Since arriving here my time has been primarily occupied by taking photos of food for a cooking calendar that presents specific food from a people group here. Along with taking photos of food I’ve started helping with a youth group, playing soccer early Saturday mornings, and when I get time I try to plan adventures with some of the great people I’ve met. Tomorrow I’ll be going with a team to a village to finish up the photos for the calendar. While visiting we’re hoping to get images of three more local dishes as well as the cover photo. The entire process has been a lot of work but really rewarding and I even get a literal as well as metaphorical taste of the culture. Being part of this first project has been a constructive experience and allowed me to observe how I will need to function in order to have any sort of positive impact. Working in a culture that is relationship oriented forces everything I am comfortable with to be suppressed in order to not insult and disrupt relationships by pursing a task first. Constantly I have to remind myself of this but it is so counterintuitive to how North American culture has formed me it is difficult.
Moving on to the photos below I can easily say they are a unlike most of my images, but nonetheless I loved the process. Going into this bunker I didn’t know what to expect but I was stoked for Ben, Ryan, and Jenna to show me one of the many fascinating things in the city. After taking a flight of stairs down into the bunker it was pitch black other than where our lights shone. I love exploring abandoned things so this was an awesome experience from the start! I needed new photos so not knowing what to expect I brought my camera as well as a flash. As you can see in the photos I didn’t use the flash but simply my head light that illuminated subjects. I had my Canon 6d pushed to ISO 25600, shooting hand held at 1/15 of a second and 16-35mm f2.8L II USM lens wide open in order to capture most of these images. I could have taken out the flash and fully lit everything but I thought a grunge look suited the unknown bunker way better.
My inspiration for these photos came from listening to Sufjan Stevens' album Carrie & Lowell. The creativity in his music is unreal, simply natural, transparent, and honest. Like his music, I wanted my photos to be raw (not just the file format haha) and not have technical perfection like I routinely strive towards. It is easy to swipe by images and not examine them but for today I encourage you to take at least 5 seconds analyzing an image and look for what you appreciate in it rather than just double tapping or clicking ‘like’ and moving on in a second. Lastly, let me know what you think of the images and Sufjan Steven’s album Carrie & Lowell!