San Telmo Café, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2004
Hundreds of visitors have left their marks on the walls of this small café, contrasting strongly to the sole customer in the place, who seems even more alone when framed within a mirror surrounded by the echoes of patrons past. Although two waiters are present, they are both preoccupied. The customer will wait patiently for his change and then leave. This image speaks of loneliness, a human value frequently associated with places of pleasure.
Swimming Lesson, Otway Sound, Patagonia, Chile, 2004
What are a couple of penguins doing in this chapter on human values? Animal pictures work best when they reflect behavior that can be directly related to human experience. Such is the case here. I found this pair of Magellanic Penguins in a rookery on the Straits of Magellan and captured a moment when they seemed to resemble a student and teacher about to embark on a swimming lesson. Both appear to behave in very human ways. The teacher stands off to the side and looks on encouragingly as the student tentatively tests the waters, leaving a circle of ripples behind. The human values involved? Trust? Confidence? Maybe even a bit of courage. Whenever we see a photograph of an animal that we like, we are probably enjoying it for whatever human values it may offer us.
Tuna Fisherman, Manta, Ecuador, 2003
His day is over. The catch is in. He can relax while others finish the job. I found this fisherman sitting upon a net on the cluttered deck of an Ecuadorian Tuna boat. I included the floats and the big tarp as context. His red shirt and the blue hull of the ship offer primary colors that enrich the image and make it stick in our memory. But it is his body language that conveys the human values in this photo. He seems to be at rest. He looks away from me – preoccupied with his own thoughts. Solitude is a human value. This photograph is based upon it.
Greeters, Poconchile, Chile, 2004
Three young ladies, dressed in their best clothes, greet an arriving trainload of tourists with colorful umbrellas at the small Chilean village of Poconchile on the edge of the Atacama Desert. The little girl at center seems intent on holding her umbrella perfectly upright while supporting a doll upon her lap, while her associate at left seems a bit new to this job. Meanwhile, the child at right – the one who wears the brightest clothing – seems skeptical of the whole venture. These children are welcoming strange adults to their little town, each in their own way and on their own terms. Their interaction is rich in human values – bits of curiosity, confusion, apprehension, and determination are all present in this image. The richness of the color, the perfect condition of the clothing, shoes, and umbrellas, even the dangling strand of tinsel that festoons the trio, combine to create a festive context for this memorable scene.
Children, Cape Town, South Africa, 2002
Someone had taken Polaroid pictures of these children a short time before I passed by. Still clutching their photos, their spontaneous enthusiasm was evident, and I was able to make this picture of them. Enthusiasm is a universal human value -- it transcends all language and cultural barriers. When I travel, I try to make pictures of people that convey emotional responses, and enthusiasm is usually one of them.
Condiment vendor, Kostroma, Russia, 2003
Kostroma's lively open air market reflects Russia's economic transition from a Communistic to Capitalistic society. I relate this cascade of condiments -- a far cry from the bare shelves of yesteryear -- to the somewhat neutral response of this vendor. Her matter-of-fact indifference seems a good fit for the abundance that surrounds her -- human values that help me tell the story I'm trying to tell.
Siberian elders, Chukchi Peninsula, Russia, 2002
The great French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson tells us that "wrinkles are a mark of life. After awhile, everyone gets the face they deserve." In this shot of three village elders in a remote Siberian fishing village, I follow his advice by moving in with a telephoto lens to study the emotions on three human faces. The woman at right was agitated, and several times the fellow at center had to calm her down. Apparently she wanted to say something to us, but was unable to make herself understood. Frustration, resignation, curiosity are among the human values expressed by the people in this photograph.
At Tomb of Unknown Soldier, Moscow, Russia, 2003
A visit to a somber site can be mystifying to a child. In her face I saw confusion and impatience. She does not understand the symbols before her, representing the enormity of Russia's huge losses in the Second World War. She wears special clothes, but the visit seems more bewildering than educational. This photo draws its meaning from how we interpret the human values that both she and this national shrine represent.
Welcome to Budapest, Hungary, 2003
When our river cruise ship arrived in Budapest, this committee of one was there to welcome us, violin at the ready. His determined smile, as well as his music, was appropriate . His repertoire -- as well as his costume -- were from a time long past, expressing the human values associated with Old Budapest: a poignantly romantic tradition, tinged with a touch of sadness.
Church singer at rest, Jaroslavl, Russia, 2003
Surrounded by glowing ancient frescoes, a member of church choir loses himself in a book between performances. His ensemble survives on proceeds of CDs he sells to tourists. Caught in a moment between selling and singing, he enjoys a bit of well-earned moment relaxation, a human value everyone can appreciate.
Policeman, Hanoi, Vietnam, 2000
Balanced uneasily on the seat of his motorbike, this Vietnamese policeman is not sure if he wants to have his picture taken. His body language and expression provide a study in uncertainty and bring tension to this portrait. Tension can help define character in a subject. It is also a universal human value. I thought it worked well in portraying this somewhat edgy policeman.
On the Danube Promenade, Bratislava, Slovakian Republic, 2003
An empty Bratislava promenade offers this couple a place for a peaceful riverside chat. They seem to have shut out everyone and everything else. Utterly relaxed, they have created a world unto themselves. Isolating them in space and time, I tried to capture body language and expression that conveys a basic human value: communication.