Posted on May 1, 2013
I hadn’t planned on writing another blog entry on Cambodia, but then it is a good excuse to show some of the more iconic shots of the power of nature at Ta Prohm and discuss the inevitable change around us. Of all the photos I have seen of Cambodia, these tend to be the most common: nature coming in to continue the cycle of change…to return everything back to its source.
Change is a challenge nature throws our way, and how we reconcile change within our lives makes us who we are. Today’s world has undergone a paradigm shift in terms of how technology has removed us further from the physical world. A change that has many people struggling to understand what lies ahead. Where in the past we had a better understanding and thus security, today we float through ethernet cables from quarks to parallel universes. Yet fear not.
This is the beauty of evolution. When we understand that change is the only constant there is in our lives, it makes it easier to recognize our own purpose and meaning. We either adapt or struggle (e.g. blaming politics & the world until our last breath). At times, I have been terrified of change and struggled until realizing that change brings experience to life and, in essence, brings out a hero quality we all have inside.
This is perhaps why I find Ta Prohm so fascinating. Mother Earth has taught us: change & evolution is inevitable and in the future more great monuments may become covered in brush & vine as society decides to moves on.
The Hall of the Dancers at Ta Prohm intrigued me the most, mainly because some locals were filling me in on its history and I walked away knowing that it is futile to fight change. Understand change, embrace its inevitability and continue to move forward and add value to our lives and to those around us.
The 16th verse of Laozi addresses this well:
Empty your mind and heart and be at peace, while around you is turmoil: endings become beginnings and beginnings will end. Everything flourishes and everything ends, it is what it is: the cycle of life. If you do not understand your source and nature, you will stumble and life will stagnate.
Understand your source and you can fulfill your destiny. Be tolerant among change and you can deal with all life brings your way until you are ready for the cycle to begin again.
My simple take on this verse: By allowing yourself to accept change, you to return to your source (your nature) where you are able to begin to understand how your world really works. With this understanding, you are ready for all life can offer…thus will accept the end.
Posted on April 25, 2013
The beginning of China Sojourns Photography (作客中国摄影) is a simple project that will consist of posting photos from China and around the world. As I post these photos, I will also comment on the mood of the place and hopefully some useful photographic techniques as well.
While the focus is on photography, there will also be occasions when the mood strikes that philosophy via photography will be combined. Often I believe that while writing & photography is generally a solitary pursuit, it is the inspiration of others that allows us to create: the sharing of ideas and learning.
As such, the theme for this site will be “us”. Two souls dancing and learning as we move forward in life.
The definition of “Us” in this blog can be explained by the Chinese word 缘分 (yuan-fen).
There is no direct translation of 缘分 (yuan-fen) to English. It is often link to Buddhism and karma and defined as ‘pre-ordained affinity/fate/destiny’, where destiny awaits your action when opportunities arise. This means, that while it may be fate two people should meet, whether they stay together is up to yuan-fen and destiny. Yuan (缘) brings two people together, and Fen (分) is the work necessary to fulfill this destiny. When you choose to take or forego an opportunity, 缘分 (yuan-fen) has arrived and depending on your commitment, becomes a part of your life forever.
It is in this blog that I hope to expand on the 缘分 (yuan-fen) between us, increasing our value and happiness.
Through contemplation & through the lens of a camera are where many ideas of life are created. The constant search to find a choice moment in time where an idea will transpire via words or a photo to bring inspiration is a daily goal. I see inspiration every day in the people I know. Ideas are what keeps us dancing.