Let me tell you about. . .

. . .my roommate, Al.

Alphonso Meldelsohn is the other member of the "media" on the Samaritan's Feet trip and shares room 606 with me here at the Raddison here in Lima, Peru. I'm the still photo guy, he's the video guy. I often click (no pun) with other members of the photo profession, but Al is one of those rare individuals with whom I share commonalities that can have us yacking away until it's 1AM and we both wonder where the hell the time went.

So, sorry Ron, there's a new man in my life. Fortunately monogamy is not a big consideration in the realm of "photo buddies."

Al operates his Canon XL1S video camera like a finely-tuned violin. And he has the same old-school operating methods I have with my still cameras. Manual exposure, manual white balance and manual focus all the way, baby.

With a passport nearly full of stamps from all over Europe and China, Al rightfully calls himself a "seasoned" traveler. Me? I'm just a little tenderized.

Several days into the trip, I was still learning when Al was being straight up and when he was blowing me a line of bull. Good to be kept on my toes from time to time.

An emotional man, he can't help but be moved by the conditions in which we see Peruvians living, as are we all. All of us on this trip can feel good about having brought a ray of sun into the gloomy existence of these impoverished people, but at the end of the day, one can't help but feel those efforts were but a drop in the ocean. Observes Al, "Probably, somewhere in these slums is the greatest photographer the world has ever known. But living in these conditions he or she will never have the chance to show it."

Maybe there needs to be a program called "Samaritan's Camera."

1 comment:

Available Light said...

I forgive you for straying, Brian. I'm sure you were just lonely. ;-)

Al's quote is fantastic and is very similar to a quote I saw from Neil Peart years ago. He was biking thru Africa and was commenting on the poverty and circumstances in which the people lived. He said something to the effect that one of those villages may contain the best drummer in the world but because of where he was born, no one will ever hear him play. That thought really resonated with me and had stayed with me all these years.