Go Forward, Move Ahead

Munich Airport, Germany 2018 (Photo Credit: Christian Espinoza)

If the world was one long moving walkway, it would seem very clear which way to go.

You could hop on, enjoy the sights around you, and head to where you need to go automatically. No stress, minimal effort, and in the right directions: forward.

If the moving walkway represented time, you would assume it was linear, that is, a straight line from A to B.

What if, instead of a moving walkway, you were presented with a carousel that went around and around, and up and down? Or a roller coaster that inched slowly upward and picked up speed and momentum on its way to the bottom? Maybe it’s a lake whose waves rippled out in all directions.

Whichever way you go, it’s important to pay attention. The journey is the experience of moving through time and space, without it we only have point A and point B.

Time is an illusion.

– Albert Einstein

Kamasi Washington

Kamasi Washington (Photo Credit: Steven Pisano, used under Creative Commons license)

Desire

Humility

Knowledge

Perspective

Integrity

Truth

Diversity is not something to be tolerated, it’s something to be celebrated

– Kamasi Washington, 2019 live at The Powerstation, Auckland NZ

Hidden Places

Avondale, Auckland NZ 2012 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

Explore in your own backyard.

Or go walkabouts to places unknown, get lost and figure out your way back. Venture out for a surprise like I do (usually with my camera in hand and a stash of film).

I was on assignment by Metro Magazine to get images from several markets in Auckland City, including the pic shown here taken in Avondale Sunday market. More of a flea market, there were hidden gems everywhere. Finding people of all shapes and sizes, looking for knick-knacks, fresh vegetables, and some clown heads to toss balls at in exchange of prizes.

I have a genuine love of people, and when I am behind the camera I feel I create a sense of closeness. Maybe it’s more of a desire for something raw. When I don’t have a camera I notice I keep my distance and am considerably more reserved.

Wherever you find yourself, notice your instinctual responses. This self discovery can happen daily, it needn’t wait or become monumental. This daily reflection process has helped develop my work and the way I approach my practice.

No one moment is most important. Any moment can be something.”

– Garry Winogrand

Vulnerability

Kaitaia, New Zealand 2010 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

While sitting on a park bench earlier today, enjoying conversation with a dear friend, a man approached us and sat down for a conversation. The man appeared to be a rough sleeper, his clothes were unclean, his face had cuts on it, and he was in need of a wash.

Amid some ramblings, he asked us what we thought the meaning of life was. We threw out a few answers to carry the dialogue, but he had an answer already prepared. The man then pulled out his smartphone from his coat pocket, pointed to a picture of him holding his baby daughter and said “that’s the meaning of life, when I hold her in my arms”. He told us her first birthday was coming up next week, and he asked our advice on what gift he should get for her. We agreed that his presence might be enough. Although he agreed, I have to assume from what he implied, that his baby’s Mother may not appreciate him turning up empty handed (if at all).

My wife said to me recently that most of us are only one paycheck away from living on the street. She’s not wrong. I thought about the possible circumstances that led this man into his situation – Addiction? Mental health? Redundancy? Perhaps a mixture of all of these.

Every one of us is vulnerable, so we each have to keep going.

I think I will slowly develop Alzheimer’s disease, but at least then everyday will be a brand new day”.

– Man we met today on the street

Distraction

Remuera, Auckland 2011 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

What is going on around us?

We are being told to look here and look there, while they pull the wool over our eyes.

Look with your eyes, trust no-one, and stay alert.

We are at the crest of the hill looking down, boy what a sight.

Once I was blind, now I see.

What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening”

– Donald Trump

The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command”

– George Orwell, from the novel ‘1984’

Letter to my 10yr Old Self

Auckland, New Zealand 1993 (photo credit: Author’s mother)

Dear Chris

You don’t know me yet, but I know you intimately. You are a fearless, funny, and caring young person. You surround yourself with friends, toys, and movies. You live for speed, no matter the cost (pretty soon you’ll lose the protective pads, and that will hurt). You make people laugh, you entertain them with your magic tricks, and your impressions. Life as you know it now is bliss and you are as free as a bird. I know you well. I was you. I am you. I can tell you that your life will take some turns, but before I do that let me give you the highlight reel.

You’ll carry yourself well through high school, you’ll get good grades and you’ll pursue the Arts over Commerce or Science. You’ll have dreams of becoming an archeologist, however they’ll be knocked out of you by your guidance counselor. As you become a senior at High School, you’ll replace sports with music, and you’ll develop an obsession for playing the guitar and listening to heavy metal music (with a brief foray into British Jungle music in the late 90’s, even skipping your school’s graduation dinner to attend a Ronnie Size concert). You will develop a love for film and video, and in the age before smartphones, you will learn how to shoot, edit, and score your own movies the old fashioned way. You travel to France on your own for three months to meet your Father for the first time… I won’t ruin it for you, just don’t get your hopes up.

As you move into University you find your mind will expand. You will study Design, and you’ll explore everything from 3D animation to Sculpture before majoring in Photography. You’ll make some friends, you’ll lose some friends, then you graduate. In between you’ll learn some valuable life skills like what it means to mop the floor and clean toilets for a paycheck, what to do when you’re involved in a road accident, and also that smoking tastes horrible no matter how cool you think it makes you look.

You will eventually graduate from University as well, get your degree, and get out into the real world. You’ll work a job that overwhelms you so much that you lose five kilograms in as many months, but don’t worry it will desensitize you for any stress later in life. If anything you’ll learn more life skills in these few months than in your entire life up until this point. So now we get real.

Your career takes a different corner, you move away from photography and production and into, ah, Telecommunications. You ride this wave for a good decade, and you develop some hard skills in project management, as well as all that other stuff that people put on their Linkedin (by the way, that’s an online platform where you can… nevermind). You’ll travel some more, meet some girls, fall in love even, and then boom! You inherit a young family. That’s right, you will meet a young lady, marry her, and become a Father to her incredible little boy, his name is Ethan. He grounds you, and for the next ten years he becomes your top priority. You take him to school, you read to him, you teach him about life, movies, and music, as he grows you become best friends. You can be quite strict with him at times so remember to just chill, he really is a good kid.

This brings us to the where we are now. You’ll find yourself at a fork in the road and you’ll be faced with some hard choices. You’ll need to make a decision for yourself, one that will affect the next ten years at least. You’ll reflect a lot, and take a deep look at the person you have become. You will realize that you lost yourself along your journey, but when you finally reconnect with yourself again it sends you into a state of pure joy and happiness, much like how you’re feeling now. Free.

I will leave you with this Chris – follow your nose, trust yourself, and always make time to be with your friends and family.

Yours, CE / 2019

P.s: borrow some money for your 18th birthday and invest in Apple and Amazon stock. Then do it again in 2005 for some Facebook stock. Trust me.

Mirror

Auckland, NZ 2011 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

A window is sometimes really a mirror. But do we consider that life reflects back ourselves to us?

Our state of being is sometimes overlooked, instead disguised by matters of doing. Of course, we are not human doings for a reason, yet often our identity is defined by what we do, simply consider the all to common conversation opener ‘so, what do you do?’

When we put all our distractions away, and simply look through the window, we look onto what appears to us as our reality. Everything that you see, smell, and feel are all part of your experience. Of life. Of your life. You are a part of something larger than you, or what you do.

Your experiences as a human being are not mutually exclusive to your identity, in fact I believe that we are all universally aligned to a higher energy, or resonance, beyond our individual selves. It is physical in a way, and if that is the case, then the window is really a mirror and our universe begins inside of us, not out there.

Dust in the wind. All we are in dust on the wind”

– Kansas