Aaron - 2016

The best friend. It's been crazy to grow up together, slowly working our way through being young people, still trying to figure out how the world works.

Here's a set from a bit ago, done just because it had been a while.

Summer Sun

Analog portraits in late-day sunlight.  Shot in Downtown St. Petersburg, FL on Fujifilm Super 200. Scanned on a Kodak Pakon F135+

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Wide Eyed in India: Pt. X

Saturday.

After many days of activity, this day of unwinding was thoroughly welcome. 

Cold showers & 30's jazz & a blessedly present breeze soothed my mind into quiet reflection.

I found myself in Hyderabad once more, in an apartment high enough up in the hills to catch a little of the breeze that proved so elusive in the lowlands. 

The neighborhood was one of the wealthiest in Hyderabad...which is to say that four story palaces found themselves competing with tiny, tarp-roofed shacks & apartment buildings for supremacy. 

Midday came with North Indian style Thali shared with my incredible host Sean at a nice place in the neighborhood...and even finished off the meal with a milkshake! ....Or....well...a scoop of ice cream in some milk. Basically the same thing I suppose. 

With rather more food than I was accustomed to in my belly, we headed out for an afternoon of right proper tourism at the seven tombs of the Mughal Dynasty that once ruled Hyderabad....

Along the way I befriended a really sweet family that timidly came up and asked for a photo...after a quick snap and a bit of conversation, we went our separate ways. It's a shame though, they seem to have forgotten to write me about it... 
Shortly after two rambunctious middle-schoolers proceeded to do the same thing, but with much less veiled enthusiasm!

I went back up into Sean's neighborhood for the latter half of the afternoon,
 ending up wandering until dusk; making portraits and taking pleasure in the simple act of moving. 


Wide Eyed in India: Pt. VIII

Woke with a pounding head that beat in time with the pulse of the city beyond. Quiet until afternoon, then we were off to the huge primary school the kids from the Ongole children's home attend, led by Sean, an affable natured, pale blue-eyed guy from California who runs CCH, a much larger children's home organization that Orphans First partners with. Naturally, our arrival caused sheer chaos at the school.... I think I shook hands with and heard the names of well over 100 kids, all eager to try out what they'd learned in their English lessons. 

I made my way through the open air classrooms, trying as hard as I could to remain discreet, and predictably failed utterly. The teachers kept admirable control over the kids with nary a raised voice, but classes still tended to grind to a halt whenever I walked by. After quite a bit of improvised communication primarily composed of halting words and hand gestures, I managed to get a few of the classes to ignore me as best they could....though one teacher just decided to let the kids have a photo-op instead. 

Shortly after all the Ongole children's home kids had been met, we drove back to home where the children lived to await their return once classes ended. The Ongole home was in a quiet little village perhaps an hour outside of the city proper, tended by a young couple with children of their own. 

Dusk turned into full dark as we made our goodbyes, sipping on gifted coconuts and sprite.

Enough adventure had been had for one hazy-headed day, so we made our way back to the noise and crowds of Ongole to flop into beds for the last time before the return to Hyderabad...

- To be continued -

Wide Eyed in India: Capsaicin

Capsaicin is a colorless toxin that causes a painful burning sensation when it comes into contact with the skin, and can even cause chemical burns in it's pure form. 

You're probably familiar with the substance in a more innocuous way however, as it's the chemical responsible for the heat of a chili pepper. 

By now you're probably wondering at the point of this segue. Perhaps this explains it a bit better:

 

Yes, those are chilies. Millions upon millions of Guntur Chili Peppers, dried in the Indian sun. On the way back from the afternoon of meeting the children's home alumni, we stopped off at a massive processing facility and market where hundreds of men and women sort and bag and sell the surrounding countryside's signature crop. 

The very air seared its way through my lungs, as an involuntary cough shook my frame. Those who work in this humble profession endure this for years, working with bare hands and feet, hardly noticing the burning.

As used to the peppers effects as the workers are, they still cough. The body has limits of what it can grow accustomed to. I'm told this place turns into a kind of hell in summer, as temperatures soar to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. 

Truly a remarkable place.