The first two photos come from incoming MIA student Kevin Hong.
Location: Amhara region, Ethiopia
Description: One morning, we were driving to a village for our research study and saw people lined up outside an old church with pieces of clothes on the ground. We got curious so we shouted out to the driver to stop, ran out of the car to take some pictures, and ran back in so there was no further delay in getting to the remote village we were heading for. Later I learned that it was for a religious holiday called Lideta (Saint Mary’s birthday). It is celebrated once a year on the first day of the month Ginbot, which is May 9 in “the European calendar” (Ethiopia maintains its own calendar separate from the Julian calendar and, for that matter, its own way to keep times. Look it up, it’s quite fascinating). On this day, orthodox christian churches hold a special ceremony. The poor from the surrounding area come and spread their clothes on the ground outside the churches. People attending the ceremony would then bring grains from their homes and give a handful or so to each person lined up outside the church before and after attending the ceremony. Furthermore, after the givers get back home, they prepare food and drinks and invite the poor and neighbors to feast together. People from this region is by no means very rich. I thought it was such a wonderful tradition to celebrate and share with people less fortunate than you are even though you may not have all you want.
Location: Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Description: I personally love this photo not only because of the beautiful setting of the temple corridor lined with countless stone carved pillars and filled with afternoon sun streaming through but also because of the circumstance I managed to capture this shot. The temple was absolutely stunning and when I saw this man walking toward me, I saw a perfect shot. So I took out my camera out of a bag and aimed it at him. As I started to shoot a few frames, two temple guards starting to run towards me and shouting “Do you have a permit ticket for the camera!?”. So I had to stop myself and show them that I had paid to take pictures in the temple. By the time I was done with the guards, the composition wasn’t quite what I wanted and I thought I missed a good shot. But when I developed the film, this shot emerged and I was quite taken with it. This is one of the reasons why I love still using films. To me, the serendipity and patience films require is almost like an act of meditation and occasional pleasant surprises like this one is personally unmatched by the instant gratification offered by digital cameras.
The next three photos come from incoming MIA student Regina Jun.
Paraguay_Chacotaxi.jpg was taken in the Chaco region in Paraguay in 2005. During my service as a rural economic development volunteer in the Peace Corps Paraguay, we took a trip to the Chaco, which is the arid and sparsely populated northwest region of the country. When we stopped for lunch along the highway, we saw a local taxi service parked outside the restaurant.
Brazil_streetfood.jpg was taken in Olinda, Brazil in 2007. I enjoy trying local foods wherever I travel. I loved the creativity of the ladies who made a portable stove with earthen pots for insulated and safe charcoal burning and small pans to cook stuffed tapioca dumplings at the square as the group of young adults practiced their drums at a nearby square for the upcoming carnaval.
Turkey_camelwrestling.jpg was taken in Selcuk, Turkey in 2008. While I lived in Istanbul, I had the opportunity to visit Selcuk for annual camel wrestling championship staged next to the ancient ruins of Ephesus. The event was very festive, graceful and intricate despite the gigantic sizes of the bull camels. The winner camel receives only a carpet as material prize, but much respect and bragging rights for its owners and handlers.