answer, but at the same time, knowing very well my intentions.

“Sure. Go ahead.” he said

And so I did. I made this promise to send all the photographs I took of strangers, back to them. I’ve been doing so for the last year and a half. This moment though, is special, it had a huge impact on me, it made me think about all the things we do, the films we make, and the portraits of people we take. I am reminded of what an honour it is, to have someone say “Yes.” to being in front of the camera for us.

I remember, in one of our classes, our teacher, Marta Andreu reminded us, that it is impossible to touch without being touched.

This photograph will always remind me, every time I take a camera, to know exactly why I do it.