John Stanmeyer (johnstanmeyer) instagram photos and videos

John Stanmeyer
John Stanmeyer

Feeling, Then Seeing - new workshop July 23-29 in the Berkshires of MA. Join us:

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We reached the top of the mountain after a sweet bird played with me in snow further down the hill in the car's headlamps. That night was the first of four or more visits to Zovasar. We stayed at the simple home belonging to Vahan Khachatryan. One room was painted in vertical shades of green with no furniture except for a bed, a tiny cross and photographs of his late father and mother, Armenak and Servenik Khachatryan. Vahan hadn't changed anything in the room since his father passed a year earlier. That evening, Vahan was very kind, though a bit off balance. He seemed to be carrying a heaviness of loneliness. The following day he showed me his room, and I began to understand his emotional mind…the walls were painted in tones of pink columns, on the bed that ate much of the room, the left side blankets were perfectly drawn, un-slept. Near the headboard was a photo of his wife, Gohar Mkrtchyan. He told us a saddening story… a few years earlier, she was struck by lightning and died, each night sleeping next to her photo leaning upon a pile of pillows on Gohar's side of the bed. The rest of the home was modest, a black and white cat his only companion. Vahan's grandparents told their children there was no need to develop Zovasar village nor build new homes, believing they would return to Eastern Turkey. One hundred years later, little had changed where many who live in this mountain top village still reside in the homes their families built between 1915-1922. In the morning, Vahan made us breakfast and unrolled a map of where his ancestors came from. I began to understand further what I was feeling about the story I was working on. The sorrowful loss of homeland, the painful passing of parents, loneliness dripping deeper when the one we love is gone. Unable to let go. We all one day will carry this. Our aching truths of memory. Of being human.
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We reached the top of the mountain after a sweet bird played with me in snow further down the hill in the car's headlamps. That night was the first of four or more visits to Zovasar. We stayed at the simple home belonging to Vahan Khachatryan. One room was painted in vertical shades of green with no furniture except for a bed, a tiny cross and photographs of his late father and mother, Armenak and Servenik Khachatryan. Vahan hadn't changed anything in the room since his father passed a year earlier. That evening, Vahan was very kind, though a bit off balance. He seemed to be carrying a heaviness of loneliness. The following day he showed me his room, and I began to understand his emotional mind…the walls were painted in tones of pink columns, on the bed that ate much of the room, the left side blankets were perfectly drawn, un-slept. Near the headboard was a photo of his wife, Gohar Mkrtchyan. He told us a saddening story… a few years earlier, she was struck by lightning and died, each night sleeping next to her photo leaning upon a pile of pillows on Gohar's side of the bed. The rest of the home was modest, a black and white cat his only companion. Vahan's grandparents told their children there was no need to develop Zovasar village nor build new homes, believing they would return to Eastern Turkey. One hundred years later, little had changed where many who live in this mountain top village still reside in the homes their families built between 1915-1922. In the morning, Vahan made us breakfast and unrolled a map of where his ancestors came from. I began to understand further what I was feeling about the story I was working on. The sorrowful loss of homeland, the painful passing of parents, loneliness dripping deeper when the one we love is gone. Unable to let go. We all one day will carry this. Our aching truths of memory. Of being human. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #zovasar #greenroom #pinkroom #photographs #portrait #loneliness from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives

Most beautiful moments occurred while entering a place I’d never been before. Not that I had never seen snow...I live in New England. Each time, the same feeling occurs, as when handed a glass of water; you don’t see it as water or a drink. Each occasion as if snow or water was never seen before. Another was curious, too, a little bird. She appeared so close, like we knew each other, playing together in the large falling flakes. Can’t recall how long I was in front of the car that late-night within another diversion of forever on the road leading into Zovasar. The following day the snow continued while the residence remained warmed by dung-burning stoves indoors, a most efficient economical way to heat. Everyone in Zovasar is an ancestor of those who walked here one hundred years earlier. Mnatsakan Poleyan, when we met in 2015, was 76 and had a box containing religious artifacts his mother, Viktoria Poleyan (1896-1987), carried from Gleguzan Merker village near Sasun (today called, Sason) in Turkey. The only possessions she had when leaving.  Sharing more in the coming days, with honesty, Zovasar was a place of awakening. Like water in a glass becomes more than imagined.
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Most beautiful moments occurred while entering a place I’d never been before. Not that I had never seen snow...I live in New England. Each time, the same feeling occurs, as when handed a glass of water; you don’t see it as water or a drink. Each occasion as if snow or water was never seen before. Another was curious, too, a little bird. She appeared so close, like we knew each other, playing together in the large falling flakes. Can’t recall how long I was in front of the car that late-night within another diversion of forever on the road leading into Zovasar. The following day the snow continued while the residence remained warmed by dung-burning stoves indoors, a most efficient economical way to heat. Everyone in Zovasar is an ancestor of those who walked here one hundred years earlier. Mnatsakan Poleyan, when we met in 2015, was 76 and had a box containing religious artifacts his mother, Viktoria Poleyan (1896-1987), carried from Gleguzan Merker village near Sasun (today called, Sason) in Turkey. The only possessions she had when leaving. Sharing more in the coming days, with honesty, Zovasar was a place of awakening. Like water in a glass becomes more than imagined. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #zovasar #snow #Bird #portrait from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives

After caterpillars, electrified border fencing, and laundry line-needed visual distractions, we finally arrived at Samvel Torosyan’s home. Welcomed as family, fed like relatives with plates of stringy cheese, fresh fruit, and many glasses of Armenian cognac, Samvel began sharing stories his ancestors had told him of a mountain village in eastern Turkey called Sasun. A brawny fellow with a deep voice, near pickle-sized fingers, he told me he could sing and so began a medley of seven songs, each one more emotional than the next. Samvel kindly allowed me to record these songs as if they would be lost from memory, evaporated by time. So moved by his tone, passion, often tearful expression, I told Samvel I was traveling to the Anatolia region in a few days, making what felt an unfulfillable promise to somehow find his ancestral home, Sasun (today called, Sason). A few weeks later, becoming lost on unpaved mountain-bending roads, I found Sasun. It is located high above every mountain, and it was here I met the Tas family, the only remaining ethnic Armenians living in Sason. Never could I have imagined that late afternoon with Samvel’s family, finding what could have been their relatives in such a beautiful land. The video is a short excerpt of a much longer song called Kele Lao (Qele Lao), “Let’s Go Home,” or “Come Hither, Child.” On the last slide is a sixty-second recording of Samvel’s pain-filled voice. I so wish Instagram allowed this over three-minute song to be heard in its entirety, pouring into you as it was that day…
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After caterpillars, electrified border fencing, and laundry line-needed visual distractions, we finally arrived at Samvel Torosyan’s home. Welcomed as family, fed like relatives with plates of stringy cheese, fresh fruit, and many glasses of Armenian cognac, Samvel began sharing stories his ancestors had told him of a mountain village in eastern Turkey called Sasun. A brawny fellow with a deep voice, near pickle-sized fingers, he told me he could sing and so began a medley of seven songs, each one more emotional than the next. Samvel kindly allowed me to record these songs as if they would be lost from memory, evaporated by time. So moved by his tone, passion, often tearful expression, I told Samvel I was traveling to the Anatolia region in a few days, making what felt an unfulfillable promise to somehow find his ancestral home, Sasun (today called, Sason). A few weeks later, becoming lost on unpaved mountain-bending roads, I found Sasun. It is located high above every mountain, and it was here I met the Tas family, the only remaining ethnic Armenians living in Sason. Never could I have imagined that late afternoon with Samvel’s family, finding what could have been their relatives in such a beautiful land. The video is a short excerpt of a much longer song called Kele Lao (Qele Lao), “Let’s Go Home,” or “Come Hither, Child.” On the last slide is a sixty-second recording of Samvel’s pain-filled voice. I so wish Instagram allowed this over three-minute song to be heard in its entirety, pouring into you as it was that day… ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #family #home #song #cognac #KeleLao #QeleLao #sasun #sason #turkey from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives

 
Overjoyed in not knowing why, by everything, I had to stop when seeing children’s clothing running on a laundry line when a storm neared Gyumri in Armenia. Excited by this simplicity for what must have been an eternity, it was too late in the evening to drive towards Samvel Torosyan’s home, and we returned to Villa Kars, a most special place in Gyumri. More on Samvel, his family, and his beautiful voice in the coming days. Until then, I hope you will continue being ecstatic in the immense possibility of I do not know. If we pay enough attention, this universe opens its doors to why we are here.
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Overjoyed in not knowing why, by everything, I had to stop when seeing children’s clothing running on a laundry line when a storm neared Gyumri in Armenia. Excited by this simplicity for what must have been an eternity, it was too late in the evening to drive towards Samvel Torosyan’s home, and we returned to Villa Kars, a most special place in Gyumri. More on Samvel, his family, and his beautiful voice in the coming days. Until then, I hope you will continue being ecstatic in the immense possibility of I do not know. If we pay enough attention, this universe opens its doors to why we are here. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #gyumri #laundry #laundryline #laundrylinedivine #storm #wind from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives

Update: Workshop is full. I so look forward collaborating with such a talented group of creative storytellers this July! - Our universe of possibilities is reopening, and only one space remains in the workshop, sharing once more a most beautiful event this July...Feeling, Then Seeing, at home with Frida and me. All the goodness is within the link of my Instagram bio, so excited many new and returning photographers will be joining us in the home of 24 Windows next month, July 23-29, in the Berkshires. Oooh, and we hope to share more happiness...a special guest might be joining me too. Register and learn more soon! Peace within, love to all, John and Frida @elfriede.the.great.dane 🐾❤️
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Update: Workshop is full. I so look forward collaborating with such a talented group of creative storytellers this July! - Our universe of possibilities is reopening, and only one space remains in the workshop, sharing once more a most beautiful event this July...Feeling, Then Seeing, at home with Frida and me. All the goodness is within the link of my Instagram bio, so excited many new and returning photographers will be joining us in the home of 24 Windows next month, July 23-29, in the Berkshires. Oooh, and we hope to share more happiness...a special guest might be joining me too. Register and learn more soon! Peace within, love to all, John and Frida @elfriede.the.great.dane 🐾❤️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #intheberkshires #workshop #photoworkshop #Storytelling #photography #life #love #creating in #greatbarrington #massachusetts

Borders make me sad. Days of driving along the western part of Armenia with Turkey, the only bridge I could find that connected people were simple planks of wood, an overpass above a small portion of the Araks River. Not that long ago, it was accessible, now separated by electrified barbed wire that only insects, small mammals, and the birds we often saw flying overhead can freely cross between two neighbors. I’ve seen these desperately depressing lines of division everywhere on our earth. From this melancholy is why @bridging.stories was created. To find what we have in common. Not in what divides.
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Borders make me sad. Days of driving along the western part of Armenia with Turkey, the only bridge I could find that connected people were simple planks of wood, an overpass above a small portion of the Araks River. Not that long ago, it was accessible, now separated by electrified barbed wire that only insects, small mammals, and the birds we often saw flying overhead can freely cross between two neighbors. I’ve seen these desperately depressing lines of division everywhere on our earth. From this melancholy is why @bridging.stories was created. To find what we have in common. Not in what divides. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #turkey #AraksRiver #ArasRiver #ArazRiver bridge #border #barbedwire from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives

I imagine everywhere are gentle little premonitions. All around, intended to be. I met a man named Vachagan in the village of Bagaran on Armenia's border to Turkey. There was no reason or purpose to visit Bagaran. I was curious about small towns along the west of the country, and only the intent of driving in that direction, somehow we appeared there. Soon after meeting, Vachagan took us through a forest of the beautiful ubiquitousness of Armenia…apricot trees. Small insects were at a party above a fallen limb, saying to pay attention. I can't remember how long I spent with these sweet tiny ones, falling into the endless pleasant distraction of hidden reasons, grateful for Vachagan's patience. Much later, I came upon what Vachagan was so excited to show us; A cross had been built under tall apricot trees at a small clearing overlooking the border, but no one was there. A few days later, we learned people might be coming to share a meal by this cross and decided to return, and so became the photograph that appeared in @natgeo. This evening realizing my excitement of tiny whirling insects that had nothing to do with the story, foreshadowing a moment that would arrive...their light and the trees separated by days were so similar, understanding why we were there. That's Vachagan on the right with a walking stick, leaning upon an apricot tree, talking to the men eating. Unfortunately, he passed a few years ago. After those moments in Bagaran, and sometimes now, often giggling on two-rhymed words, about writing a children's book. Tonight becoming clearer…dancing insects living in a mystical forest of apricot trees, a kind one who can enter both worlds. In foreverness existing in two magical universes. Illustrated in beautiful greens, blues, yellows called...Vachagan, of Bagaran.
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I imagine everywhere are gentle little premonitions. All around, intended to be. I met a man named Vachagan in the village of Bagaran on Armenia's border to Turkey. There was no reason or purpose to visit Bagaran. I was curious about small towns along the west of the country, and only the intent of driving in that direction, somehow we appeared there. Soon after meeting, Vachagan took us through a forest of the beautiful ubiquitousness of Armenia…apricot trees. Small insects were at a party above a fallen limb, saying to pay attention. I can't remember how long I spent with these sweet tiny ones, falling into the endless pleasant distraction of hidden reasons, grateful for Vachagan's patience. Much later, I came upon what Vachagan was so excited to show us; A cross had been built under tall apricot trees at a small clearing overlooking the border, but no one was there. A few days later, we learned people might be coming to share a meal by this cross and decided to return, and so became the photograph that appeared in @natgeo. This evening realizing my excitement of tiny whirling insects that had nothing to do with the story, foreshadowing a moment that would arrive...their light and the trees separated by days were so similar, understanding why we were there. That's Vachagan on the right with a walking stick, leaning upon an apricot tree, talking to the men eating. Unfortunately, he passed a few years ago. After those moments in Bagaran, and sometimes now, often giggling on two-rhymed words, about writing a children's book. Tonight becoming clearer…dancing insects living in a mystical forest of apricot trees, a kind one who can enter both worlds. In foreverness existing in two magical universes. Illustrated in beautiful greens, blues, yellows called...Vachagan, of Bagaran. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #Bagaran #insects #flyinginsects #sunset #cross #remembering from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives

 
During yesterday's Spirituality of Seeing gathering, and so thankful some of you joined me for this VII Insider online series, a question was asked about overcoming the (often) torture to see more than simplicity before us. To go beyond the obvious. A need for a greater purpose in why we are there. The response, I hope, was helpful…to let go of ourselves and become lost in the periphery. This happens all the time. Everywhere. And it often did while in Armenia. I was at such a lovely home in Gyumri to photograph a 104-year-old survivor of the Genocide. Able to remember everything of his childhood, Varazdat Manukyan was bedridden because of his age. Not sure how to approach this importance of his legacy, the painful history, while standing in the home's hallway as he lay on a bed, briefly resting in a repurposed room where he reads books on Armenian history, was a most beautiful unfinished space behind me. On the wall was a photograph of his father, Arshak. I spent much of the time filming and photographing through curtain laces that hung behind two glass doors, far longer than I should admit. One door was opened, the other closed. It was in this state of delusion, lost in a room that had nothing to do with why I was there, is what hopefully I shared adequately yesterday. The need, literally in this home of oozing beauty, to turn around, becoming unconditionally lost. Only then can we find the meaning of why we are there, removing ourselves to un-muddle our overthinking so we can see. Ooh, I was kindly reminded by someone much wiser, a deep-soul who knows more than can be imagined. It was not ants we became lost in during another distraction moment that opened deeper understanding. It was caterpillars... 
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During yesterday's Spirituality of Seeing gathering, and so thankful some of you joined me for this VII Insider online series, a question was asked about overcoming the (often) torture to see more than simplicity before us. To go beyond the obvious. A need for a greater purpose in why we are there. The response, I hope, was helpful…to let go of ourselves and become lost in the periphery. This happens all the time. Everywhere. And it often did while in Armenia. I was at such a lovely home in Gyumri to photograph a 104-year-old survivor of the Genocide. Able to remember everything of his childhood, Varazdat Manukyan was bedridden because of his age. Not sure how to approach this importance of his legacy, the painful history, while standing in the home's hallway as he lay on a bed, briefly resting in a repurposed room where he reads books on Armenian history, was a most beautiful unfinished space behind me. On the wall was a photograph of his father, Arshak. I spent much of the time filming and photographing through curtain laces that hung behind two glass doors, far longer than I should admit. One door was opened, the other closed. It was in this state of delusion, lost in a room that had nothing to do with why I was there, is what hopefully I shared adequately yesterday. The need, literally in this home of oozing beauty, to turn around, becoming unconditionally lost. Only then can we find the meaning of why we are there, removing ourselves to un-muddle our overthinking so we can see. Ooh, I was kindly reminded by someone much wiser, a deep-soul who knows more than can be imagined. It was not ants we became lost in during another distraction moment that opened deeper understanding. It was caterpillars... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #gyumri #room #photograph #curtain #caterpillars from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives

During these moments waiting for a passport renewal, the international travel universe slowly reopening to continue an assignment begun for @natgeo before Covid's arrival. Over the coming weeks proceeding towards what I usually do, tonight begins a story about a land that enlightened me…Armenia. The rewriting of self happened almost when I landed in Yerevan, a place I'd never been before. A few days later, I came upon this most resourceful innocent fence of beauty. Created from old window frames, its bright blue paint gently pealing, held together upright with wires beside this home and three leafless early-spring trees. The calling of birds I never heard before sang in branches overhead. A nearby rooster making itself known he existed. At this simple place on the periphery of Gyumri, remembering how that day in April forever changed me.
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During these moments waiting for a passport renewal, the international travel universe slowly reopening to continue an assignment begun for @natgeo before Covid's arrival. Over the coming weeks proceeding towards what I usually do, tonight begins a story about a land that enlightened me…Armenia. The rewriting of self happened almost when I landed in Yerevan, a place I'd never been before. A few days later, I came upon this most resourceful innocent fence of beauty. Created from old window frames, its bright blue paint gently pealing, held together upright with wires beside this home and three leafless early-spring trees. The calling of birds I never heard before sang in branches overhead. A nearby rooster making itself known he existed. At this simple place on the periphery of Gyumri, remembering how that day in April forever changed me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #gyumri #fence #blue #sounds #birds #rooster from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives #fieldrecording

A moment for pleasurable silliness after those long eleven days of sadness for everyone…I met Haloom Abu Mussalam selling watermelons on the side of the road just outside Nablus. If selling tasty fresh fruits and being incredibly kind wasn't special enough, Haloom had a talent I'd never seen before, the ability to balance three watermelons on his head and walk! When returning to Nablus a few days later, I stopped by a fruit seller in the market. Just standing, I couldn't balance two.
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(Photograph by Garo Nalbandian, of someone with no watermelon talents)
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A moment for pleasurable silliness after those long eleven days of sadness for everyone…I met Haloom Abu Mussalam selling watermelons on the side of the road just outside Nablus. If selling tasty fresh fruits and being incredibly kind wasn't special enough, Haloom had a talent I'd never seen before, the ability to balance three watermelons on his head and walk! When returning to Nablus a few days later, I stopped by a fruit seller in the market. Just standing, I couldn't balance two. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (Photograph by Garo Nalbandian, of someone with no watermelon talents) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #middleeast #palestine #nablus #watermelons from the @natgeo story #blessedcursedclaimed @viiphoto #fromthearchives

Because of memory, in war, no one wins. We carry memory from ancestor to ancestor and ancestors before. Today on the radio, I heard the pain of memory being written today…if you are a Palestinian child, just 13 years of age, you already carry a memory of four separate rocket attacks. If the ceasefire is sustaining on both sides, will anyone remember the faces of all who suffered? The suffering from past and lingering conflicts elsewhere? We carry memory in our minds. Even worse is the memory being written in our DNA…we encode what we live through, passing it from generation upon generation to come. The only species on our planet to have consciousness and conscience, with the power to choose…do we want to continue creating such a legacy of memory, where all of us, because of memory, lose?
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Because of memory, in war, no one wins. We carry memory from ancestor to ancestor and ancestors before. Today on the radio, I heard the pain of memory being written today…if you are a Palestinian child, just 13 years of age, you already carry a memory of four separate rocket attacks. If the ceasefire is sustaining on both sides, will anyone remember the faces of all who suffered? The suffering from past and lingering conflicts elsewhere? We carry memory in our minds. Even worse is the memory being written in our DNA…we encode what we live through, passing it from generation upon generation to come. The only species on our planet to have consciousness and conscience, with the power to choose…do we want to continue creating such a legacy of memory, where all of us, because of memory, lose? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #portraits #middleeast #akko akka #acres #nablus from the @natgeo story #blessedcursedclaimed @viiphoto #fromthearchives

 
When hearing this song today by Jackson Browne, a story about revisiting the home of our youth, I thought of these two photographs. Just people passing by, so similar. The destruction these nine days, the previous too many. Home, a metaphor for our lives, crumbled. The embattled illusions we hold unflinchingly. Not simply the loss and destruction. Going deeper, looking into ourselves.
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And I looked into the faces all passing by
It's an ocean that will never be filled
And the house that grows older and finally crumbles
That even love cannot rebuild…
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Well I looked into dream of the millions
That one day the search will be through
Now here I stand at the edge of
My embattled illusions
Looking into you
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Looking Into You ~ Jackson Browne
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When hearing this song today by Jackson Browne, a story about revisiting the home of our youth, I thought of these two photographs. Just people passing by, so similar. The destruction these nine days, the previous too many. Home, a metaphor for our lives, crumbled. The embattled illusions we hold unflinchingly. Not simply the loss and destruction. Going deeper, looking into ourselves. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ - ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And I looked into the faces all passing by It's an ocean that will never be filled And the house that grows older and finally crumbles That even love cannot rebuild… ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Well I looked into dream of the millions That one day the search will be through Now here I stand at the edge of My embattled illusions Looking into you
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Looking Into You ~ Jackson Browne ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #middleeast #jerusalem #nablus #people #walking from the @natgeo story #blessedcursedclaimed @viiphoto #fromthearchives

It is impossible to publish anything without causing heartache and anger in a conflict that is causing so much misery for everyone involved. In vulnerability of my belief to find common ground. Dialogue, not weapons of our inhumanity, tonight a moment from atop 2000-year-old Roman ruins in the village of Sabastia overlooking Samaria in the West Bank. One of the countless legacies in this beautifully conflicted region, the endless shifting of ruling powers and history across the most contested land on earth. This evening, as always, thinking of everyone I know on both sides of this suffering...
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It is impossible to publish anything without causing heartache and anger in a conflict that is causing so much misery for everyone involved. In vulnerability of my belief to find common ground. Dialogue, not weapons of our inhumanity, tonight a moment from atop 2000-year-old Roman ruins in the village of Sabastia overlooking Samaria in the West Bank. One of the countless legacies in this beautifully conflicted region, the endless shifting of ruling powers and history across the most contested land on earth. This evening, as always, thinking of everyone I know on both sides of this suffering... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #middleeast #sabastia #samaria #palestine from the @natgeo story #blessedcursedclaimed @viiphoto #fromthearchives

These days are again becoming too much. I’ve never been to Gaza, nor Al Aqsa Mosque. I have been throughout much of the West Bank, the people touched me with their sensitivity and warmth. Awaiting someone much more powerful than me, all of you reading these words, to find a meaningful solution to atrocities that will never end until humanity stops claiming, abusing others. Instead of taking, choosing something much easier…balance, and kindness. This evening as insanity returns, thinking of those I met. And thinking of the children…
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These days are again becoming too much. I’ve never been to Gaza, nor Al Aqsa Mosque. I have been throughout much of the West Bank, the people touched me with their sensitivity and warmth. Awaiting someone much more powerful than me, all of you reading these words, to find a meaningful solution to atrocities that will never end until humanity stops claiming, abusing others. Instead of taking, choosing something much easier…balance, and kindness. This evening as insanity returns, thinking of those I met. And thinking of the children… ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #palestine #fromthearchives

 
Once or twice a week, I would pass this laundromat less than 2k (1 mi) from the house. One evening on the night of Kuningan, the front of this small shop was filled with family members and very large barong landung (giant human puppets). The barong landung's were dancing while a priest and the owners prayed and made offerings. Kuningan is a gorgeous season in Bali, occurring every 210 days. It celebrates good over evil, ten days when ancestral spirits of deceased relatives visit the earth. Then on the last day of the celebration known as Kuningan, they leave earth. During that period of welcoming, families make offerings throughout their homes, temples, and along the sides of the island's streets are placed thousands of carved bamboo poles known as penjor's (far right of the second photograph). I have seen similar ceremonies on the night of Kuningan, but never at a business along the side of a rather busy road. Even laundromats have a need for sacred, beautiful ceremonies, for ancestors who had worked in this family-run business, blessings for the little store till the next Kuningan.
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Once or twice a week, I would pass this laundromat less than 2k (1 mi) from the house. One evening on the night of Kuningan, the front of this small shop was filled with family members and very large barong landung (giant human puppets). The barong landung's were dancing while a priest and the owners prayed and made offerings. Kuningan is a gorgeous season in Bali, occurring every 210 days. It celebrates good over evil, ten days when ancestral spirits of deceased relatives visit the earth. Then on the last day of the celebration known as Kuningan, they leave earth. During that period of welcoming, families make offerings throughout their homes, temples, and along the sides of the island's streets are placed thousands of carved bamboo poles known as penjor's (far right of the second photograph). I have seen similar ceremonies on the night of Kuningan, but never at a business along the side of a rather busy road. Even laundromats have a need for sacred, beautiful ceremonies, for ancestors who had worked in this family-run business, blessings for the little store till the next Kuningan. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #bali #Indonesia #canggu #kuningan #BarongLandung #Prayer #ceremony #hinduism #laundromat @viiphoto #fromthearchives #stanmeyerinbali

In the late afternoon, I went by motorscooter through traffic to a sacred rock I had visited a few times near my home at Petitenget Beach. Not as crowded as Seminyak on Melasti, there were still a thousand or more people on the beach, families praying on the exposed reef accessible at low tide. Many others were still in the surf collecting water from the sea, bringing it to their homes and temples. Just before nightfall, when the sky becomes inky, a few barong landung (giant human puppets) were carried along the beach following a trail of incense. The last was a traditional barong, a panther-like creature, brought into the sea for one more blessing on the eve of Nyepi, before the next day when the entire island of Bali would go silent.
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In the late afternoon, I went by motorscooter through traffic to a sacred rock I had visited a few times near my home at Petitenget Beach. Not as crowded as Seminyak on Melasti, there were still a thousand or more people on the beach, families praying on the exposed reef accessible at low tide. Many others were still in the surf collecting water from the sea, bringing it to their homes and temples. Just before nightfall, when the sky becomes inky, a few barong landung (giant human puppets) were carried along the beach following a trail of incense. The last was a traditional barong, a panther-like creature, brought into the sea for one more blessing on the eve of Nyepi, before the next day when the entire island of Bali would go silent. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #bali #Indonesia #petitenget #water #sacredwater #Prayer #ceremony #hinduism @viiphoto #fromthearchives #stanmeyerinbali

When turning around from the priest, the ocean, there was a most emotional sea of humanity. Layers of women and men in a commonality of prayer, reaching the highest level of spirituality during the most incredible trances I’d ever experienced. Sharp daggers (kris’), thrusting into their chests, the spirits in the water, the spirits residing in Mount Agung, believed to be protecting those fortunate enough to reach this level of religiosity. These events were taking place everywhere around me, for hours. Tens of thousands of Balinese entering the water with their temple barongs. It was difficult not to be pulled in, pretending the camera separates, but we know it never does. I have been to many Melasti ceremony’s, a spiritual cleansing when water is most sacred. On Seminyak Beach in Bali, it was so intense I often think of that day. How beautifully overwhelming it was...
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When turning around from the priest, the ocean, there was a most emotional sea of humanity. Layers of women and men in a commonality of prayer, reaching the highest level of spirituality during the most incredible trances I’d ever experienced. Sharp daggers (kris’), thrusting into their chests, the spirits in the water, the spirits residing in Mount Agung, believed to be protecting those fortunate enough to reach this level of religiosity. These events were taking place everywhere around me, for hours. Tens of thousands of Balinese entering the water with their temple barongs. It was difficult not to be pulled in, pretending the camera separates, but we know it never does. I have been to many Melasti ceremony’s, a spiritual cleansing when water is most sacred. On Seminyak Beach in Bali, it was so intense I often think of that day. How beautifully overwhelming it was... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #bali #Indonesia #seminyak #trance #water #kris #dagger #ceremony #hinduism @viiphoto #fromthearchives #fieldrecording #stanmeyerinbali

 
A story about the last photograph... I have been to more cremations than can be remembered. Not because I am into death. The culture and nuances that take place are so beautiful. In Bali, it's not unusual to attend cremations, even if you hardly know the person. Unlike in the West, in Balinese culture, you don't wear black to a funeral. Most often, you wear white—black attracts negative energy. Death in Bali is not overly mournful either. There's music performed by entire gamelan orchestras, wayang kulit theater (shadow puppets), much food, an event when one's existence is celebrated for what you did in this life. Never have I seen anyone crying. On that day in Kendran village, about one hour from where we lived, my son Richard came with me. Mainly using a Holga, tonight while looking through the archive, I realized there were only a few photographs I made in color, sharing their simplicity, the mystery of fire, and memory. The last image in the album, a photograph taken by my good friend, Lukman Bintoro @lukmansb, feels most special…
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A story about the last photograph... I have been to more cremations than can be remembered. Not because I am into death. The culture and nuances that take place are so beautiful. In Bali, it's not unusual to attend cremations, even if you hardly know the person. Unlike in the West, in Balinese culture, you don't wear black to a funeral. Most often, you wear white—black attracts negative energy. Death in Bali is not overly mournful either. There's music performed by entire gamelan orchestras, wayang kulit theater (shadow puppets), much food, an event when one's existence is celebrated for what you did in this life. Never have I seen anyone crying. On that day in Kendran village, about one hour from where we lived, my son Richard came with me. Mainly using a Holga, tonight while looking through the archive, I realized there were only a few photographs I made in color, sharing their simplicity, the mystery of fire, and memory. The last image in the album, a photograph taken by my good friend, Lukman Bintoro @lukmansb, feels most special… ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #bali #Indonesia #kendran #cremation #fire #effigy #hinduism @viiphoto #fromthearchives @richardstanmeyer #stanmeyerinbali

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