Story matters. I'm inspired to write this by a photo gallery I saw displayed at Equator Coffees and Teas in downtown San Francisco. The photos were by a guy called Ezra Teshome, who is a construction professional and an amazing photographer. He uses a vintage Canon AE-1 35mm film camera exclusively for all his work - very cool, and a rapidly-disappearing art in the age of digital photography
I saw the pictures first and liked them. Then I read his explanation of the pictures and I loved them!
"I chose these photos from my repertoire to show beauty in the mundane melancholy seasons of life. The series shows people who have been physically or psychologically harmed in some way, shape or form. Without revealing the stories of my subjects, the theme / human condition of pain has a presence in each photo.
The pain of moving to a new place; the pain of saying goodbye to a friend or family member. The physical pain of aging; the psychological pain of being too young to be considered of merit. Or recognizing and coping with our inadequacies; or realizing we excel in that which we do not enjoy.
I'm reminded, through these narratives , that I am not alone in my pain. This idea rings true in many ways, especially in light of what hope awaits us after the trials of pain."
I realized, from Ezra, that even though we're artists of a different kind, he a photographer and I a musician, we're choosing to express similar things. We're seeing pain in ourselves and others and "writing" stories about it. Pain is a human condition, as is joy and peace. We are continually moving between these emotions, or states. This connects us all as humans. No exceptions. We reduce that pain by identifying with each other, by exposing our pain to others, and by helping each other.
I wrote my upcoming song, Hair on Fire /Umulilo from the perspective of a street guitarist. The song is about being unknown, and unseen; and the joy that you feel when you find something, or someone, that lights you up. And, as you light up, other people see you, and know a bit more of you. Ans they in turn light up. The refrain is going to be Leta Umulilo (pronounced lay-tah oo-moo-lee-lo) which is Bemba for "bring the fire".
Hair on Fire / Umulilo comes out on all platforms in December.
Meanwhile, check out Ezra's work here.