May 21, 2007

Self-Portrait Challenge- Street: Regeneration Of The Earth

You are probably as sick of me saying it, as I am of saying it, but I hate this month’s challenge. I can’t understand how we are meant to take an authentic capture of a moment in time on the streets, while simultaneously placing ourselves in the frame. This is not saying anything about the fact that I hate the idea of not being in full control of my camera because I am on the street. Anyone who knows me is probably shaking their head saying, “he is just upset because he is not in complete control of this situation,” and to those people I say, “YOU ARE RIGHT!”

Because I am a good sport, I still play along every week; this week I hope to take this prompt to strange new places. I want to explore the concept of the concrete jungle versus the regeneration of the earth herself. I want to study the battle between man and planet. I have been reading a lot of books and articles lately that say mankind, unless we dramatically change our ways, will not make it out of this century. Best-case scenario we destroy ourselves and the planet survives to continue on her journey of evolution and change. Worst-case scenario we blow the whole shitbox up and leave more empty space in the galaxy where once there was life.

I have more faith in the earth that that. I think that even after we have packed her soil with our garbage, destroyed her atmosphere, polluted her oceans, chopped down her forests, or even filled her air with nuclear waste- she will survive! Contrary to what our religions tell us, the earth is not here for our domination. We are not meant to exploit the earth for own needs. We are simply one of many species who are a part of a web of life, and despite the grandeur of our cities and our streets, despite the seemingly permanence of concrete and steel, nature will outgrow us all. This regeneration is no place more obvious that the growth of moss on concrete.

I hope that my portrait this week conveys the sense that no matter what we humans do, no matter how much we feel we are a permanent fixture on the face of this planet, ultimately nature will outlast us all.

This photo was taken on a “street” in the hills of Kuala Lumpur where many people go walking to avoid the hectic highways below. The street meanders through a small patch of monkey-infested rain forest ten minutes from my house. It had just stopped raining and the air was thick with moisture. The sun was setting and the call to prayer from the mosque below could be heard as a swarm of crows streaked across the quickly fading sky. Even through a shell of asphalt the earth is alive and well. You just have to stop and listen and give her some love. If you are lucky she may return the favor.


  1. "despite the seemingly permanence of concrete and steel, nature will outgrow us all"
    In the deep countryside of central Spain you can find several abandoned old villages, places that were slowly vacated by families who either died out or gradually gravitated towards the larger inhabited nucleuses nearby. Whenever I have been in one of these places, where the grass is growing up inside the old empty houses, the rooves have long since rotted away and the creeping plants are pulling the stone walls down into rubble, I see what you're saying so very clearly and realise how fleeting our visit really is in this universe.

  2. Nice! I like the contrast between the darkness in the distance and the vivid greens of the Earth.

  3. Your writing it as deep as your photography, I love reading and the picture suits so perfectly.

    I share your sentiments about the struggle to take my own picture "on the street." My tripod has never seen so much use.


  4. Anonymous11:22 AM

    In so many ways you are right. We are destroying our Mother Earth. But I also know too many good people who are trying so hard to save it to have a completely negative viewpoint.

    I like the photo. I'm a closeup freak and can't wait to see more of everyone up close and personal again.


  5. Very nice, the picture says a thousand words.

  6. I think I like this one best from you so far this month. I also love your description of the scene - the humidity, the crows streaking the skies. I can hear the monkeys chatter.