There are moments where I get confused and am no longer sure where I am.
I might be asleep.
I might be dreaming.
Or I might be in the back of a cab, turning my head to the side too quickly, getting dizzy and disoriented for a moment, everything is just urban motion blur and exhaust and a CD hanging from the rear mirror.
I might be in a cafe, a newsstand, a crosswalk.
I might be on a bridge, in a spa, watching a game of chess in a park under shade trees.
I might be lost, but then again, if my only destination is here, then what does lost mean again?
When I travel and shoot, I have no agenda, no plan, no desired outcome, no goal.
I just open my door in the morning, pausing to meter the light on my camera, then I pick a point on the compass and start walking.
Everything is left to chance and whim and discovery. This can result in hours of walking through desolate shipyards and abandoned factories. Or it could lead to a funeral in the hills above the Mekong River, a game among teens with drinking cups tied to their heads in Manilla, a melancholy girl practicing her flute in a conservatory in Budapest.
You never know. You have to be open to walking miles under the sun, hours without exposing a frame of film, for the chance to be invited to tea and biscuits with a Matriarch in the Atlas mountains.
I might be in your neighborhood.
I might be in mine.
Or I might be in some sandy, dusty walkway in Alexandria where the children are playing marbles, the old men chain smoke, and two of the dogs are blind.
I might have been there before.
I might never have been here at all.
Or I might be here right now.
I have been confused before. Mystified by a street and the clusters of people and the trees and the shoppers and the low light of a late afternoon.
Have I been here before? Where does this street remind me of? When was….and the gauzy confusion is gone and I am back on the sloping street in Serbia.
I catch these fragments, these shards of my days, and I cannot place them but that is no matter, because I still can see them clearly for what they were and how I felt and why they were beautiful and tragic and bittersweet and fleeting in their mayfly quality.
The gypsy who came into view and sang a line from a song into the air, the Romanian morning already bright and brittle and hot, bouncing off the hard surfaces of the city. And a woman’s voice — his lover, his wife? — came from the city with the answering line, like she was singing to the sky itself. He walked past me, paying me no heed, and sang the next line back to her. And her voice rang out again such mouth wide joy, just a few syllables, but enough heartbreak for a lifetime.
And there was no response, no answering call. He had already turned the corner, to the west, and was out of sight and out of hearing, swallowed by the day.
And I sat alone with my shoulder bag and my camera and I did not know what to do, nor where to go.