San Francisco bay has long been a draw for the weird, the wonderful and the downright down and out.
Attracted by boundless Pacific sunlight and a tolerance bordering on the UV intense, today the city continues to watch America’s misfits pour in from all quarters. Some are drawn to an alternative lifestyle while others are not so deliberate in where they choose to hang out. The plain fact is that San Francisco, particularly around west Market Street up to Haight Ashbury, provides a kind of sanctuary to many sorry men and women whose psychiatric troubles would be better treated in a more centralised asylum. Instead, the old lady of the bay, San Francisco, IS the asylum. Except, this asylum is growing pricier by the day while its homeless population grows more prevalent but not more equipped to meet the economic (and dare i say psychological) bare necessities of existing in one of the world’s cutting edge metropoles.
In spite of the sometimes vexatious experience of walking San Francisco’s colourful and crazy streets, there’s yet so much life in the place, so much occasion to both weep and whoop at the state of the world.
San Francisco is one of those rare entities: a refuge where both the botched and bungled and the bold and beautiful have an equal share of its pitched paving stones. A screwed-up symbiosis, sure, but a symbiosis of tech and counter culture nonetheless.
Not to speak of its architectural beauty in a blessed natural setting. That is a whole other story.
This documentary series was shot on location in SW Sri Lanka, in the old town of Galle. That day, busloads of schoolkids descended en masse from various parts of the country’s interior to go a little wild paddling in the surf.
In these images I wanted above all to capture the joy of being a child on a school outing. When you grow up in the hinterlands, the warm, turquoise ocean is a tantalising prospect. That you are still wearing your twee school uniform while up to your knees in water is but a minor inconvenience when the day gets going and the ocean beckons.
A young Lappet-faced vulture tastes freedom of the skies for a few minutes before being returned to his captive state.
This raptor is among the most fear and respected of the many species of carrion feeders that provide an invaluable service to us and nature by being one of the few living things to be able to digest all but the most foul and pestilent bacteria on earth. With their beaks hard as diamond-tips, the huge lappet-faced vulture provides the vanguard role in disposing of a corpse, being one of the only raptors to have the strength and design to tear at tendon, sinew, and even cartilage.
A soapstone impression of Istanbul’s world-renowned Blue Mosque, this one, the second-largest in the Emirates, is going to wear its lines most handsomely into old age.
In fact, when all around is but an historical artefact seized back by the hungered and encroaching desert, geologists of the distant future will be looking upon the defiant structure of its mighty minarets (by then three will be fallen but one will still be standing tall and proud). As for its architectural centrepiece – the dome – the birds might have moved into the cracks of its pocked surface, but the dome will still be a dome while the world remakes itself.
Some things in life were built to last.