Archive for 'Documentary'
What if we were all content with our lives? If everything was just enough, right now, it was enough.
No following trends, no upgrades, no keeping up, no hearing that we need more, should want more, have to have more. No fear of inadequacy, no avoidance, no making up for our past or anxiety about the future.
What if a dusty old bottle of something hard and earnest human company were the only prerequisites for our entertainment?
If this were the collective reality, they wouldn’t be able to control us. We’d be so powerful they’d have to sit back and watch as we created the most vibrant communities. They’d try to tell us we’re not good enough and that we need this kind of product and that kind of lifestyle, but we’d just laugh.
We’d calmly tell them our self worth is not measured by corporate ladders or house size or social standing, but in our creative pursuits, our compassion, our willingness to express ourselves without fear and in our courage to be openly fallible out in the world. We’d wear our self-doubts like we wear our fashion and we’d show off our problems like we show off our Rolexes. Only the real would be visible and the empty and hollow would fade into oblivion like a dying ember. We’d be walking beacons of truth and sincerity, and they wouldn’t like it one bit.
We’d sit at our creaky old kitchen tables and they’d tell us we should get the newest one of these, it’s on sale, and we’d say, but a new table doesn’t have the names of our friends etched into the bottom of it. A new one doesn’t have the first coffee stain we made on it. And we’d comfortably sit at that old table with our insecurities laid bare and the messiness of our lives draped around us like a warm quilt, and everyone we know would meet us halfway across that table with their own beautiful messy quilts and together we’d drink what we find in the cupboard and eat vegetables from the garden and talk about who’s going to chop the logs and make the fire and most days we’d all smell of woodsmoke and pine and herbs.
They’d keep telling us that more is the answer and we’d say, what I’ve got is just enough. And with those six simple words, we’d probably take back the whole world.
When something is so perfect and beautiful that it’s actually achingly painful. Like reaching the top of a mountain and what you see before you is so astounding it resembles more a divine celestial realm than any comprehensible earthly physical place and your limited human brain needs a moment to process because you’re certain this must be the end of one existence and the beginning of another.
Old friends are like sipping hot tea on the sofa with the blanket wrapped around you and the dog curled up at your feet.
Like wandering through a creaky old bookstore and stopping in the quietest most private corner and knowing you could live right there in that little nook forever because somehow it feels like home.
They’re like a familiar song instantly transporting you to your past and your heart literally swells and then breaks at the very same time because you’ll never be able to physically go back there, to rewind and relive those shared moments that were so bursting at the seams with youthful, carefree, joyful perfection.
But then you realise that while you’ll never be able to repeat those perfect moments, you’re constantly making new ones, and these moments too will become the moments that are remembered longingly, and life is really just a string of these memories we look back on and discover that while we were busy looking back on all of the already-lived moments, we were living and creating different ones at the same time.
Maybe the magic is in learning how to be so present and aware inside the moments as they happen that time stands still enough for you to grab it and hold it tightly in your hands, hearing its every sound, seeing its every detail as clear as a crystal glistening in the brightness of a midday sky.
And as we turn our heads always looking at what’s behind us searching desperately for those perfect moments that once were, those objects in the mirror that are closer than they appear, I reckon they’ll never be as close or as real or as perfect as the moments right in front of us.
Navigating busy concrete streets that carry the weight of human ambition and restlessness, riding an overcrowded Piccadilly line so full to the brim with bodies it’s difficult to discern where your own limbs end and a stranger’s begins, hearing an urban soundtrack on repeat whose melodies sound like screeching car horns and creaky double decker bus brakes and the whir of countless voices as they each blow past on the pavement their thoughts hurtling out into the atmosphere in frantic bursts. As much as London can fascinate and inspire it too often tires me to the point where I urgently need to exit, to strip off the city-ness of it all and escape to somewhere more exposed, a place that’s filled with just as much possibility as it is nothingness. To scrub off the noise and movement and friction that has stuck to me like tar and walk directly towards a horizon where the sky opens up and the ground falls out and I am floating, completely alone with my thoughts and abstractions, and no one else’s limbs but my own.
Walking up the high street to the spot where he always sits just across from the Castle and near the McDonald’s, I dropped a measly pound into his hat and my eyes caught his. I instinctively wanted to look away but my gaze lingered and so did his and I saw the pain and exhaustion and acceptance of it all behind his somber stare. I wanted to say something that let him know I saw him, like really saw him, but I couldn’t muster up the words, and I didn’t know what they were. We just looked at each other silently, and I wondered how, by some sleight of hand, I ended up on this side of life and him on the other.
Over the last 5 months I’ve aimed to capture as much as possible of the diversity of people and places in Vietnam. It’s not nearly enough time to document the length and breadth of an entire country as teeming with culture and landscapes as Vietnam, but hopefully thus far I’ve captured at least a small fraction of its magnetism.
See the full gallery here.
A Hmong woman I met in a village just outside of Dong Van in Ha Giang province. She had no problem with my camera and just wanted to know as much about me as I did her.
For more images from my travels in the deep north of Vietnam head to the gallery: http://www.annieoswald.com/vietnam
People from the Mekong Delta are known in Vietnam as the friendliest anywhere in the country. Their reputation of being warm, generous and hospitable precedes them. I experienced no different in my time there.
Worshippers at the main sanctuary in the Jade Emperor Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City. The statues in this temple are shrouded in a thick fog from the incense that burns around the clock and leaves a lingering scent of sandalwood and burning timber. It all adds to the sense of reverence and mystery as one enters the temple. Quiet and dark, one enters near a Chinese inscription that reads “The Light of Buddha Shines on All.”