Oh yes, I remember,
receiving a 25000$ fee for a photo of a pretty lady sitting in a Rolls Royce: a one page ad for a Rolls Royce limited edition Agenda, without counting another 40000$ in production costs.
An 8×10 camera portrait with my special lens. I’m the image maker, the dream seller, the ad agency’s problem solver, getting paid for my experience, my vision, what I know, as Boris would say.
I was lucky, it all came to me so easily. The camera has always been my toy, I make everything look great, elegant, sophisticated. The fun part: telling a story playing with light on a blank canvas.
It was always about love, the money and awards just came along.
So, from Madrid to Paris, Toronto, New York, Chicago….more clients, more ads, more dream selling, more money. Being flown here and there, business class, five star hotels, nice, all that, to sell fiction, dreams.
A few years later, destiny took me on a journey in the Sahara desert.
Point zero, as I call it: planted in the middle of the dunes, no one around except for the sky above. As much in touch with mother earth as on can be.
The great discovery for me, the nomads and their infinite values and faith,the perfect marriage between humanism and untouched nature: “Peace”
“VOYAGE” is a photography book about this journey into beauty, peace and unconditional human values.
I understood that true wealth comes from within, from the heart, from the soul: the nomad kids told me the story through their eyes.
Materially, they are very poor, but as human beings they are so rich, that they will share with you their bread and tea.
For years I wandered, what could I share with them?
A few years later, I was in Mexico. In the mountains of Oaxaca, I was greeted the same way. The Mixes shared all they had with me. Their home and food.
“EN LA SOMBRA DEL TIEMPO” is a photo documentary inspired and, about love. Another journey into human values, beauty, peace, friendship and nature.
Another stepping stone for what was to come, as I was asked to please come back and teach photography in a social center for children in the mountains of Oaxaca.
From the Sahara desert to Mexico, my life had changed drastically.
It was no longer about awards and selling dreams, it became about the true rewards and sorrows of life’s reality.
It became about documenting and sharing the reality that I had discovered: the beauty of human values and nature, and the drama of material poverty, injustice and the lack of education.
Again, I sat and wandered what I could share with them and how?
Two years later, the answer came to me.
The best I knew was photography. I was fortunate enough to have been educated, being a good lecturer, and learned the hard way that the white picket fence syndrome is often a false illusion of wealth and happiness.
Behind too many white picket fences of our cities hide dramas affecting many children of our so called modern society. The loss of family values, unity and sense of humanism.
What I had seen in the eyes of the Nomads, their children, the Mixes was the simple essence of life: survival by helping each other out, peace and faith in life. Children happy playing with stones and making toy animals from palm tree leaves.
Bringing photography and a basic creative education to these kids and have them tell us the story.
And so they did, just as well as I had. I brought them self-value, smiles, cameras and my love for what I do and for life, they answered with vision, talent, an opened mind and expressed what they couldn’t verbalize.
The “HOW THEY SEE” mission is a simple model, that if we give a child an opportunity, if we believe in him, he will turn it into gold with respect and admiration.
I have no words to describe the joy of these children and the way they spread it through their community.
So many people I have met on my journey have asked me to take them to Ruka. Ruka was brought to them by the kids.
Well, there are many Rukas in Peru in Mexico and in many corners of the world.
As I remember, 25000$ for a couple of days of work to shoot a photograph selling a dream, I also remember coming to Peru with way much less than that for the love of photography and my belief that these childrens work and photographs of reality would make people dream and help them improve their nutrition and living conditions by simply giving what they spend on a movie.
Yes, 25000$, a five star hotel and a business class ticket to shoot a staged photograph to promote a brand.
Yes, 1000$ collected, many promises, 24 beds in 28 weeks, no star hostels, economy class, 7 months of pre-production and 8 months of production including, travel, shooting,teaching, editing, meetings, networking, trekking, website updating and collecting funds for the biggest ad campaign of my life: “HOW THEY SEE”
This time I am selling reality, the happiness of the children of Ruka, Peru, and two more projects to come.
Its quite absurd to think that i got paid 25000$ for a couple of days of work to produce one staged photograph, and that I only collected $1000 for a years work, hundreds of photographs of reality and a humanitarian mission.
So, here I am sharing with you the reality viewed through the eyes of 30 years of love for photography mixed with the desire to create a small change for the better.
From the Sahara desert, through the mountains of Peru, to the streets of Lima, I am sharing with you my vision, my work, my stories, my life, my dreams, It’s always been about love.
The dream I’m selling this time is the simple reality, that bringing some love, cameras, smiles and education to the children of Ruka has made a small change in their lives.
This time, I’m not asking for donations and compliments, I’m asking from all of you to purchase fine art prints from a quite large selection.
Help me carry on with my mission, all funds will go towards the Ruka Bio greenhouse and to finance more projects.
In the end, It’s always about love.
Lima, Peru, May 16, 2013
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PERU PHOTO GALLERY
© Copyright 2013, Daniel Malka, all rights reserved