Monthly Archives: August 2014

“My ‘All Guts, No Glory’ Style Of Shooting…”

I’m not your typical photographer.

Well, I may be typical in the sense that I didn’t go to a school for photography. I started taking photos with a friend’s camera about a decade ago, fell in love with what I could do with it and started making it a key part of my life…kinda like everybody else these days!

What I mean is I don’t generally like using all of the flashy gear and expensive computer programs that a lot of photographers use. Sometimes I regret not having learned photography back in the film and developing era. I imagine the all guts no glory, get-what-you-get-when-you-pull-the-trigger style of shooting would’ve gone hand in hand with my lack of desire to use assistants, hire makeup artists, rig lighting equipment and touch up photos. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with all of that obviously, sometimes it’s even necessary when conditions aren’t ideal for capturing an image.

(photo: Fidel Amos)

(photo: Fidel Amos)

Photos are a moment in time, seen by a human eye and captured by technology. To me, the photograph we see should be as true to the moment in time that it mirrors.

– F

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Filed under The Story Behind The Shot, Why I Do What I Do

“37 Years Of Robin Williams…” (An Homage)

I can’t really explain in words why the passing of Robin Williams has affected me so…

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Yes, there is a touch of ‘celebrity fascination’ there. Yes, it’s always sad when another human being’s flame goes out. And yes, the hint of suicide makes it even more shocking, true or not. But for me personally, he’s kinda ‘been there with me’ in one form or another throughout my entire life. He has portrayed characters that for me were relevant, believable and timeless. Crazy ones, funny ones, vicious ones, bad ones, good ones and even futuristic robotic ones. I can safely say that I’ve been influenced by him at various times in various different ways as far back as I can remember.

Sure, I didn’t know him. Sure, there’s probably another billion people on the planet that will say the same thing. But the truth is, the more we see and hear someone, the more they’re in our everyday lives, the more we remember and are guided by the things they say…even if we only know them through media. I remember the lines from his movies, including all the songs from the animated ones. I know the jokes from his standup routines and the one-liners from his videos and cassette tapes. I ‘know’ who he was, or at least who he wanted us to think he was. So I’m ‘sad’ that he’s gone, or whatever you’d like to call that feeling you feel when you know you’re going to ‘miss’ someone, even if you didn’t ‘know’ them.

After hearing of his death, I began to read up on him and his past. I realized his career happened to extend the span of my life…37 years to be exact. So just for him (and for you if you’d care to join me) I’m going to pay homage to his life in my own little way with this: ’37 Years Of Robin Williams.”

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(Click the photos to view video clips)
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1977: HBO

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199: THE RICHARD PRYOR SHOW

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1978: HAPPY DAYS (AS MORK)

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1978: POPEYE

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1978: MORK & MINDY

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1982: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP

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1984: MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON

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1987: GOOD MORNING VIETNAM

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1988: ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN

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1989: DEAD POETS SOCIETY

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1990: AWAKENINGS

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1991: HOOK

Hook 10

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1992: ALADDIN

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1993: MRS. DOUBTFIRE

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1995: JUMANJI

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1995: NINE MONTHS

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1996: JACK

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1996: THE BIRDCAGE

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1997: GOOD WILL HUNTING

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1998: PATCH ADAMS

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1999: BICENTENNIAL MAN

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2002: ONE HOUR PHOTO

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2005: ROBOTS

Robots

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2006: HAPPY FEET

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2006: NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

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2009: OLD DOGS

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2009: WORLD’S GREATEST DAD

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– F


PS. Bangarang, Peter.

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Filed under A-List / B-List / No-List, The Good In Mankind

“The 37 Year Old Virgin……To Surgery.”

The first surgery I ever witnessed will live in my memories until the day I die.

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However short it may be, that simple sentence in and of itself describes the entire experience. First and foremost, most people on the planet don’t get to witness surgeries. It’s generally a sight reserved for those that have the knowledge and training required to perform or assist with surgeries. Of course, in this day and age there are videos and tv shows and various other media at hand with which to watch recordings of surgeries. But to be able to stand in a room where another human being is being, in one way or another, taken apart and reassembled?

No, most people don’t get to see that.

The person I was about to watch go ‘under the knife’ was slightly younger than your average patient…3 years old to be exact. She had slipped into a fire pit after awaking in the middle of the night in a tiny village miles away from a tiny town in a country with over a billion people in it. With no medical care readily available and no money to seek any out, her entire left leg had burned, curled and fused itself to itself. The once separate foot, ankle, shin and thigh were now nearly one mass.

(photo: Fidel Amos)

(photo: Fidel Amos)

I remember the sight of the sleeping, naked, burned little being in front of me. I remember this machine beeping, that machine hissing, another moving up and down and another providing vital signs. I remember the smell, temperature and taste of the room. I say taste because four of my senses were so in tune with the overall quiet, sterile calmness of the room that my taste buds began to follow suit in their perception of it all. I remember a surgeon asking me if I’d “ever seen a surgery”, to which I calmly answered “um, no”. I remember a second surgeon giving me quick instructions on what to do should I become faint or lightheaded, something along the lines of “sit on the floor” or “try not to fall on the patient” followed by “you can wait outside if you need to”.

(photo: Fidel Amos)

(photo: Fidel Amos)

Come to think of, I had never considered what my body might do upon witnessing such a sight. I had never considered that accepting a job as a photographer for a group of international surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and support staff halfway around the world might land me in the middle of a real life surgery. I knew that I’d be covering their day to day life during a their travels to countries I had never seen. I knew that would obviously entail documenting sights, sounds and experiences that I had never beheld. But I never thought in my wildest dreams that they’d let me behind the ‘closed doors’. Yet there I was, scrubs on my body, booties on my feet, cover on my head, mask on my face, camera in my right hand, mic in my left.

(photo: Fidel Amos)

(photo: Fidel Amos)

As machines beeped, as bad jokes were told, as Johnny Cash and Jimi Hendrix played, as surgeons talked me through procedures, as hours went by, as I watched through my lens…a little Indian girl was cut, opened, mended, stretched, folded, closed, glued, held, stapled and gauzed back together again.

(photo: Fidel Amos)

(photo: Fidel Amos)

After she was awoken…

(photo: Fidel Amos)

(photo: Fidel Amos)

…after she was returned to her mother’s waiting arms…

(photo: Fidel Amos)

(photo: Fidel Amos)

…after the surgeons retreated to their own, individual, time-developed post-surgery rituals, I went outside and sat on a curb in front of the hospital.

I sat there, in my borrowed scrubs and mask.

I sat there, camera still in hand, mic still in hand.

I sat there, sweating, thirsty, thinking about the surgery I had just seen.

I sat there…forever changed.

Then I got up, went back inside, and photographed a dozen more.

(photo: Fidel Amos)

(photo: Fidel Amos)

– F

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Filed under Diary Of A Traveling Photog, On Assignment, The Good In Mankind, The Story Behind The Shot

“Women Should Laugh Whenever They Please.”

This is Seda, one of the funniest, coolest, most beautiful Turkish women I know.

(photo: Fidel Amos)

(photo: Fidel Amos)

The Deputy Prime Minister of her country, Bulent Arinc, recently said during an Eid el-Fitr meeting (which marked the end of the Muslim period of fasting, Ramadan) that a woman “should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times.“ He went on to say “A man should be moral but women should be moral as well, they should know what is decent and what is not decent,” (TheGuardian.com):

Bulent Arinc (photo: Onedio.com)

Bulent Arinc (photo: Onedio.com)

To me, hearing someone make a statement like that is equivalent to hearing someone say “Don’t laugh”, “Don’t smile”, or “Don’t be happy”. I wonder, why would a person want someone else to suppress their happiness? Even more so, I wonder, why would a man want another human being to hide their happiness just because she’s a woman?

I wonder, if he knew the difficulties of being a woman in today’s man-run world, would he say such things?

If he knew what it was like to live in a country where your leaders make public statements regarding when and how you should show physical happiness, would he say such things?

If he was a father or husband whose stress, hardships and everyday emotional burdens could be blown out like a match upon hearing the joyous laughter of his wife or daughter when arriving home, would he say such things?

…if he knew how bold, sincere and intoxicating my friend Seda’s laugh was, would he say such things?

– F

#direnkahkaha #direnkadin

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Filed under Controversy...Ya Gotta Love It, Hear Me Roar, This...I Just Don't Get