Sunday 4 October 2015

Photos I Shot That Brought Tears To My Eyes


Our life is made of up of captured moments frozen in time. Things shared and time spent together become the memories which the heart and soul never forget.


I. I captured the above photograph in May of 2011 during the Japanese Cherry Blossom week in High Park in Toronto. The old Asian man kept his hand on the tree for over five minutes as his partner/daughter, and myself, peacefully watched.

The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. For them, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It is a spiritual reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short. There are tales about the power of those trees in granting wishes.

I actually sensed I was witnessing some profound moment and that
s why I felt the need to capture it on camera...from afar, and without intruding. I think he might have been ready to reunite soon. My eyes were all watery by then.

Your only true disability lies within your own mind

II. When I left Egypt to Canada I was regaining my health after leading a toxic lifestyle for at least a decade. My 20th floor view in Toronto overlooked a tennis club with four courts. One sunny morning I was in the balcony when I could see a young boy on a wheelchair playing tennis with a trainer. That was quite a shocker at the time. Because in Egypt, for example, you rarely ever see people on wheelchairs in the streets. Simply because the streets are not equipped for wheelchairs. Here, the young boy was not only outdoors, but he was engaging in a fun, healthy physical activity and enjoying that beautiful day.

I couldn’t help it so I took the camera and went down to get a closer look. I didn’t want to impose or cause any awkwardness by photographing the boy, so I started taking shots all over, as if that’s what I was there for. The photo above is the best one I could capture from behind the fence. 

This was quite a profound moment. Because it made me ponder on how I had my full health, yet willingly chose to screw it up. And others, who aren’t as fortunate, are not giving up on life and are actually playing sports. It was a genuine reminder that true disability lies nowhere other than within our own minds. Me eyes were all watery by then.

Glory To Utras Ahly

III. The sign reads We Won't Forget You” in Arabic. This view is at the entrance of Al-Ahly Club in Cairo, Egypt and those are the photos of the 72 Ultras martyrs, mostly teenagers, who were brutally murdered after a soccer game several years ago for siding with the revolution against the military regime.

At the time this happened, I was far away in Canada. Taking part in some demonstrations in Toronto and my humble words
were all I had to offer. So seeing this face-to-face when I went back for a visit in 2013 was an intense experience which brought a lump to my throat.

The massacre took place in February 2012 and until today the real culprit, as whoever gave the orders to kill those teenagers, remains unknown. The case has probably been dealt with”

The Final Straw is an except from an unpublished note which I had written about the whole thing.


IV. During a camping trip in Ontario, Canada we came across a heard of cows.
We stopped the carand I took the camera and went down for a closer look.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was curious. This cow, probably the leader,
was the one that came closer. For a minute or two, I felt that my soul was being
carefully inspected.

As you can see, the herd was standing back, away from the fence. Through some
peaceful, gentle body language it must have felt I was safe and meant no harm.
It then turned around to the rest and signalled to them that it was OK to join.

Once they all came closer, I began with some intuitive communication before I
started shooting
This special moment of connection — my first with cows left me ecstatic and in utter
awe with
a few tears rolling down my cheeks. Since I never got as emotional while
performing any other activity, this is when I knew I had to keep shooting for Life.
A few years later, the happy tears came back while drumming. 
Another sign from
down deep inside within my soul.

Happy Mike

V. I first met Mike at the Venice Beach Drum Circle some months ago. I knew he was into singing, but because it
’s usually too loud there, I never had to chance to really listen. Yesterday as I was strolling around the Venice Boardwalk with the camera, I heard an angelic, soothing voice, and it was none other than Mike. What a sweet soul. Check out the Video and see for yourselves.

Again, your only true disability is in your mind

VI. On the same day of the first couple, I also came across this lovely young woman at High Park during the Japanese Cherry Blossom week. How she is courageously living her life struck me with the force of googillion suns. She was all alone standing there making a phone call, looking ravishing and colourful. As if her disability wasn’t even in the equation. How inspirational. You see, rather than spend her life feeling sorry for herself, it’s her positive mindset that is allowing her to shine as such.
 A lot to learn here.

Of course I had to be quite discreet when capturing about two or three photos. By then, my face was covered in tears. As mentioned on the second photo, I was still coming back to life and regaining my health following a mere decade of a toxic existence. So my senses were waking up after a long, deep, dark slumber — or hibernation, more likely. And simple, everyday kind of inspirational encounters like these were how the healing was manifesting. Tears then became a reminder of my humanity as well as of overcoming the suffering.

Tears are how the soul cleanses itself. Embrace them.


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