Archive for Singing

Maasai Portrait

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2009 by chamimage

Maasai Village Elder

The Maasai are a semi-nomadic tribe of about 900,000 pastoralists that live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Being pastoralists, they herd cattle, goats, and sheep on the African savanna. More precisely, they herd cattle on the lion, hyena, and leopard infested savanna of Africa. They eat mostly their domestic meat, milk, and blood that they extract by piercing a cow’s jugular vein with an arrow. We watched such ceremony on our visit to a Maasai village. The vein clots and the cow is relatively unscathed at the end of it all.

Maasai Cow Blood Ceremony

It seems odd that a tribe living in the African savanna, with wildebeest, zebras, wild boars, and gazelles everywhere, would evolve a culture of ignoring wild game in favor of raising cattle, but it seems to have worked out for them.

The Maasai village is a collection of mud, stick, and cow dung huts, built by the women, surrounded by a thicket fence. The cattle are herded into the enclosure each night to protect them from predators.

Maasai Female in Hut Doorway

The Maasai are conspicuous for the bright patterned fabrics they wear. The young men sometimes sport a red wig that resembles dreadlocks. The practice of creating a large hole in the ear lobes is falling a bit out of favor among the young men today, but is still a great place to display their distinct jewelry and most women still prefer it. Perhaps the young men just have more contact with the modern world,often working at a safari camp or working as a driver/naturalist. Cell phones are not uncommon now with the young men, and we had some Photoshopping to do in terms of the watches they wear.

Young Maasai Warrior

The Maasai love to sing and dance. The men and women mostly sing and dance separately, but there is more than a little teasing and flirting involved as they perform.

Maasai Village Singing

I am not known for my portraiture, but with such attractive, cooperative subjects, even I captured some memorable moments.

Teen-aged Maasai Girl

Maasai Man and Boy

Allowing

Posted in Philosophy and Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2009 by chamimage
Perfume Distillery

Perfume Distillery

I like to read something profound and/or spiritual in the morning when my mind is still relatively uncluttered. Recently I have been reading a book about the Tao Te Ching. I am discovering that it is a good fit because many of the precepts come naturally to me, they are just the way I am. This morning I was reading about ownership, or dominating, as opposed to allowing. My neighbors will attest to my preference to allow my yard rather than dominate it as they do, much to their chagrin. They cannot comprehend my aversion to manicuring my yard and dominating every blade of grass into submission. I just prefer things natural and woolly. Always have.

That tendency to allow extended into my pets and children as well. A friend of mine thoroughly dominated her dogs. They were to lay still on the carpet when in the house and under her complete control just about everywhere. I agree that dogs require a dominant master to a point, but when I got my dog I set some firm rules that could never be broken and all the other stuff we just allowed. What resulted was a dog with an amazing depth of character. Oh, he was a character. One of the benefits of allowing was that he was allowed to sing along with television theme songs he liked, which included MASH, Cheers, and the little ditty they play on final Jeopardy while the contestants write down their responses. The result of allowing in my children was that they have never been addicted, in jail, or homeless. They both have college educations. That was all I asked for, not that I would have loved them any less had they not met those expectations.

I have also adopted allowing into my photography. I have discovered that you really can’t force it. You just have to put in the time with a subject to allow it to reveal itself. It is almost always at the end of a session that the zinger shot occurs, not at the beginning. Unfortunately, you can’t just walk up and force the subject to bend to your overpowering will and be photogenic because you want it to. It doesn’t work that way in love and it doesn’t work that way in photography. You have to put in the time to get to know her before the true beauty is revealed.

The other benefit of allowing rather than trying to dominate your friends, your kids, your spouse, is that you don’t have to be frustrated that they don’t meet your expectations if you don’t lay any expectations on them in the first place. I don’t know why it is so hard for us to do that, but it is ultimately so much more rewarding to just appreciate people and things for what they are, and allow them to not be what they are not.

The photograph above is an antique perfume distillery on the island of Capri in Italy. The monks there discovered they could make perfume from the wild flowers on the island and it became a cottage industry that continues today. The photograph below is my dog that was allowed to sing his little heart out (and received applause for it). It was a sad day when he became too deaf to hear the music any longer and the singing stopped. That was a deafening silence.

Ollie Singing to MASH

Ollie Singing to MASH