Friday, 3 August 2012


Last weekend I was walking around downtown with my camera, my eyes fixated on the ground looking for those little things that are invisible for the normal eye; an interesting shape, a pattern, an object that would tell me a story... During my walk I stopped for a moment in the realization that I had no clue where I was, simply because I wasn't paying attention. I know the city's downtown well so I was sure to find my location right away but the fact that I had my mind completely drifted away into my own personal oblivion, alert me that I should pay attention to what my body was doing; to where my feet had taken me so far.

When I finally raised my head I found myself across the river and out of downtown, in front of a beautiful sight of it all. My feet had brought me here on a beautiful sunny day; a place surrounded by peace and calm accompanied by an accordion playing some amazing french tunes in the distance and ducks and geese floating on the river right in front of me. 

I had to sit down, stop my weekend's quest and let it all sink in. I took this photo and I could have taken many more but as a photographer, you have to remind yourself that sometimes not everything has to be captured with your camera but with your heart and mind only, and leave it there, just for yourself, to appreciate the vastness of it's beauty with all your senses and not only your eyes. I stayed there for hours contemplating it all, grateful for the sight I was given by surprise and enjoying the silent company of strangers who were as deep in thought of it all as I was.

It was indeed, a beautiful day.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Making Sense of these Piles

Photo by Fela Photography

I can say I'm an organized person. Give me a messy room and you'll be impress with what happens after. My methodology is piling everything by "category" while throwing away the useless trash; then I proceed to place each group in the right spot organized by size, color or alphabetically and finally if necessary, I'll tag the the storage box or drawer. Yes, I am very good at it and it makes me feel good to see the final result after all that work. Is not a huge life achievement but is the achievement of the hour and I celebrate it with my own not-seen-by-other-eyes happy dance.

But I'm bad at keeping the personal and intangible tidy. It is always said to make a list of your short, mid and long term goals; create plans for your life. I have tried all these by going by the book and guess how many have gone exactly as planned... none. And then I find myself buried in piles of worry, frustration and fight for what I wrote down vs. what's really happening. Nothing makes sense and it becomes this big mess in my head which I cannot understand plus the shame of not being at the level of society's "aspirations" even though I DO try. 

But I also have clarity moments when my mind is able to pile them in categories and trash the useless thoughts and behaviors. Then the incredible happens: I'm able to make art out these piles; shape them and transform them into beautiful creations I make tangible for people to see, for people to connect with thanks to my photography, and that just feels amazing! Then everything makes sense and I know it be alright. Yes, everything WILL be alright.

Friday, 25 May 2012

The Pebble Analogy

I Alef Seladi am feeling today like a pebble on the shore. So many of us hopefully waiting for the hand that will find us and throw us into the river where amazing travels and adventures begin; where dreams come true and we are useful. But if you're on one of the bottom layers of pebbles, the chances of being chosen are lowered. I feel as one of those bottom pebbles; with lots of promise and talent to be the perfect fit for that hand that's looking for me but yet the hand gives up after searching on the surface and conforms with one of the top pebbles even if it's not that great, but "it'll do". 

I have been living in this new city for almost 2 months now; yes, it's a short time but I'm yet to have a job as a photographer. I'm full of determination, imagination and creativity; it literally floods my mind everyday to a point I have to write it or draw it down. Not to brag but I AM talented. Years of studies and practice in theory, arts, inspiration, aesthetics were not in vain. Years of exercising my eyes every day to learn to REALLY see the world are not to be taken lightly; I literally have a trained eye for beauty.

The competition is vast but they're not all good which is sad. I feel frustrated by the concept of beauty this city has. Where is it anyway? It's as if the hand looking for a perfect flat and shiny pebble chooses a roundish one that looks more like it came out of an animal and believe, actually believe, it will work to bounce on the water. I have met amazing photographers in this small time and they all suffer with the same situation. How can art boost in a city that does not have the eye to choose among the best? I have seen it happening not only in photography but all kinds of art. Well, I think dance it's an exception. But it seems more like a popularity contest rather than a talent show; believe me, the best ones never win popularity contests.

We, the professional, passionate and dedicated photographers are here, looking for you, waiting for you. But the first step is yours to take; to choose us, to trust us. To really dig your hand into that pile of pebbles to find the one you wished for. We do our best to yell, stretch our hands, jump and shake to get to the surface but it won't matter if you don't train your eyes as well. Hope I get found. I've been screaming but no results yet and my savings are slowly disappearing... I'll have to make drastic changes if I want to stay in this city. I HAVE to stay in this city; I sacrificed everything for it. This has to work because I can't simply go back.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Wash it all away

Fela Photography Copyright 2012

It's rainy season here and I couldn't be happier. It's ironic how you move away to escape from everything and everyone; to rediscover yourself, to redefine yourself and yet you miss your past life terribly! But is days like today, the rainy ones, the humid and chill ones that bring my nostalgic memories back to life once more. 

Fela Photography Copyright 2012
I'm cold to the bone; but walking through this amazing hidden little park I find myself stepping back into my old city. I take deep breaths and as I inhale the humidity of the environment I can taste the fresh brewed coffee I would drink on the bench of my neighborhood's park , covering it with newspaper to sit on a dry spot, wearing wet shoes that tried to avoid miserably the big puddles. I would just sit there watching people rush home from the cold as in a slow motion movie where I get to enjoy every little detail: the drips of water coming down from their umbrellas, their eyes squinching frantically to avoid water getting in them, the movement of their clothes. Everybody rushing to escape from the rain but I sit alone letting it all wash away my worries, feeling the water move through my face, letting it sink in and think how amazing is God who provides all this for us to witness. I honor that by staying longer.

Exhale. Quickly inhale again and I see myself on another wet day running through the masses to get a hold of a roof to protect me from the rain; too strong to stay in it this time. I can smell strongly the wet polyester from people's coats and I relish in it (ironic... I used to hate that smell). Something about everybody gathering under one roof to shyly rest in each other's body heat gives me a sensation of community; everyone working together but independently for one goal... it's weird, but I find it exciting!

It doesn't matter how many times or how far you run away, your past finds ways to remind you it's part of you who are; embrace it and let it sink in. No matter how hard or light it was, it'll make you wiser and stronger.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Everything is in the detail

It’s been a couple of weeks since I arrived here and I’m feeling bad. Not because of the city but because I haven’t taken photos! I’ve been so busy with getting settled that photography has gone to low priority right now. Not good, not good at all. Practice, practice, practice. It should be done every day. Just like a professional musician or an athlete who wakes up early everyday to exercise their skills, a photographer should do the same (not necessarily wake up early but you get the idea). Always aiming for better, always keeping my eyes open to the particularities of the world, to the hidden beauty, the details, patterns, textures and shapes that an untrained eye would miss.

Everything is on the detail. The minimum curve of metal can create a beautiful image if you pay attention. If you study it, go around it, observe how the light shapes it and then play with it. How can you manipulate the light to make it change? Or do you want to leave it as it is? From a rock to a human being, photography builds a certain intimacy with your subject and everything else simply disappears. Countless times I have been found caught in this surreal dance without noticing people around me trying to find what is so beautiful that I’m trapped in it. Just like that, I want this city to trap me too.

Monday, 19 March 2012


Just moved to a new city I have to discover. I always wanted to do it, curiosity wouldn’t leave me alone. I like discovering, learning new things about me and my surroundings. Still, everything in this city seems so strange and detached though. Am I suppose to start calling it home? Such a strong word for an unknown place like this one. I’ll wait and see if this city grows on me.

The air is good here. After living in a polluted city for so long, fresh air seems unreal and light weighted; filling but barely there. Ah! Plenty of sunlight. There’s no better gift you could give a photographer; generous amounts of sunlight to play with. Us, the sunlight masters; sounds more magical than it is but I like to think of it that way.

“Alef Seladi, Permanent Resident”. I had to go all the way didn’t I? Why not just a visitor’s visa to see if I like it here first?  I thought it tedious to go through all the bureaucratic paper work again, might just do it all once. I hope I didn’t make a bad decision but I can’t afford to go anywhere else anymore so I must make the best out of this. No turning back now for nothing or no one (no one? Who am I kidding?).

My best friend is here with me, safe in his cozy bag; my gorgeous 5D camera which I bought many years ago with saved money. I worked so hard to get it! And is now here next to me, my only companion, the extension of my eye, immortalizer of my views. This city is screaming to be discovered by me and my friend; to be photographed, to be called home. I think I’ll like it here.