March 28, 2010


A beautiful, brightly burning friend asked me to share some insights a little while back. Pictures of sheets, she implied, were fine, but what about something more profound. (That's not exactly what was said but it's what I took away). It's been a lingering thought since. Tonight, in the remote reaches of Guatemala, in the little town of Jacaltenango, I feel like I can share one fresh off the synaptic presses.

A few hours ago, I ended up engaging my co-op coffee guide in a quiet conversation. I'd been making pictures all afternoon but as we spoke my cameras were sitting on the table. Those tools had acted as the catalyst for a conversation about how lovely his town was and how frightening it was during their horrific civil war. He said, "During the war everyone was scared. We couldn't work. It's was too bad. And me, I love working in the countryside but I couldn't."

See it? It's a tiny thing that he said, nestled in there amidst the past fears and regrets. It's in the present tense. That little bit about loving his work. His backbreaking work. He loves being a farmer. He's a coffee farmer and he loves it.

Maybe it's because today I saw the steepness of the hills here, maybe it's because I watched men much older than me carry immense weight for miles, or maybe it's because I got to sample the distilled essence of family and home that the use of the word love had resonance. Our conversation moved swiftly to other subjects but I knew that a little beam of light had shown itself to me. One I could capture only in my memory yet still share in the fanciful form of "insight."

So here it is: Love your work. Love right through your fear.

Make pictures, Love.
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